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Warwickshire councillor follows in father’s footsteps in role as chairman

CHRIS Kettle is following in the footsteps of his late father by becoming chair of Warwickshire County Council.

The Conservative councillor for Feldon, near Southam, was unanimously chosen to be ceremonial head of the authority for the next civic year.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe (Con, Stour & the Vale), leader of the council, lifted the lid on Cllr Kettle’s backstory.

“When I proposed him as vice-chairman last year, I eluded briefly to his father who had also been a county councillor and chairman of this council,” she said. “Very sadly, in March 1982, on returning home from a council meeting, he was involved in a very serious car accident which he did not survive. I know this is a very emotional day for Cllr Kettle and his family.

Cllr Chris Kettle. Photo: Mark Williamson L11/5/21/8881
Cllr Chris Kettle. Photo: Mark Williamson L11/5/21/8881

“It feels to me that this is a rite of passage that I think will continue the family involvement in public service in Warwickshire County Council.”

Cllr Kettle said: “Thank you for your kind words and thank you for choosing me to become your chairman for this coming year. It is a great honour and one that I look forward to with the enthusiasm and commitment that I know this role requires.

“It was in 1981 when my father stood here taking on the same role and it is great that my wife, sister and son Rupert are here to join us. In many respects it is a very similar role but times have moved on extraordinarily in those 40-something years.”

As well as a new chair, the county council has new cabinet members.

Cllr Seccombe has appointed Conservative councillors:

Sue Markham (Bedworth North) as portfolio holder for children and families

Jan Matecki (Budbrooke & Bishop’s Tachbrook) takes over transport and planning

Yousef Dahmash (Hilmorton) is portfolio holder for customer and transformation

The five other cabinet posts are unchanged with: Margaret Bell (Hartshill & Mancetter) in charge of adult social care and health, Kam Kaur (Bilton & Hillside) overseeing education, Heather Timms (Earl Craven) on environment, climate and culture, Martin Watson (Coleshill North & Water Orton) leading on economy and Andy Crump (Southam, Stockton & Napton) on fire & rescue and community safety.

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