Express & Star

New mayor becomes the First Citizen almost 40 years after his father donned the civic chain

Stafford borough’s new mayor has been chosen – and he will become the First Citizen almost 40 years after his father donned the civic chain.

Councillor Frank James

Councillor Frank James, who was re-elected to the authority last year to serve the Holmcroft ward, was bowled over to be nominated as Borough Mayor for 2024/25 at a full council meeting on Tuesday .

Speaking after the meeting, he said: “I’m very proud and I hope I can make Stafford proud. My father Doug James was Mayor (in 1987).”

The great-grandfather, who has lived in the Holmcroft area for more than 50 years, is the current National President of British Crown Green Bowls as well as Chairman of Stafford Bowls Club and Post Office Club. During his working life he became a senior union rep for fellow postal workers.

Labour member Councillor James will take on the chain of office from the current mayor, Andy Cooper, at a ceremony in May. Before he returned to the council at last year’s election, Councillor James served as a borough representative for more than 20 years, during which he was deputy mayor for a year.

His deputy for 2024/25 will be a veteran of the “chain gang”.

Conservative councillor Peter Jones, who represents Eccleshall, will return as Deputy Mayor for his sixth term.

Councillor Jones served as borough mayor during 2015/16. He said that member of the authority can only be Stafford borough mayor once – but they are able to be deputy mayor many times.

He added that he and wife Joy were “great believers in the Mayoralty”.

He said: “We have seen the looks on people’s faces when the mayor goes somewhere – people enjoy it and we thoroughly enjoy it.”

Stafford’s first Mayor, Matthew Craddock, was elected in 1614.

The borough is required to have a mayor by law and they should remain apolitical during their civic year.

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