A NEW chairman has been voted in for Middlewich Town Council as two councillors step down for health reasons.

Cllr Mike Hunter, Labour, is the third chairman the council has had since last May’s election.

He had been serving as deputy chairman under Cllr Russell Watkinson, Labour, who replaced Cllr Rachel Pendleton following her resignation from the council last September.

On becoming chairman in the first town council meeting during lockdown, Cllr Hunter paid tribute to volunteer, frontline workers and town council staff during the coronavirus crisis.

He said: “I think it would be amiss if I did not thank all the people – the nurses, carers and doctors, and the volunteers, especially in our town.

“It just goes to show that when trouble does hit us we do all pull together and we do all move in the right direction.”

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Both Cllr Watkinson and his wife Cllr Helen Watkinson, Labour, formally resigned as town councillors at Monday’s meeting in a statement read on their behalf by clerk Lisa Benskin, citing health problems.

Cllr Hunter thanked Cllr Russell Watkinson for his leadership through a ‘very turbulent time’ for Middlewich Town Council, following the shock audit that highlighted costly failures in the town council’s bookkeeping.

Cllr Jonathan Parry, Labour, was voted in as the town council’s new deputy chairman.