Cllr John Aldridge's Final Chairman's Blog

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As my two years as Chairman of the Essex County Council comes to an end, I am able to reflect upon the great privilege it has been to serve the Council and the people of Essex. It has, on many occasions, also been a very humbling role when I have witnessed at first hand so many members of our community committing themselves to the support of others. As a result, I am not only amazed at what a great place our County is to live in but what wonderful people we live among and serve. I wish the forty fourth Chairman of the Essex County Council, Cllr John Jowers and his wife Susan, every success throughout the next two years.

Meeting the Army recruiting team from 101 Royal Engineers 17 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal)

Meeting the Army recruiting team from 101 Royal Engineers 17 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) putting on a display about joining the Army Reserve in the Atrium. The Army Reserves offer a unique set of skills that are unlike any other job, which can only be an asset to your organisation. For further information on becoming a reservist email sam.petit240@mod.uk.

Joined by The Lord-Lieutenant, the Mayor and Mayoress of Chelmsford, my wife Christine and seven trumpeters from King Edward VIth Grammar School Chelmsford

Joined by The Lord-Lieutenant, the Mayor and Mayoress of Chelmsford, my wife Christine and seven trumpeters from King Edward VIth Grammar School Chelmsford who played a fanfare at the raising of the Commonwealth Flag and the reading of the Commonwealth Attestation. The ceremony took place on the steps of County Hall to mark that 2018 was the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Commonwealth of Nations.

With Cllr Susan Barker, Vicky Ford MP, Lord Michael Farmer and Sponsors at the opening of the Chelmsford Children’s Library and Family Hub in the County Library

With Cllr Susan Barker, Vicky Ford MP, Lord Michael Farmer and Sponsors at the opening of the Chelmsford Children’s Library and Family Hub in the County Library. The Hub provides an improved space for library staff, health and social workers and volunteers to ensure children and families have access to a full range of support services.

The Chairman pictured with Lucy Bettley and Derek Hall during a visit to see the work of the Maldon Citizens Advice Bureau

The Chairman pictured with Lucy Bettley and Derek Hall during a visit to see the work of the Maldon Citizens Advice Bureau. The CAB covers the whole of the Maldon District Council area and works closely together with CABs in adjacent areas.

Celebratory Reception for the players and staff of the Essex County Cricket Club to congratulate the Club on winning its eighth County Championship

Celebratory reception for the players and staff of the Essex County Cricket Club to congratulate the Club on winning its eighth County Championship, with the Chief Executive Derek Bowden, the Club’s President David Acfield and Vicky Ford MP. Also present were the High Sheriff, Simon Hall and the Vice Lord-Lieutenant Jonathan Douglas-Hughes, together with representatives from the Unitary, District, Borough and City Councils.

With the Chairman of the Tending District Council and (far right) Tony Elliston the Chairman of the Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre at the opening of Harwich’s new railway museum.

With the Chairman of the Tending District Council and (far right) Tony Elliston the Chairman of the Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre at the opening of Harwich’s new railway museum.

At St Peter’s Church, South Weald with the Mayor of Brentwood, Cllr Will Russell, the Lord-Lieutenant and other Mayors and Chairs, at what was the Mayor’s final civic event of his year of office.

At St Peter’s Church, South Weald with the Mayor of Brentwood, Cllr Will Russell, the Lord-Lieutenant and other Mayors and Chairs, at what was the Mayor’s final civic event of his year of office.

The Chairman with the manager of the "Supporting Carers and Families Together", Andrew Trewern, and his volunteers at tea time with the young children in their care

The Chairman with the manager of the "Supporting Carers and Families Together", Andrew Trewern, and his volunteers at tea time with the young children in their care. This short bi-weekly get together gives the families some respite and allows the children to socialise with others of the same age in a friendly and secure environment.

With representatives from the Parkeston Residents and Welfare Park Association, one of the recipients of the Essex Millennium Awards

With representatives from the Parkeston Residents and Welfare Park Association, one of the recipients of the Essex Millennium Awards. Grants from the County Council’s Millennium Fund and the Chairman’s Fund are awarded annually. This year there were 22 groups who were judged to have improved the quality of life in their local communities receiving grants.

Attending the opening of the new all-weather cricket nets at the Chelmsford Cricket Club ground

Attending the opening of the new all-weather cricket nets at the Chelmsford Cricket Club ground, Beehive Lane, supported by players from the Essex County Cricket Club.  The Chelmsford Cricket Club now have a huge membership of both boys and girls for what has become a very popular game.

