A NEW chairman has been appointed by Rayleigh Town Council after Ian Ward stood down afterhis year in office at Tuesday’s full council meeting.

Eddie Dray, last year’s vice chairman, was unanimously voted in to the role following nomination from town and district councillor Dave Sperring.

Councillor Julie Sawford was elected as vice-chairman, meaning she is likely to step up to chairman in 2015-16.

Mr Dray was welcomed as chairman by the council and addressed the members before proceeding to chair his first meeting. He said: “I would like to thank you all for electing me, and for Ian for doing a great job.

“I intend to continue the work of all past chairmen, and to recognise the importance of keeping the town council independent from all other authorities.

“As chairman I intend to be available to all members and I will do my best to listen to you all and listen to the issues that you have raised.”

Outgoing chairman Ian Ward said: “It has been an enormous privilege for me to serve this council. It is one of the most enormous honours you can have.”