Councillors hear how 13 consignments of fizzy drinks, spearmint, crab and rice all failed port checks

Councillors hear how 13 consignments of fizzy drinks, spearmint, crab and rice all failed port checks

Councillors hear how 13 consignments of fizzy drinks, spearmint, crab and rice all failed port checks


The Isle of Man Ferry was late coming in to dock as in front was the Viking longboat Draken Harald Hårfagre with a broken mast. As the same gate was used to get to the meeting on the dock we had to wait for the Isle of Man foot passengers to collect their luggage and leave first.

As the councillors and ourselves strode across the dock to the meeting room, the Viking longboat pulled up alongside the meeting room on a sight-seeing tour of the Liverpool docks which almost seemed to give out the message to the politicians of behave otherwise we’ll add you to our list of countries to conquer next.

So, what was the meeting, bobbing along on a floating dock over the beautiful River Mersey about? Well just as the beer ad used to be about “refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach” we were reporting on the public meetings other parts of the media don’t reach. In fact I doubt there had been any public along to this public body’s public meetings for a very, very long time. In fact anyone curious enough to read the agenda would’ve been sent to the wrong place as the agenda had “Gate 2” whereas those going to meeting entered through “Gate 3” of the Liverpool Cruise Liner Terminal.

Who were this (and pardon the nautical cliché) motley crew of characters?

Mersey Port Health Committee

Mersey Port Health Committee meeting of the 17th July 2014 Councillor Ron Abbey (Chair) points in the direction of the River Mersey. At the far right are Councillor Dave Mitchell and Councillor Gerry Ellis

Well on the Mersey Port Health Committee was my local councillor, who won our award for scowling before the meeting started Councillor Harry Smith. Also were two former Mayors of Wirral, Councillor Gerry Ellis and Councillor Dave Mitchell who were both friendly. As well as these three there was Councillor Ron Abbey (looking rather stylish in sunglasses).

Apologies were first given for councillors missing from the meeting which included various councillors including Cllr John Salter (Wirral Council’s Cllr John Hale was also absent).

The first decision the crew had to make was to chose a captain (sorry Chair) for the next year. The previous Chair Councillor Ron Abbey was nominated, seconded and elected. Another Labour councillor called Jeremy Wolfson was elected as Vice-Chair.

Councillor Ron Abbey decided to give his speech about his time as captain (sorry Chair) over the last twelve months. He said they had had a “varied and very successful year”, that it was a “very friendly committee” but that it was a “Cinderella organisation”.

Cllr Ron Abbey had a new officer to introduce to the assembled throng. Was it a new deck hand? Was it a comedian with the task of making Cllr Harry Smith smile? Sadly the new guy (called Chris) had the rather duller title of team leader for Information Technology.

The Chair continued by saying about the “quality of staff and the work they do on behalf of us”, asked the Committee to endorse his comments and said that these were “most exciting times”.

Due to no microphones and a room the size of a cavern in which sound gets lost, one of the councillors sitting further away (Cllr Gerry Ellis) asked Cllr Ron Abbey to speak up. Cllr Ron Abbey explained that he hadn’t shouted at him as he felt that upset people. Once again this was an error on the agenda which stated “audio equipment provided as standard”.

No declarations of interest were made and the minutes were agreed. So the meeting rolled on to agenda item 5 (Chief Port Health Officer Report on Activities 2013/14).

The Chief Port Health Officer went through the main points of her report, to do with importing foods. They had lost a post which was now vacant but it had been a “very busy year”. There had also been major changes and a redesign of their website.

Chris (the IT guy) talked at length about the changes, so that students could book training courses and so everything could be done a bit quicker as well as updating policies. There had been some teething issues with some applications in the move from Windows XP to Windows 7. He hoped that they’d have a full set of key performance indicators by the September.

The Chief Port Health Officer explained that there had been a 77p reduction in their charges due to EU legislation which was “out of our hands”. Weights of cargo coming through Liverpool docks varied based on consumer demand. They also had a surveillance role at Liverpool John Lennon Airport, as it was not a port approved for the import of food. However the main responsibility at the airport lay with the UK Border Force.

Thirteen consignments of soda (soft drinks) from America had been sampled and found to have excessive levels of benzoic acid. This had been done due to a grant from the Food Standards Agency. In addition to the fizzy drinks failing tests, so had spearmint (pesticide levels), a food supplement (poly aromatic hydrocarbon levels), crab meat (as additional crab species had been found) and basmati rice (that was only 3% basmati rice and 97% other rice).

