A Fresh Start For Farnham Residents

Councillor George Murray replaces Councillor John Ward as Group Leader

After seven years in the role, during which time he has led the group to considerable election successes, Councillor John Ward, Deputy Mayor of Waverley, stepped down as Leader of the Farnham Resident Group at the group’s AGM last Thursday.

Having reached a self-imposed ‘Milestone of Maturity’, Councillor Ward has chosen to scale down his political involvements, although he anticipates being elected for a second term as Mayor of Waverley in May. 

In “passing on the baton to younger members”, Councillor Ward reflected upon the group’s achievements, noting that Farnham Residents holds all three seats on Surrey County Council, controls Farnham Town Council, and is part of the ruling administration at Waverley.

Reminding the group of past accomplishments, such as the transfer of ownership of Gostrey Meadow from Waverley to Farnham Town Council, the national recognition of Waverley’s support for the high street and response to the climate emergency, and, of course, the fact that Farnham Town Council was the NALC Council of the Year in 2021, he then looked to the future, calling on his fellow councillors to ensure the success of the long awaited Farnham Infrastructure Programme.

His final words were reserved as thanks for “the backing and support” of his wife Gillian, who was not only “constantly by my side as my Mayoress” in his first term, but hopefully will return to the role in May.

Fellow Councillor Peter Clark, the former Deputy Leader of Waverley, paid tribute to Councillor Ward’s “unselfish commitment to the Farnham Residents group”, pointing out that under his Leadership, “members of this group have found themselves in responsible positions at all three levels of local government”.

Presenting Councillor Ward with two cases of Rioja, Councillor Clark not only echoed the achievements of the Farnham Residents group over the past seven years, but also noted Councillor Ward’s personal commitment to “standing firm in the protection of one of our main principles – of not becoming a whipped political party”.

Having been elected as the new Leader by a unanimous vote, Councillor George Murray took inspiration from Issac Newton’s observation that “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” in paying tribute to all three of his predecessors, Jerry Hyman, John Williamson and John Ward, as well as “all of the past and present members who have led us to securing the confidence of the electorate that we enjoy today”.

Looking forward, Councillor Murray thanked the group for “the trust you have placed in me” and promised to work with fellow members to “retain the trust and improve the lives of the residents of Farnham”.

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