Two standing down

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THELMA Birkett is standing down as a Peel commissioner after 16 years’ dedication to the town.

Mrs Birkett has retired due to ill health.

She said she had no other motive to be a commissioner other than passion.

‘I love Peel and I want the best for Peel,’ she said. ‘I’m sad in a way but I have done quite a number of years.

‘It is time to go and I think you can’t do too long. Personally I think I have done long enough – I am getting old and I think you can get stale. You need fresh blood. I was hoping for an election and I’m just sorry there isn’t going to be an election, which gives everyone a chance to have their say.’

Mrs Birkett, of Belle Vue Park, first joined the commissioners in 1996. She was chairman of Peel Commissioners from 2001 to 2002 and 2008 to 2009.

The commissioner said that she had never thought she would stay so long when she had first joined the board. Mrs Birkett stated that being chairman had been one of the highlights over the years, as well as influencing people in the Peel in Bloom competition.

She added: ‘Meeting people has been a highlight – people know you and feel free to be able to talk to you. They say “I am sorry to bother you”, but I tell them I had to put myself forward. I am a good listener and anything that has been said to me has stayed strictly with me. I have always been willing to talk to people. Over the years I have enjoyed it.

‘I am not mobile at the moment and that is my biggest regret. I like to think I will still be involved with Peel.’

Mrs Birkett stated that she had a great admiration for the work that Rodger Gimbert (who has also announced he will not be seeking re-election) has done for Peel.

Mr Gimbert, who has been a Peel Commissioner since 2004, has been vice chairman and chairman.

He said: ‘I have enjoyed representing the people of Peel over the past eight years, but have decided to step down to spend more time with my family. My boys are looking forward to playing golf with me, though they may think differently when they see how bad I am at it!’

The board’s nine seats have been filled in an unopposed election, with seven of the previous commissioners, Eric Beale, Christine Moughtin, Alan Jones, Ray Harmer, David Lace, Jackie O’Halloran and Neil Cushing, all retaining their seats. Businessman Ian Davison, who runs Davison’s Ice Cream, and kitchen company proprietor Arran Kaighin have taken the two remaining seats.

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