In addition to this a consignment of chilli powder had been destroyed due to excessive alfatoxin. During the year, 154 consignments had been subject to official checks. There had also been checks done on ship sanitation, water supplies had been sampled and there had been an increase in routine boardings.

Moving to the Wirral, two cockle beds had been declassified and commercial cockling there was now illegal. There had been a report of illegal gathering of mussels, but after investigation and enforcement patrols the activity had ceased.

In order to qualify as an environmental health officers, people needed to do a length BSc (Hons) or a MSc and then do a practical year of training in port health. However they had incorporated the port health side into student’s degrees so that when they qualified they were qualified as both an environmental health officer and port health officer which opened up extra career opportunities.

A port health awareness day had been held in February to promote the work of port health as some external agencies weren’t aware of the work. One hundred and twenty people had turned up to it. It had been a busy year and would be a challenging year ahead, she was happy to answer questions.

Councillor Dave Mitchell referred to it as a “comprehensive report, brilliantly done as always”. He had two questions. In relation to sampling he asked if they had talked with the relevant government department to make it a national rather than local cost?

She explained that it was very difficult but there were provisions. If a sample failed again they could request the importer pays for the cost. Taking the fizzy drinks as an example, if they continued to fail checks then the Food Safety Agency issued guidance and reimbursed their costs.

Councillor Mitchell asked his second question about fish. The answer given was that the importer would have to pay.

The Chair Cllr Ron Abbey referred to the lobbying government so that the activities of the port were funded by central government. Local authorities’ contribution to port health was only small. Another councillor asked about the enforcement of infectious diseases and how this could be effective on short duration flights as the probabilities of symptoms being displayed were small as opposed to a ship?

The officer said that the air regulations were different to shipping in that they placed a responsibility on the airline. A scoping exercise had been done on the countries they say as high risks. For example it was the responsibility of the airline to disinfect its places coming from a country with malaria. This would hopefully minimise the risk.

Another councillor asked if they could increase their charges? Cllr Ron Abbey (Chair) said that they were looking to decrease to make them more competitive but it would be eighteen months before they’d see an impact. Goods consumed locally were still being shipped through Southampton rather than Liverpool. He said it was a “balancing act” which they were monitoring to reduce the burden on local councils to a minimum via the precept. An officer said there was an increase in products coming through the port and the variety.

Councillor Richard Wenstone asked if they would be setting their own key performance indicators or this would be done nationally? The officer answered that they would set their own as there were no national standards key performance indicators. For example the time it took them to process documentation. Other big ports had key performance indicators.

An officer said that theirs were published on their website and in conversations with ship agents certain importers wanted key performance indicators. A logistical benefit of Liverpool was the Liverpool Ship Canal whereas there was more congestion in the ports in the southern part of the country.

Councillor Harry Smith asked about the significant consignments? The officer answered lamb and pork. Another councillor asked about how far ahead the training had been taken up to which the answer was December 2014. The report was noted.

Agenda item 6 was the quarterly report from January to March of 2014. Cllr Gerry Ellis asked about cockling and what was the story? The officer relied that the complaint was of illegal gathering, an officer had conducted surveillance following the complaint but the complainant was unwilling to make a witness statement. As the surveillance hadn’t caught any illegal activity the complaint couldn’t progress.

Councillor Gerry Ellis asked a further question. Cllr Ron Abbey said they couldn’t take further action as the complainant was unwilling and didn’t want to make a witness statement. The officer said that on the surveillance visits they didn’t see illegal gathering of cockles and in the absence of a witness statement they can’t take further action.

Councillor Ron Abbey pointed out they were closed bays and that commercial activity was therefore illegal. Cockling collection however could still go on as long as it was not commercial. They had responsibility for the tidal side and the police had responsibility for further inland. Cllr Gerry Ellis asked if declassified meant closed?

Cllr Ron Abbey said they were closed to commercial cockling as the cockles were too young or there were not enough for commercial cockling. This gave them time to grow again, the cockling beds were worth millions of pounds as commercial cocklers had gathered £90 million of cockles. Cllr Ellis asked another question to which Cllr Ron Abbey replied “closed”.

In response to a further question of Cllr Ellis Cllr Abbey said that there were different categories, but it was a trade thing so they knew if it was declassified it didn’t have a classification. To take (for commercial reasons) from a declassified bed was illegal.

