Meet the new mayor: Councillor Ben Randles

Photo of Cllr Ben Randles (right) being congratulated by the previous office holder, Cllr Andy Ward.

Councillor Ben Randles has been elected as the new mayor of Bradley Stoke.

He was formally handed the chain of office on Wednesday 9th May at Bradley Stoke Town Council’s annual general meeting.

Ben, who represents the Lakeside ward, was first elected as a town councillor in a by-election in October 2013. He has chaired both the Finance Committee and the Youth, Leisure and Amenities Committee, as well as being the press spokesperson for the past four years. He takes up his role with the unusual ‘claim to fame’ of being the first councillor appointed to the position of mayor who was born after the formation of the council in 1992!

Ben has lived in Bradley Stoke since his family moved here in 1997 from Chichester, West Sussex; attending Baileys Court Primary School, The Ridings High School and the University of the West of England. He remembers seeing Bradley Stoke as a building site and has fond memories of spending time on the local nature reserve and enjoying being outdoors in the area as a child.

Ben has always been interested in local politics and local governance. While in secondary school, he become old enough to vote for the first time and is grateful that the school was very keen to promote politics and encourage the students to get involved. However, his first engagement with politics started even earlier, back in primary school as an elected member of the School Council. Ben recalls a significant memory:

“I remember being in school (Year 5) on the day of the attacks in New York on 11th September 2001. My teacher at the time, Mr Higginson, attempted to explain to a group of 9-year-olds what had happened and why things like that happen more generally across the world. He explained how we in the UK express our differing ideas in a non-violent way through democracy. Given, it’s not always that simple, but it really struck a chord with me.”

As mayor, Ben is looking forward to being more involved in the running and governance of the council itself, ceremonial responsibilities and representing residents at events and visits. He has recently completed his first formal event, the opening of a new 999 Control Hub by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall for the South Western Ambulance Service. He is also keen to champion progress and wants to see Bradley Stoke not being adversely impacted by significant changes beyond our boundary.

The traffic problems in the area continue to be a source of misery to many local residents and Ben empathises with these frustrations. He is using what functions he has available to him to raise his concerns and he is attending additional functions and forums addressing the matter. More recently, he has been championing writing to the relevant bodies who have the powers to help out. He is hoping to build on the positive responses he has had so far. Ben is also keen to tackle the growing plague of graffiti in the town by helping residents to find ways to remove this “rot” from private property.

Ben’s charities for the coming year are the West of England MS Therapy Centre (based locally in Wheatfield Drive) and the Stroke Association.

Finally, we asked Ben how he fills his free time:

“I enjoy being busy and I enjoy council work – it isn’t work, it really is an interest that’s just pure joy. I learn lots from it and I get to help the community too.”

“I also like to go running; it’s a good way of keeping up-to-date with things happening around the town and can be valuable thinking time to clear my mind.”

We wish Councillor Randles a very happy and successful year in office.

Photo: Cllr Ben Randles (right) is congratulated by previous mayor Cllr Andy Ward after receiving the chain of office.

Photo of Cllr Ben Randles wearing the mayoral chain and standing outside the council offices.

Photo: Cllr Ben Randles standing outside the council offices.

This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 26). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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