RETIRING chairman Lawrie Hayworth stepped down after two years of striking the gavel at Community Council meetings in the Chambers Institute.

And his final job was to hand it over to Les Turnbull.

The news clearly came as a shock to elected members, when Mr Hayworth made the announcement following his report at the community council’s annual general meeting.

He said: “Going forward, I hope to continue as an active member of the Community Council but I will not be able to continue as Chair.

“My contribution as Chair along with the rapid growth in the Community Trust from over 100 to 1200 members, the purchase of Eshiels Wood, the work involved in raising funding for the Ex-Servicemen’s, and the preparation of the Community Right to Buy of March Street.

“In tandem to again taking up the reins at Bookdonors securing 30 jobs, following the sudden departure of both the managing and finance directors has often seen me commit over 50 hours per week to community work.

“It remains only for me to thank you all for your input and support over the last year.”

Mr Hayworth praised the new chairman for the “hundreds of hours” of work he has put in during his stint as the convenor of the Community Council’s planning sub-committee.

Following his appointment, Mr Turnbull said the retiring chairman would be hard act to follow.

He added: “I will endeavour to ensure that the views of the whole town are fully and properly articulated when and where required.

“This is an important role which I am looking forward to developing.

"It is also pleasing to welcome new members of the Community Council and working with everyone for the benefit of our lovely town.”

The new office bearers are as follows: Chairman Les Turnbull; Vice-Chairman and Community Trust representative Scott Rae; Treasurer Graham Mackie; Secretary Caitlin Ramsay; Convenor of the planning sub-committee; Peter Maudsley. New community councillors welcomed are Elizabeth Rae, Olga Olesheva and Jennifer Mitchell.