A councillor asked why there was no mention of Peel Holdings in the report? The Chair said that without them Peel couldn’t operate inspection facilities but they had often had to meet with senior management of Peel to sort out issues. He referred to issues raised at the last meeting with Peel about the docks. The officer said that Peel Holdings were the port operator, but that they (port health) had statutory controls over imported food, enforcement of the regulations and health regulations. The port health authority worked together with Peel Holdings in partnership.

A councillor asked about the financial impact. Cllr Ron Abbey said that without the board doing its job and inspection the port would be greatly diminished. So they worked hand in hand with Peel. They wanted to support Peel to bring more goods through the port as it was more money. Bringing more through meant diversifying but as well as delivering they were putting something back through their training. He gave credit to the staff. The report was noted.

The next meeting was agreed to be held at 11.00am on Thursday 16th October 2014 with the venue announced nearer the time.

The Chair announced one item of any other business (referred to earlier involving the vacancy) for which the public (all two of us) were excluded from the rest of the meeting.

We left and found the way out of through gate 3 was locked. I returned and complained but the way out was not unlocked until the councillors had finished their meeting.

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Mayor of Wirral “Councillors suggested that I end up in something long and flowing, some meant the River Mersey”

Mayor of Wirral Cllr Foulkes “Cllrs suggested that I end up in something long and flowing, some meant the R. Mersey”

Mayor of Wirral “Councillors suggested that I end up in something long and flowing, some meant the River Mersey”


Left to right newly elected Mayor of Wirral Councillor Steve Foulkes, former Mayor of Wirral Councillor Dave Mitchell
Left to right newly elected Mayor of Wirral Councillor Steve Foulkes, former Mayor of Wirral Councillor Dave Mitchell

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This continues from How did Councillor Foulkes get the nickname ‘Mad Max’? & ‘Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!’.

Once the new Mayor of Wirral Council Councillor Steve Foulkes returned and he made his declaration of acceptance of office, he made a speech the first part of which is below.

Right, I’ll probably use the microphone. OK, I’m awful sorry, hang on, I’m doing that. Please be seated. It works!

Well I’d just like to say that there are many, many councillors and this is a tribute to former Mayors particularly Gerry Ellis who’s given me this opening gambit which was when some councillors suggested that I end up in something long and flowing, some meant the River Mersey and not the Mayor’s robes and that’s my tribute to Gerry, to Gerry’s.

Before I do make my acceptance speech though, I think I must place on record my gratitude and thanks to Dave and Sue for the friendship that they’ve given me in the last thirteen months, the guidance and just the thoroughly fantastic job they have done on behalf of the people of Wirral. They’ve been an absolute credit to themselves and the Borough so let’s hear it for them.

It would be a really hard act to follow, but I think you’ve earned a good long rest, so have a good rest and a good holiday and enjoy. I’ll also pass on my condolences to Kate Wood’s family and I will be attending Kate’s funeral on Wednesday, a sad way to start the evening however.

I will accept the office and I’d have loved a unanimous vote and I’ve accepted office on a majority vote and I’ve lost office, quite sadly at times, on a majority vote. So I will be accepting the office tonight.

I’d like to thank my group, my leader Phil for the nomination and a fantastic speech he gave, if not a little too revealing about my former name as Mad Max. That won’t go down very well, but we’d asked for an in depth interview and we got one, so thank you very much.

I’d really like to place on record now while I’ve got the chance is my employer Unilever. They’ve been very supportive of me over a number of years as a politician. As a community minded company they have been really supportive and I have to place on record thanks to them.

I’d like to say a special thanks, this is the second time George gets a mention tonight. I came into politics as George’s agent when we won Claughton and he’s been a real close friend ever since. In fact I refer to him as my other brother sometimes and we’ve been that close at times and he’s been a stalwart. My other ward colleague Denise Roberts, who has really been great and supportive to us and more importantly and that’s what it’s all about is the people of Claughton who have voted for me on a regular basis and have returned me to office over twenty-four years. I’d like to thank them.

So what a really great venue for this what to me is a very special occasion of course but it is a special occasion for the people of Wirral. A great venue and a new look New Brighton. This is at the heart of New Brighton and a development that was done and developed and delivered in the teeth of a recession and I think it just shows what Wirral people can do, what Wirral Council can do if it is of one mind, if it has a vision, if it has a cause. Just go out there tonight if you get a chance, in the early evening and see how much we’ve achieved in those circumstances bringing new life and new jobs I hope we can do more of that in future.

