OUTGOING Mayor, alderman Paula Bradley bid an emotional farewell to her time as the borough’s first citizen at Monday night’s council AGM.
The Antrim Line representative and new Assembly member thanked all the councillors, staff and officers for their dedication and support throughout her year.
She said: “I had a rocky beginning with the controversy over Tommy Kirkham’s appointment as Deputy Mayor, but through the support of all the members we got through it.
“Tommy was a great deputy and every member was a fantastic support through my term.
“I have had a tremendous year, it has been a blast and I have enjoyed every minute of it and the year did help me get elected on to the Assembly.”
Alderman Bradley also paid tribute to staff and officers at the council for their support.
She continued: “Jacqui Dixon (the council’s Chief Executive) has been my rock through the year. Everything I have ever needed she has been there for me both professionally and personally.
“I would also like to thank Dean Holmes and Jenni Coulter for everything they have done throughout the year. They have made so much possible, even when I wanted to abseil down the building, it was no problem.
“And I could not have done the job as well without the support of my PA Karen Jones and Abe McCrea.
“I don’t know how I will cope without Karen running my diary or Ian getting me everywhere on time and always being prepared with snacks to keep me going.”
DUP leader on the council, Paul Girvan, paid tribute to Paula’s work throughout the year, saying the group could be “proud” of her work as first citizen.
UUP council leader John Scott said councillor Bradley had performed a “marvellous” job.
Councillor Billy Webb said he had fond memories of her charity work during her term, particularly as he had his moustache removed during one of her endeavours. And councillor Noreen McClelland thanked both the outgoing Mayor and the Deputy for their support, especially following her mother’s death earlier in the year.
As a final act before the new Mayor was named, councillor Bradley read a letter from last year’s Deputy Mayor Tommy Kirkham, who was not returned to the council in the election.
In the letter he thanked the councillors, the staff and officers for their tremendous support throughout his term and singled out Noreen McClelland and Ken Robinson for their support and work.
He said: “You cannot fault the electorate - I have no regrets.
“I was elected to the council in 1989 and have represented the people to the best of my ability during that time.
“I will continue to work for the people as we enter this new era of politics and continue to promote good relationships between the community and the council.”
Mr Kirkham also wished the new Mayor the best of luck for the year ahead.