The Chairman with the Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, The High Sheriff, Bryan Burrough, and James Cleverly MP hosted a reception at County Hall for 100 cadets and their officers from all over Essex

The Chairman with the Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, The High Sheriff, Bryan Burrough, and James Cleverly MP hosted a reception at County Hall for 100 cadets and their officers from all over Essex. Apart from recognising the achievements of the various cadet forces, it enabled the Lord-Lieutenant to appoint her cadets for 2018-19 from all the uniformed services.

The Chairman and his wife Christine, with the RAF contingent

The Chairman and his wife Christine, with the RAF contingent.

James Cleverly takes a “selfie”

James Cleverly takes a “selfie”.

With the Under-Sheriff Roger Brice, Sgt Olivia Whittle one of the Lord-Lieutenant’s cadets and Leslie Kleinman who was at County Hall to receive his British Empire Medal from the Lord-Lieutenant for services to Holocaust Education

With the Under-Sheriff Roger Brice, Sgt Olivia Whittle one of the Lord-Lieutenant’s cadets and Leslie Kleinman who was at County Hall to receive his British Empire Medal from the Lord-Lieutenant for services to Holocaust Education.

The Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, arranged for a Service at Chelmsford Cathedral to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Commonwealth

The Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, arranged for a Service at Chelmsford Cathedral to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Commonwealth, its past, present and future. It was attended by 40 children from Commonwealth countries in national dress, dancers from the Essex Dance Theatre, trumpeters from King Edward VIth Grammar School, the Colchester Garrison Fijian Choir and the Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers. The sermon was given by the Rt Revd Trevor Mwamba. With the Lord-Lieutenant is Akbar Khan, Secretary General of the Parliamentary Commonwealth Association, The High Sheriff and the Mayor of Chelmsford.

The Chairman with Lt Col Jackie Allen, who led the entry procession on the bagpipes and the Mayor of Chelmsford, Cllr Duncan Lumley

The Chairman with Lt Col Jackie Allen, who led the entry procession on the bagpipes and the Mayor of Chelmsford, Cllr Duncan Lumley.

The Chairman with one of the many families from India who attended the service

The Chairman with one of the many families from India who attended the service.

A special presentation of the National Citizen Award in the presence of the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Jonathan Douglas-Hughes OBE

A special presentation of the National Citizen Award in the presence of the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Jonathan Douglas-Hughes OBE.

With Dennis Rensch MBE DL following the ceremonial “lowering” of the County Flag in the Members’ Court of County Hall

With Dennis Rensch MBE DL following the ceremonial “lowering” of the County Flag in the Members’ Court of County Hall. This flag that was given to him by the then Chairman of the County Council which he carried to the North Pole in 1994, on a charity fund raising expedition to raise funds for the NSPCC.

And in 2018 another hardy explorer makes the same journey. Roxwell farmer, Chris Philpot, shows the ECC Flag at the North Pole in 2018

And in 2018 another hardy explorer makes the same journey. Roxwell farmer, Chris Philpot, shows the ECC Flag at the North Pole in 2018. His expedition complemented his trek to the South Pole in 2016.

A clean shaven Chris and his wife Annette inspect the polar flag in the Chairman’s Office

A clean shaven Chris and his wife Annette inspect the polar flag in the Chairman’s Office. His North Pole expedition raised £15,000 for the Essex Air Ambulance and Prostrate Cancer UK.

At my final Citizenship Ceremony

At my final Citizenship Ceremony I was very pleased to be joined by the Lord-Lieutenant, five Deputy Lieutenants, the High Sheriff and the Under Sheriff, two former High Sheriffs and Lord Petre, the Former Lord-Lieutenant. Also with me was my wife Christine, my PA Ruth Naunton and the Vice Chairman, Cllr John Jowers. The Ceremony was also complemented by some wonderful singing from the County Hall Singers.

M. Claude Dubois, the President of the Comité de Jumelage from Nonancourt in France receives an ECC shield to celebrate the 43rd year of the twinning of his town with Earls Colne

M. Claude Dubois, the President of the Comité de Jumelage from Nonancourt in France receives an ECC shield to celebrate the 43rd year of the twinning of his town with Earls Colne.

My final duty as Chairman was to receive the ”Member Development Charter Plus Award” from Cllr Tom Fitzpatrick of the East of England Local Government Association

My final duty as Chairman was to receive the ”Member Development Charter Plus Award” from Cllr Tom Fitzpatrick of the East of England Local Government Association.