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Dereham mayor given civic welcome at church following historic re-election

PUBLISHED: 12:08 31 October 2018

The mayor of Dereham Hilary Bushell has been welcomed into the post for a historic second consecutive time at the Catholic Sacred Heart and St Margaret Mary Church on Sunday October 21. Picture: Jenny Bailey.

The mayor of Dereham Hilary Bushell has been welcomed into the post for a historic second consecutive time at the Catholic Sacred Heart and St Margaret Mary Church on Sunday October 21. Picture: Jenny Bailey.

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The mayor of Dereham Hilary Bushell has been welcomed into the post for a historic second consecutive time at a civic service held at her home church in Dereham.

The civic service, attended by mayors and civic dignitaries from across Norfolk, was led by parish priest Fr Brendan Moffatt at the Catholic Sacred Heart and St Margaret Mary Church on Sunday October 21.

It is the second year running in which Hilary, 73, has been elected as mayor which is a first for Dereham and it is only the third time the civic service has been held in a Catholic church.

Ms Bushell said: “I only became a councillor at the age of 69 and have learnt so much and enjoyed every aspect of my work. It is a voluntary post and important as I am able to give something back to the town that became my home 44 years ago.

“I never dreamt that I would ever become mayor once let alone be re-elected for an immediate second term. I am still full of energy and enjoying meeting so many people.

“My faith is very important to me and enables me to continue to be able to meet and help so many people in all different ways. It has been a great chance to work with the churches together.”

Ms Bushell was re-elected in May, making her the first person to serve two years in office since the council transformed from an urban district council to a town council.

She added: “Since retiring I worked firstly as a volunteer, and later as a full-time member of staff at the RC National Shrine at Walsingham for a period of four years, where I was also a reader and a Minister of the Holy Eucharist.

“I have received so many positive comments about the church. Even non-church goers say that the ambience is warm and encompassing.

“In fact, one of the mayors from last year said that he wanted to come back to our church because he loved it so much.”

Fr Moffatt who led the service said: “It was a great joy and privilege for me to lead the civic service for Hilary and the town council on two consecutive occasions.”

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