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Steve hands over the chains after a third spell as Ashbourne mayor

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: May 21, 2014

DEGM20140516C-227_C.JPG DEGM20140516C-227_C.JPG Picture by: Geoff Merryweather

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STEVE Bull has handed over the chains of office after three terms as Mayor of Ashbourne.

He served the town in 2007-08, 2012-13 and completed his hat-trick last night after presenting the chains to Sandra Spencer.

As a town centre businessman, family man and avid Shrovetider, Ashbourne is in his blood.

"Bully", who has fulfilled his civic duties with his wife Sue, Ashbourne's mayoress and fellow town councillor, by his side, said it had been a tremendous honour.

His third term arrived on him rather unexpectedly and amid tragic circumstances when deputy mayor Alan Hodkinson, who was in line to become the next mayor, died suddenly a few months before he was due to take up the role.

Mr Bull, a close friend of Mr Hodkinson's, agreed to stay in his post for a second consecutive year to carry out duties in his memory.

He told the News Telegraph: "It was always going to be a bit different this year because of the circumstances.

"The last thing I wanted was to be mayor again because of Alan passing away, but it was still a great honour."

Mr Bull is one of only four councillors to have become chairman or mayor three times and said the role never became any less a part of his life.

He said: "The first year is always going to be special and I was really proud.

"But it's like opening a Christmas present – you really don't know what you're going to get until you get into it.

"By the third time, you know what's going to happen – but that doesn't make it any less of an honour.

"It's been fantastic to do it once, but to do it three times and to join people like Alan Hodkinson, Fred Elliot and Ian Bates who have done it three times is a tremendous honour."

Through the early part of this year, Mr Bull has been balancing his engagements with an illness, from which he is still recovering.

Complications with his diabetes led to him losing the sight in his left eye and, although he is on the mend, he has been ill for most of 2014.

He said: "I'd like to thank my deputy mayor, Sandra, for looking after my role while I've been poorly and if I missed anything when people wanted me, then I apologise."

However, illness hasn't stopped him enjoying another bumper year of fund-raising.

This year, he raised around £6,700 – bringing the total across his three years to a shade under £20,000.

He said: "I wouldn't have been able to do all that without the people and the organisations of Ashbourne who have helped me along the way.

"And if it wasn't for the help of my staff and my family supporting me, I'm sure I wouldn't have managed.

"My children have been fantastic and Sue has been my PA, mayoress and best friend throughout the three years.

"I'm probably the wrong person to say it but Sue in her own right is a very good councillor. She loves the town and she does everything she does for the good of the town.

"It's a commitment, doing what we've done and doing it for three years you really get to learn what a commitment it is.

"You have to put your personal life on hold to be a mayor, but we've really enjoyed it. It's been part of our life."

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