A Chessington councillor has resigned from Kingston Council with immediate effect, but the by-election to replace her will not take place until early next May due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Liberal Democrat Tricia Bamford, 66, stepped down as councillor for Chessington South on Monday (November 30).
She said she had planned to retire at the end of her term in May 2022, but changes in family circumstances pre-empted this.
She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that she was most proud of “finding a voice” for residents and her community, and growing her confidence.
“It’s been great for me, having been in that honoured position, really, because let’s face it, people voted for me to represent them six times, and every time it’s been an honour, and every time, you know, you don’t want to let them down.
“It’s the residents who put you where you are. Nobody should ever forget that.”
Ms Bamford said she had never spoken in public before the age of 40, and that being a councillor gave her the confidence to do so.
She said after 22 years as a councillor, she has seen a lot of changes, and will continue to help those that need it.
“People sometimes view change as bad but some change actually present new and better opportunities. Not all the time. I agree. But you know, I just think, I’m still here in the community. And I’m not going to disappear. And I will still help people. I’m still involved in local community organisations and I intend to carry on with that.
Former council leader, Liz Green, tweeted her thanks.
She said: “Thank you for all the support you have given me over the years. Kingston Council and the Liberal Democrat group will be poorer for your departure, as will residents of Chessington South.”
Cllr Caroline Kerr, the current Leader of Kingston Council, said: “We will greatly miss her knowledge and experience. I would like to thank Tricia for all she has done during her long and distinguished service in her ward and all the leadership positions she has held.
“It has been an immense pleasure to work with Tricia, she has been a tireless campaigner on community issues. She was a key member of the team that helped us win control of the Council in 2002 and since and we owe Tricia a huge thank you. The Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for residents in Chessington South.”