AS Councillor Joan Baird’s third tenure as Council Chairman comes to an end, she has taken the time to reflect on the highlights of the past year as she prepares to hand over the chains of office to her successor.
The UUP representative described the year as being “very busy and tiring” but one that was memorable due to the many engagements and celebrations she was involved in.
“As always, the people of the Banbridge District have been most gracious, warm and welcoming, inviting me to share in their special events and milestones,” she said.
“Although this is my third time serving as Council Chair, I never fail to be impressed by the many great achievements I hear about when I meet individuals, groups, clubs and organisations throughout the district.
“It is a real privilege to join members of the local community as they celebrate their successes. I thoroughly enjoyed every event and was tremendously proud to represent the council on every occasion. It would be very difficult for me to single out any one event as they have all meant so much to me.”
Mrs Baird added that she is pleased that one of her last engagements will be to officially open the newly restored Old Town Hall in Banbridge.
“This historic building now provides a striking focal point in our town centre and will hopefully be used to its full potential for the benefit of our community. I also hope that Gilford Community Centre will become a shared and inclusive space for all communities in the local area,” she added.
“I would like to take a moment to thank all those who supported me throughout my term in office. This is the first time in the council’s 38-year history that two women have held the top posts of Chair and Vice-Chair. I cannot thank Councillor Carol Black enough for helping me out with my many engagements. Thanks also to my party colleagues and fellow councillors who supported me.
“I am also indebted to the Chief Executive and staff who went the extra mile to help me and my fellow councillors make Banbridge a better district for all citizens. Their assistance has been invaluable and made the job of serving as First Citizen all the more rewarding.
“Finally, I would not have been able to carry out my civic duties without the support of my family. They helped whenever they could and understood when I had to balance personal and work commitments.”
Councillor Baird concluded, “It was a great honour to serve as Council Chair again and I wish my successor, whoever he or she may be, every success in taking on this demanding yet extremely fulfilling position.”