Actually we were quite lucky to get in here tonight. I don’t know whether you noticed the sign or not on the way in, clairvoyant’s evening cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. I don’t know whether anybody spotted that on their way in. You’ve heard a little bit about my background and you know it is character building and I do hope when we get out there and talk to people I will describe how poor we were. We were poor and I’m not ashamed of that. In fact we were so poor that all our clothes had to be bought from the Army and Navy surplus store. You know it’s tough, you try going to school dressed as a Japanese Rear Admiral.

I can tell you it’s not easy and there was a big family you know, we had to scrap over food and things like that and actually my real name should’ve been Tuesday because when I was born Dad looked at Mum and said ‘let’s call it a day love’. Actually Elaine jokes because I haven’t got a middle name. Elaine jokes and says you know by the time I was born she’d run out of names so they couldn’t give me a middle name.

Well as Phil said, our council house which I’m always grateful for, a little bit crowded but loving and this is where I go a bit errm. Not a day passes really you know I don’t think about my Mum and Dad, Eric and Gladys and I just hope that they are really, really proud of what I’ve achieved and what I’ve done today and I miss them. Not a day goes by without a thought for them but that’s my emotional bit over with I suppose.

Right, my Mayoress, my Mayoress will be my beautiful fiancee Elaine who I love dearly and dearly being the operative word because the cost of her last outfit I tell you! It’s utterly amazing but a few years for me have been tough, there’s no doubt about it, politically you put your head above the parapet, times get tough and it has felt like I’ve been besieged at times and I actually don’t think I could have coped with those tough years without Elaine by my side and I thank her very much for that.

Elaine’s a hard working mum, with two lovely children Jack and Molly, you’ve seen Molly already, who have become my best mates during difficult times. They’ve shown maturity in themselves and a friendship to me that is a credit to them and should be an example to everybody in this room. I’ve got to give Jack a special mention, he’s chomping at the bit to go because he’s got two A-levels tomorrow and he really wants to get on and revise. He’s taken time out and good luck tomorrow mate with everything and those exams.

If you haven’t heard, if you haven’t heard, it’s open news now. Me and Elaine have named a date. We’re going to get married on August 17th 2015, ok? I’m sorry Councillor Blakeley, but the best man’s job has already been allocated. So after our Mayoral year, we will be married and what an exciting year it promises to be. The return of the Open and the International Business Festival just for two as an example of this Borough with a real chance, a real opportunity to promote itself and put its best foot forward.

Mayors are supposed to sort of pick themes. I’ve had a little think about what we should be doing. So as Mayor I’ve selected one theme which is ‘Wirral a place to do business’. We can’t latch on to the Golf Open and all the other investment that’s going on. At last we will see some work taking place on the Twelve Quays site. If this is not the greatest opportunity we’ve ever had to entice new business into the Borough I don’t know what it is, so the Mayor’s Office, including the Deputy we will be there, ready, willing and able to meet, greet, do whatever is necessary to entice businesses into this Borough. That’s a pledge I will make as part of the year.

The other sort of theme is ‘councillors count’ and what does that mean? Some can’t count, but councillors count, in a, I know when we had the electronic voting we certainly couldn’t count but I remember, I’ve always thought that no one ever speaks up for councillors. You know they’re misunderstood, maligned, not really appreciated what they’re doing. Having been in virtually every role that it’s possible to be as a councillor, I do actually think we need someone to just champion them and all it will be as part of the theme of the year is explaining the role, the job they do. Don’t forget what councillors have, they have an electoral mandate which very few people have. They are actually able to speak with authority for the very diverse communities we have on the Borough. So I will be championing the role of councillor as best as I can during that year and the last theme is a very simple one it’s just about saying thank you.

Continues at Mayor of Wirral “The Mayor’s Special Charity Fund has been supporting good causes for over forty years”.

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Mayor of Wirral Cllr Mitchell “I’m like a good quality pair of curtains, I like to pull myself together very quickly”

Mayor of Wirral Cllr Mitchell “I’m like a good quality pair of curtains, I like to pull myself together very quickly”

Mayor of Wirral Cllr Mitchell “I’m like a good quality pair of curtains, I like to pull myself together very quickly”


Left to right newly elected Mayor of Wirral Councillor Steve Foulkes, former Mayor of Wirral Councillor Dave Mitchell
Left to right newly elected Mayor of Wirral Councillor Steve Foulkes, former Mayor of Wirral Councillor Dave Mitchell

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There were plenty of interesting things said at the Annual Meeting of Wirral Council held at the Floral Pavilion. The Wirral Globe article and Liverpool Echo both concentrate on the voting by councillors on Councillor Steve Foulkes’ nomination for Mayor by the Cabinet.

