Ex-military police officer elected as Dereham's new mayor

Hugh King, chairman of the Royal British Legion in Norfolk

Hugh King has been elected as the new mayor of Dereham - Credit: Royal British Legion

Dereham's new mayor has pledged to build upon the impressive community spirit exhibited by the town in recent months.

Hugh King, a former military police officer, was elected to the post at a meeting of Dereham Town Council on Tuesday (May 17) evening.

Stuart Green, 27, the new mayor of Dereham, and the youngest they have ever had. Picture: DENISE BRA

Dereham's outgoing mayor Stuart Green - Credit: Archant

He had, since 2020, served as deputy to outgoing mayor, Stuart Green.

Philip Morton was elected as the new deputy mayor.

Speaking after the result was confirmed, Mr King said he could not wait to get started. 

"I feel excited, and honoured that my fellow councillors have elected me as mayor," he added. 

Hugh King (right) has been elected as the new mayor of Dereham. He is pictured with outgoing mayor Stuart Green

Hugh King (right) has been elected as the new mayor of Dereham. He is pictured with outgoing mayor Stuart Green - Credit: Dereham Town Council

"I will do everything I can for the community of Dereham. I look forward to engaging with as many people and organisations as possible during my tenure."

After serving in the armed forces for almost a decade, Mr King moved from Canterbury to Dereham in 1980 having joined British Rail.

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He worked for 24 years as a manager for Anglia Railways until his retirement.

In Norfolk, the 77-year-old has been active in the community, taking on various roles with the Royal British Legion - including the county chairmanship - and the Mid-Norfolk Railway, where he volunteered as a director. 

Hugh King, county public relations officer for Norfolk, speaks at the service for the Royal British

Hugh King has taken on various roles with Norfolk Royal British Legion - Credit: Denise Bradley

Ahead of his next challenge, Mr King said he was keen to harness Dereham's community-driven mentality after seeing the success of Dereham Day.

"We had a very successful Dereham Day and it has been fantastic to hear people saying we need to do it again," he added.

"It is a fact that this sort of thing is what Dereham is all about - bringing the community together. There is, of course, lots of building work going on in the town, so the community is growing. 

"Councillors and I are also working on projects for the youth of our town to see how we can improve our relationship with them and see what their needs are."

Dereham's new deputy mayor, Philip Morton

Dereham's new deputy mayor, Philip Morton - Credit: Philip Morton

Mr King also emphasised the need to support struggling families through the cost of living crisis. 

He said: "It is a sad time at the moment in terms of our purse strings, so I want to look at the welfare of our community. 

"We have got to make sure we are up-to-date in terms of the help we can give. There are lots of organisations out there and we should be guiding people to them."