Thetford councillor becomes new Breckland Labour group leader

Thetford councillor Terry Jermy has taken up the reins of the Breckland Labour party following the resignation of its current leader.

Robin Goreham stood down after more than eight years in the role, following a promotion at work.

Mr Jermy, 26, will also take over his positions on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Development Control Panel.

Tributes were paid to Mr Goreham by fellow councillors from both parties at a meeting of Breckland Council last week, at which the announcement was made.

Mr Jermy was elected as a Thetford town councillor following a by-election in 2008, and became a Breckland councillor in May this year. He said although he was “nervous”, he

hoped becoming leader would attract more young people to the party.

“A some point I may have seen myself as leader but it’s sooner than anticipated,” he said. “I think my main strength is engagement, I’m very open, and new media as well because I really want to get the Labour message out there.

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“I’m 26 but I’ve been in this game for a while now. I’ve got a good grasp of the issues and it helps to be young because you have a different perspective on things.”

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Goreham, who has been promoted in his work within hospital administration at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said he would remain as ward councillor for Dereham central until the next election at which time he would retire from politics completely. “One must take up new opportunities and challenges,” he said. “Eight-and-a-half years is a long time for anybody to lead a group and sometimes you have to let other people have a go. “Terry is enthusiastic and an extremely well-read young man and I would like to see him take the next three-and-a-half years [until the next election] and grow into the role.

“I’ve been a councillor for 20 years which is long enough, no matter how good you think you are”

Praise was heaped on Mr Goreham at the meeting from various colleagues around the room.

Fellow Thetford saxon ward councillor, Sylvia Armes, said: “I would like to thank Mr Goreham for his dedication in leading the three musketeers through the political process at Breckland. “I’m sure we would all like to wish him well in his new role. It is a full-time position with mentally demanding training and exams and I congratulate him.”

Chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee, Phil Cowen, said he had “learnt a lot” from Mr Goreham and added: “I’ve always found him to be a very fair and balanced individual and has the heart of someone who wants to put the residents in his ward at the forefront of his mind.”

Chairman of Breckland Council, William Nunn, expressed his personal thanks and added: “It’s a close personal relationship and it’s good to be able to pick up the phone and have an off-the-record conversation with the opposition.”