Below is a transcript starting at the start of the meeting.

High Sheriff, ladies and gentlemen, will you please be upstanding for the Mayor of Wirral Councillor Dave Mitchell?

Please be seated, thank you.

As part of the agenda for tonight’s meeting, are there any declarations of interest?

Are there any apologies for absence?

Yes, Mr Mayor. Two apologies for absence, Councillor ??? and Councillor ??? ???.

Thank you for that. The first business is the election of the Mayor. I’ve preempted myself, I’m awfully sorry. This is, it’s a year and a little bit since I’ve started my Mayoralty and we’ve changed the constitution, literally thinking thirty years being a councillor I’ll be able to do this, it’s going to be easy but well the Council has decided to change the way we organise and do things. So, I’ll move on. Move on again. It is. Thank you.

I will now ask the assembled Members and visitors to join me in standing and holding a minutes silence in memory of late Alderman Councillor Kate Wood. I’d like everybody to stand.

Thank you very much indeed, please be seated. New business (laughs) I got one bit right anyway. Yes, good evening ladies and gentlemen, elected Members, new Members. We’ll be doing that part in the Council in the second part which is next week.

In my final address as the Mayor, I would like to say good evening to everyone of course and then start off by saying I’m like a good quality pair of curtains, I like to pull myself together very quickly. You will notice, those Members that were here and those visitors that were here last year I became very emotional in my acceptance speech as Mayor. I lost the plot a few times during that evening and I’ve continued on the same vein this evening.

Hopefully from now on it’ll all be downhill but what I would like to say is it’s been an absolute honour to represent the Wirral for this last year. Sue and I (the Mayoress) have really, really fully enjoyed every aspect of it and so much so that we’ve actually attended approximately over five hundred and forty-one engagements as Mayor and Mayoress and we were delighted to see the varied aspects that we have on the Wirral.

It was amazing to see so many wonderful people doing so many wonderful things and that is people working in the communities, charities and we were really heartened by the wealth and support given by so many people to our communities and charities. The skills and the nature of such diversity acquired in all aspects of life, they really came to the fore. I am really proud, Sue and I, we’ve said this for a few times throughout the year about how proud we are to be the [Mayor and] Mayoress of Wirral. The people that we meet on the peninsula are just absolutely fantastic.

We should and I’m sure you will agree with us be proud of the amazing talents that we have here on the Wirral. These include all sorts of things including sports, art, acting, music and can we also thank the parents and guardians of lots of our young people and students in the Wirral? Sue and I had the great opportunity to invite many young groups of people into the Council to give them an insight what we actually do and what we are and I was delighted to bring some of the young people into the Town Hall and see what we’re all about. A big thank you to parents and guardians and helpers in bringing those children into the Town Hall.

I’d also like to thank the support we’ve received from so many members of the council staff and elected Members in our year. They really have shown their loyalty to the Mayoralty in helping at many of the events that have taken place in front and behind the scenes. Their hard works given that’s been so much appreciated by Sue and I. Our charities would never have had the possibility to receive so much money without the dedication and work that was done by so many.

I’d like to thank people but in no particular order, everybody deserves the highest honour that I can possibly thank them for, they really do work very well for us. I will start with our secretary Sue Carroll. Thank you to Sue and Sonja for all their hard work. Also to Barbara Margaret, and Margaret, a special thanks to Carol Jackson who unfortunately can’t be here this evening. She absolutely works her socks off for the Mayoralty, I’m really, really impressed by the amount of work that she does.

We’ve also been greatly helped, especially with our charities by all those people and as I said members of the group. I’ve got to say George Davies thanks very much, George who we all mentioned has been absolutely wonderful in helping the Mayoralty in many ways this year. A personal thanks from Sue and I to you. Thank you very much George.

I’d also like to thank Beth Glover who’s been my chaplain this year and this is where I pause because the one thing I would like to do is to thank our cadet of the year and who started as Sergeant Charlotte Steel. I’m pleased to say is now the rank of what?

Flight Sergeant.

