Mayor of Bridgwater

Mayor Liz Leavy (pic Jeff Searle)

The Mayor of Bridgwater for 2022-23 is Cllr Liz Leavy.  Liz is the first female Mayor in 36 years and only the 8th ever in the history of Bridgwater.

Liz was born Elizabeth Phelps in Manchester in 1943. Her mother, Kathleen Phelps, had family in the Bridgwater area and in later years the family returned to their ancestral home. Liz lived in many places around the country travelling with her father Glyn’s job as a Presbyterian Minister eventually London where she spent much of her time including going to University there in the 1960s.

Like her mother, Liz became both a teacher and a councillor. Both taught at the Girls Grammar school, but Liz went on to teach at Haygrove, Chilton and Sydenham and the finally at Bishop Foxes in Taunton.

Liz  married  Jim Leavy, who came from Athlone in the Irish Republic, in 1970 and who she met while working for Marshall & Snelgrove (which later became Debenhams) up in London. Jim was Deputy Manager of linens and Soft Furnishings. Although they lived for a while in Dublin,  Ireland Liz chose to return to Bridgwater when she became pregnant in 1971. Together they had 3 children Jason, Caroline and Veronica. Jim sadly died in 2001 but the couple have 4 grandchildren and a grandchild.

Liz with Mayors consort Alex Glassford

In later years Liz worked in Bridgwater library and continued as a stalwart of the Bridgwater Labour Party. Liz usually stood in seats that she was unlikely to win but one day in 2015 she stood in the Tory stronghold  of Wyndham only to find that the Conservatives didn’t stand that year due to ill health and as a result she found herself elected to town council. Finally getting the council bug she stood again in 2019 and was elected to both Town and Sedgemoor District Councils for the Hamp area, to which she was elected again in 2022.

Liz is a fluent speaker of French and German and takes a special interest in the arts, becoming the Towns portfolio holder for art,culture and heritage in 2019 and now Mayor in 2022.

For information about the role of Mayor of Bridgwater click here.

PAST MAYORS OF BRIDGWATER

From 1465 until 1972 Bridgwater’s Mayors were seen as the Leader of the Town Council. But from 1973 Bridgwater became part of Sedgemoor District Council and the role of councillor elected in Bridgwater was reduced to simply ‘Charter Trustee’ whose limited powers amounted to electing one of them to be Mayor for the incoming year. For many years an arrangement between Labour and the Tories to share the role of Mayor was in place, probably reflecting the power of the new Tory controlled Sedgemoor  over Labour Bridgwater. But then in 1995 with the collapse of Tory power across the country Labour regained confidence and wrested back control of the Town Mayoralty with only one Tory (Philip Smeed) being invited to the role in 2007.

Historic Mayors of Bridgwater

Post War Mayors of Bridgwater

Oscar Coates Mayor at the time of the La Ciotat twinning

1945 R Chamberlain

1946 R Chamberlain

1947 R Washer

1948 R Washer

1949 R Washer

1950 E Wills

1951 E Wills

1952 P Wills

1953 G Hayball (Labour)

1954 A John

1955 R Biddiscombe

1956 N Gray

1957 Oscar Coate

1958 Jack Davies (Labour)

Alice Potterton first female mayor

1959 Mrs Alice Potterton (Labour)

1960 J Headford (died) suc Alice Potterton

1961 A Frost

1962 C Milne

1963 C Harris

1964 Mrs Bea Davis

1965 Mrs Bea Davis

1966 Jack Davies (Labour)

1967 Louis Steer (died) suc C Harris

1968 Mrs Bea Davis

1969 Joe Ayres (Labour)

1970 Mrs Margaret Rees (Con)

1971 Mrs Irene Tester (Labour)

1972+73 Saunders (Lab)  -Last Borough Mayor

Charter Trustee Mayors of Bridgwater

cup
5 times Mayor Ken Richards awarding the ‘Bridgwater Cup’ to Derek Gibson

1974 Charles Tester (Lab) – First Charter Trustee Mayor

1975 Trevor Donaldson (Con)

1976 Joe Ayres (Lab)

1977 Margaret Rees (Con)

1978 Mick Briscombe (Lab)

1979 Bill Chedgey (Lab)

1980 Mike Needs (Con)

1981 Ken Richards (Lab)

1982 Joe Ayres (Lab)

1983 Mike Cresswell (Con)

1984 Jenny Briscombe (Lab)

Cllr John Turner, last surviving councillor from the borough days and Mayor in 1993

1985 Mary Tustian (Lab)

1986 Julie Hooper (Con)

1987 Ken Richards (Lab)

1988 Trevor Donaldson (Con)

1989 Joe Ayres (Trad Lab)

1990 Mike Cresswell (Con)

1991 Ken Richards (Lab)

1992 David Baker (Lib Dem)

1993 John Turner (Lab)

1994 Mick Briscombe (Lab)

1995 Trevor Donaldson (Con)

1996 Ken Parkin (Lab)

1997 Adrian Moore (Lab)

1998 Bill Munn (Lab)

1999 Roger Lavers (Lab)

2000 David Busby (Lab)

2001 Ken Richards (Lab)

2002 Adrian Moore (Lab) Last Charter Trustee Mayor

Town Council Mayors of Bridgwater

From 2003 the Government allowed Bridgwater to regain many of its ancient powers by creating a Town Council. With this new ‘parish’ status elections were held specifically for the role of Town Councillor.

Cllr Adrian Moore  last Charter Trustee Mayor and first Town Council Mayor

2003 Adrian Moore (Lab) -1st TOWN Mayor

2004 Bill Munn (Lab)

2005 Bill Monteith (Lab)

2006 Pat Parker (Lab)

2007 Philip Smeed (Con)

2008 Graham Granter (Lab)

2009 Ken Richards (Lab)

2010 Bill Monteith (Lab)

2011 Pat Parker (Lab)

2012 Graham Granter (Lab)

2013 Dave Loveridge (Lab)

2014 Steve Austen (Lab)

2015 Leigh Redman (Lab)

tony
Mayor Tony Heywood -whose term was interupted by Covid

2016 Alex Glassford (Lab)

2017 Graham Granter (Lab)

2018 Diogo Rodrigues (Lab)

2019 Tony Heywood (Lab)

2020 Leigh Redman (Lab)

2022 Liz Leavy (Lab)