Councillor Andy Ward has been elected as the new mayor of Bradley Stoke. Andy, who has been a councillor since 2013, was formally handed the chain of office on Wednesday 10th May at Bradley Stoke Town Council’s AGM. He takes on the role as the town celebrates two significant milestones in its short history – the thirtieth anniversary of the first turf being cut and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the town council.
Originally from Tytherington, then Thornbury, Andy moved to Bradley Stoke with his wife, Marion (who is also a member of Bradley Stoke Town Council), in 1992. They chose Bradley Stoke as they believed it would be a perfect place to put down roots and bring up a family. Obviously, it was the right decision for the Ward family who have now lived here for twenty-five years with their daughter, Bex. Andy describes Bradley Stoke as “a vibrant town with a great sense of community”.
“The people who live here are friendly and neighbourly and the population is diverse, representing a wide variety of cultures. The town benefits from great facilities and access to some beautiful green spaces,” he adds.
Like many people in this area, Andy began his working life in the aerospace industry as a Rolls Royce apprentice. He has also run several small businesses. In 2011, he became involved in the inception of Bradley Stoke Radio (BSR) and he is currently chairman of this popular community organisation. He also broadcasts on the Drivetime Show three times a week. Through his involvement with BSR, Andy worked with the town council on a regular basis and it was this involvement that inspired him to stand for election.
Andy was elected as town councillor in 2013 and has continually served on three committees: Finance, Planning & Environment and Leisure, Youth & Amenities. He has chaired the Planning and Environment committee for two years as well as serving as vice-chair of council last year. Since joining the council, Andy says that he has been really fortunate to have been part of some great community projects and groups. He told us that is was a great honour to have been involved in the early days of the Bradley Stoke in Bloom group who “do an amazing job in and around our town”.
Andy and Marion also enjoy being members of the organising committee for the Bradley Stoke Carnival. This year’s carnival will take place on 26th August and Andy hopes that this event, put on by the community for the community, will continue to grow in popularity.
Andy is also part of the Splatts Abbey Wood Conservation Group, a trustee of the Almondsbury Charity, a member of the Winterbourne and Bradley Stoke Library Committee and a member of the town twinning committee.
On a personal level, Andy also helps teach medical students at Southmead hospital about cardiomyopathy from a patient’s perspective. Andy was diagnosed with the condition in his thirties and with his wife and daughter, he is actively involved in raising money for the charity Heartful Dodgers, an organisation supported by last year’s mayor, Cllr Elaine Hardwick.
Andy has elected to follow on the theme of supporting people with cardiac problems with his mayoral charities for the coming year. He has chosen to support Cardiomyopathy UK (a national charity with local support groups) and Freewheelers Blood Bikes. Having benefited from both charities, Andy says: “My admiration for these people and the service they provide is beyond words.”
We asked Andy how he thinks Bradley Stoke will develop in the coming years: “Bradley Stoke was always intended to be a self-contained town. We have a heart now with places to meet, chat, sit down and share a coffee. Outside influences cannot help but affect our town. With new housing developments local to us and the opening of the new link road in the near future, it is likely our town will become busier.”
In his role as mayor, Andy hopes to continue to build on the wonderful sense of community that he believes is an integral part of our town. He admits to having some plans “mulling around” in his head involving various fun community events, possibly including a Last Night of the Proms type event for next year.
We wish Cllr Andy Ward a very happy and successful time in office.
Photo: Cllr Andy Ward receives the chain of office from previous mayor Cllr Elaine Hardwick.
This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 41). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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