After deciding not to stand for re-election, former Haverhill mayor expresses her thanks for the support she has received over the years
Haverhill Town councillor, Maureen Byrne, has offered her gratitude to fellow councillors and residents after opting not to stand for election again after 12 years in the role.
Mrs Byrne has represented Haverhill South since May, 2007 and was the town's mayor from 2011-12 as well as representing the same ward on the borough council from May 2011 to May 2015.
Mobility and health issues have influenced Mrs Byrne's decision not to stand again for office, and she said: "This decision is going to leave a big void in what I have enjoyed immensely during the years I was elected, and served the community.
"The South Ward and particularly the Clements Estate, have given me great satisfaction in supporting and representing some of the most genuine and lovely residents, who take great pride of their homes, and are genuinely good neighbours.
"Our town council has worked tirelessly and put Haverhill at the top of the great market towns.
"I'm very proud of what we have achieved, with great community commitment and dedication, what we provide for our residents during a year is tremendous and as a result of hard working staff and volunteers.
"It has been a humbling experience to have had the South Ward's affection and support.
"I have laughed with the residents and on occasions felt very sad when things go wrong for them."
Councillors should always, added Mrs Byrne, be honest and open, and not make promises, if you cannot deliver.
Keeping residents up to date on the many issues and decisions the town council make on the community's behalf is a very important aspect to the role, she said, as is keeping them inclusive, and giving them the opportunity to provide their views and aspirations.
Mrs Byrne said: "Speak for those that have difficulty doing it for themselves. Being a good listener, and non judgemental is vital.
"Whoever stands at the elections, it is a two way relationship.
"The councillor is only as good as the support residents share with them.
"I was able to assist residents with their benefit forms often some 40 pages, and accompany them to the assessment centres, and when necessary take appeals at the Cambridge County Court.
"I'm pleased to say the success rate was very good.
"If you need this sort of support make sure you contact your elected councillors for assistance.
"This was a role that took up many hours but when a resident has their benefits reinstated, it was worth every minute.
"I have shared my thoughts with you, hoping there will be continuity after the elections.
"You decide who you prefer to represent you, big decisions for all.
"It is important to give some of the younger candidates an opportunity to represent you."
Mrs Byrne will continue to represent Happy Faces Pre-School and LampH, The Womens Refuge at Bury St Edmunds and the Lunch Club at Leiston Community Centre.
She added: "Haverhill is a tremendous town in which to live work and educate our children, be proud.
"It has given my family great opportunities for success.
"My sincere thanks to the South Ward community will miss you."