Yes, absolutely. She’s now Flight Sergeant Steel. Sue and I were really impressed by the courtesy you gave us and the hard work that you put in supporting us through our year. So can I ask you to come up and receive an award for it?

Thank you very much. I think she’s going to take a picture of us both.

Mayor of Wirral Cllr Dave Mitchell awards the Cadet of the Year Award (2014)
Mayor of Wirral Cllr Dave Mitchell awards the Cadet of the Year Award (2014)

Excellent, thank you very much, if you could go and sit down. Thank you.

Sue and I started our mayoralty on a really top-notch event. We were very fortunate to start our mayoralty the year, the weekend of the commemoration of the Battle of the Atlantic. It was an absolutely wonderful occasion, a beautiful weekend. I’m very proud to say that the sponsor of that weekend was one of our major companies Cammell Lairds and a great big thank you to them. It really was a wonderful event. I can’t go on and say how many things that we’ve done, I’ve already said we’ve done over five hundred. It’s been absolutely wonderful.

Of those five hundred, I can say I only asked for three. That was to visit my old school and a friend of mine and to visit two of our charities that we’ve supported this year. The rest, the general public and the good people of the Wirral support the mayoralty and they asked the Mayor to be over from the Mayor’s department and I’m really supportive and I’m thankful to those people. I can’t leave out Nick. Nick, Carl and Paul who’ve been the Mayor’s attendants throughout that year. They’ve done an absolutely wonderful job in supporting us.

I know Nick and Paul’s been here for a while, it’s a temporary part and Carl’s just come in and done it for a short while. Nick I would like to thank you for all the great work that you’ve done for Sue and I in supporting us throughout this year. We’ve been to many, many occasions, many events and like everybody when you come into a role, you just don’t know what it’s about and you need a little bit of guidance and help and Nick has been the stalwart in that in helping us throughout our year making sure we address the right people (I get that wrong sometimes) in the right manner. Dame Morgan will not forget me for calling her the Lord High Sheriff but there we are.

Yes, Nick’s guidance it goes beyond just the normal thing of taking us to events and getting us there at the right time, it’s the ability to move us in the right direction, to talk to the people that need to be spoken to and it’s also the guidance in taking us away from the people that actually you don’t need to talk to and finally Steve and Les you’ll find that out when your year comes. There are some very lovely people on the Wirral peninsula who once they get the ear of the Mayor will not stop talking so that’s beneficial in both ways.

So Sue and I would like to thank you Nick, you really are the stalwart in what you’ve done for us. So much so in the conversation with the Lord Lieutenant Dame Lorna Muirhead only a few weeks back she remarked on, “How would you manage without him?” and that’s it. “I’m sure you’ll find somebody to replace him but for the time being there’s no one as good as you.” So Nick thank you very much.

I’d also like as I said last but not least as I mention in my column every week in the newspaper, I always say about the people that we meet, the wonderful things that we’ve done but the one thing that’s really stood out for Sue and I this year is the amount of work that’s done by so many young people on the Wirral and the press is not very good. There are all sorts of news story, it never gives a good news story and we’ve been absolutely astounded in the main by the amount of work that’s been done by the young people on this peninsula.

Thousands and thousands of pounds have been raised by different groups each year and without any need for publicity in any way. They just get on and do the job. We were really amazed and we are absolutely delighted and we believe the peninsula is in safe hands with all those wonderful young people that we’ve got on our peninsula.

I’ve mentioned the mayoralty and the one thing that it is, is once you get into the role of being the Mayor, you realise how important it is to our communities and our communities really do love the Mayor. I’m repeating myself and I know I’ve already said it, five hundred plus engagements where our communities want the Mayoralty to be involved. I hope it is not diminished in any way in future years.

I would like to say in passing that I wish my predecessor, oh no the incoming Mayor and Mayoress. My predecessor Gerry I’m delighted to see you here. At the end of your Mayoral year you weren’t too well health wise but I’m delighted to see how well you are at the moment, I’m really delighted to see you here, but no the incoming Mayor and Mayoress Steve and Elaine I wish you all the joy and success. I know you will enjoy it as much as Sue and I have done. Ladies and gentlemen thank you very much.

Now I’ll turn the page and actually get on to it. The first business is the election of the Civic Mayor. May I have the nominations for the office of Civic Mayor for the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral?

Continues at How did Councillor Foulkes get the nickname ‘Mad Max’? & ‘Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!’.
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