New Barnstaple Mayor had humble beginnings

BARNSTAPLE Town Council has elected one of its youngest Mayors since borough records began. Councillor Ian Roome, 41, was elected as Mayor and council chairman after signing his official declaration of acceptance of office at the Barnstaple Annual Town Co

BARNSTAPLE Town Council has elected one of its youngest Mayors since borough records began.

Councillor Ian Roome, 41, was elected as Mayor and council chairman after signing his official declaration of acceptance of office at the Barnstaple Annual Town Council meeting on Monday night.

He takes over from outgoing mayor Jeremy Philips who this week announced his retirement as a councillor due to health reasons and a change in his circumstances.

Next Monday night, Cllr Roome will don the mayoral robes and chains and swear his oath of allegiance to the Queen at the town's mayor making ceremony; it will be a proud moment for the former RAF man, who could never have imagined as a youngster growing up on a Sheffield council estate that he'd one day take his place among the civic elders of a Devonshire town.


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Although proud of his northern working class roots, it is Cllr Roome's relationship with his adopted town of Barnstaple that has inspired him to play an active part in its administration and governance.

"Barnstaple welcomed me with open arms when I was posted to RAF Chivenor in 1989," Cllr Roome told the Gazette. "It has been my town ever since and as Mayor, I'm looking forward to doing everything I can to repay the hospitality, generosity and friendship that Barnstaple has shown me."

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The council's deputy mayor since 2008, Cllr Roome has served as a Pilton Ward councillor for seven years. He is also the town council's representative on Barnstaple Town Centre Management and chairman of the town's New Year's Eve Charity Committee.

During his time in office, he plans to celebrate the town's unsung heroes as well as the people and firms that invest in Barnstaple and its economy.

"I think the council should recognise and acknowledge the individuals and the businesses that go the extra mile for their community and I intend to set up a nomination-based award scheme and present certificates at certain stages throughout the year," he said.

"I also hope to be able to explore the possibility of taking on more services from the district and county councils as there may be an opportunity to manage them at a more local level and offer the public better value for money.

"Barnstaple Town Council has the town's best interests at its very heart and I want to get this council working together, regardless of political party, to make sure that we can deliver positive projects for Barnstaple.

"I believe that the Mayor should be the voice of the town and would encourage anyone to get in contact with me to discuss any problems or concerns they have in their community; I'm particularly keen to regularly meet with local business owners to find out what's good, what's bad, and how we can help them out as a town council."

Cllr Roome worked as a community fund-raiser for the Children's Hospice South West before recently becoming the South West and Wales fund-raising manager for national armed forces charity SSAFA Forces Help.

His work with both charities has influenced his decision to support related charities, Pathfields School and the Barnstaple branch of the Royal British Legion as his mayoral charities for the forthcoming municipal year.

Cllr Roome will take on the role with support from his Mayoress, Linda Lewis. His deputy mayor is Yeo Ward Cllr Lesley Brown, who runs Frankmarsh Stores with husband William, who will accompany her as consort.

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