Former mayor leaves Axminster Town Council


LONG-SERVING town councillor and former Axminster mayor Mervyn Symes has resigned with immediate effect after 26 years.

He becomes the third member to leave the town council in only a few months, following the resignations of John Jeffery and Ian Hall in June.

Mr Symes handed in his resignation letter to the council offices last week.

He said: “After 26 years of service as councillor, I have decided to stand down from Axminster Town Council.

“This is something that I have been contemplating over the past 12 months and it is a decision that has not come easy.

“However, with the interest now shown by younger townspeople in putting themselves forward as town council representatives, I feel it is the right time to step back.

“It has been an honour to represent the people of Axminster, and I hope that somewhere along the way I have achieved something and made a difference for the better.

“With town council meetings now lasting in excess of three hours, I have not found it easy to maintain a consistent attendance.”

He also told Pulman’s Weekly News: “With younger members now coming on board, I would hope to see the town council moving forward in a new direction.

“Perhaps with some restructuring of responsibilities and procedures to make the organisation more efficient for an ever growing town.”

The recent double co-option of David Moore and Aimee Seward, both in their 30s, to replace councillors John Jeffery and Ian Hall was described as “a breath of fresh air” by mayor Jeremy Walden.

Mr Symes’ resignation was on the agenda for Monday evening’s meeting of full council.

The vacancy will be advertised and unless at least ten electors request a by-election, it is believed the town council will seek to appoint a replacement through co-option.

Mr Symes was town mayor from 2001-03, and he is well-known for his involvement with local organisations, including the Axminster branch of the Royal British Legion, Axminster Care Service and Axminster Carnival.

He is also a member of Devon Healthwatch and is a former governor of Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

Mr Symes made it clear he will continue to be actively involved with the local community and its organisations, saying: “I intend to continue with my many committee appointments, both within Axm- inster as well as those further afield, and continue to support the town in any way I can – as I have always done.”


Chief Reporter | Started his working life on a farm before becoming a screen printer, both in Sweden. Had another career change and turned to journalism in the mid1990s. Enjoyed an internship with Alexandria Gazette Packet, Va, USA, before moving to the UK. Got a job with The Clarion in Yeovil in 1998, but moved to Axminster in 2006 and has worked on the East Devon beat since.