COUNCILLOR Stephen Chowns is the new Mayor of Ledbury and his theme for the year will be “to enhance Ledbury’s reputation as a place of welcome.”

Cllr Chowns is a retired Human Resource Management lecturer and methodist preacher who moved to Ledbury in 2013 with his wife Gillian.

Cllr Chowns said: “I have been a Methodist Local Preacher for more than 50 years and am active in local Christian circles.

“My interests include choral singing, playing the piano and reading about history and politics. I support the Green Party, but believe that party politics have no place in local town affairs.

“Recent years have seen a good deal of controversy and ill feeling in the work of Ledbury Town Council, and I trust I shall be able to bring a somewhat calming yet purposeful influence to bear.

“I am delighted to be living in this lovely town, especially as it reminds me of my Kentish upbringing (apples, hops and gently rolling hills!)

“My nominated charities for this year are Ledbury Refugee Support and the Alzheimer’s Society.”

The couple have two children, Eleanor (known as Ellie) who lives in Canon Frome and Jonathan, who lives in Brighton.

They also have two grandsons, Nathan and Ronan (Eleanor’s sons). Nathan graduated last year and currently works in Ross, and Ronan is in his first year at Manchester University.

Ledbury’s new deputy mayor is Cllr Elizabeth Harvey.

She said: “I am honoured to have been elected to the position of deputy mayor and I look forward to supporting Stephen throughout his mayoral year.

“I grew up in Ledbury, my family has lived in the area since the 1950’s and I have been a town and county councillor representing Ledbury since 2011. I hope to use my professional skills and personal experiences to good effect in continuing to play an active role on the Town Council and in representing the town and its interests more widely across the three counties during the coming civic year.”

However, two councillors have resigned from the town council.

Cllr Don McAll submitted his resignation to the former mayor councillor Helen I’Anson on Saturday, May 4, and following her outgoing mayor’s speech Cllr I’Anson submitted her resignation to the new Mayor, Cllr Chowns.

Currently, there are 11 councillors serving on Ledbury Town Council, which means there are seven vacancies.

Notices of Election in respect of both of the above vacancies will be published on the Council’s Notice Board, website and social media in due course.

If you are interested in becoming a town councillor and would like further information contact the clerk, on 01531 632306 or at