A STALWART Labour councillor and former Mayor of Redditch has stood down from the council.
Coun Jenny Wheeler, who has represented Greenlands Ward since 2015, has reluctantly decided to stand down a year early for health reasons.
It means residents of Greenlands, Woodrow and Wirehill will have two votes in this year’s borough council elections on Thursday, May 5.
For the last seven years, Coun Wheeler has chaired the borough council’s Budget Scrutiny Working Group, the Performance Scrutiny Group, and, more recently, the Audit Governance and Standards Committee.
She is currently vice-chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which involves working with other parties to scrutinise the work of the council and make recommendations to the Executive Committee.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the residents of Greenlands, Woodrow and Wirehill over the past seven years,” she said.
“Especially when I became Deputy Mayor in 2016 and then Mayor in 2017, representing the town across Worcestershire and chairing full council meetings.
“I have particularly enjoyed getting to know residents, understanding their difficulties and being able to help solve some of their problems.
“Sadly, my health has worsened and I have had to accept that I can’t continue as a councillor.
“I would like to thank all the officers and colleagues I have worked with, and I wish Redditch Borough Council a successful future in these challenging times.”
Redditch Labour has selected its BAME officer, Juma Begum, to be the party’s second prospective candidate for the ward.
Juma works in the third sector, specialising in advising people on low incomes on how to manage heating costs and what to do if they get into debt.
She will be standing alongside Joanna Kane, who has campaigned on a number of local issues, including the future of Redditch town centre library.
Juma said: “I’m very proud to have been selected as one of the Labour Party’s prospective candidates for Greenlands Ward.
“Too many decisions are being made by the Conservative-controlled council without involving people who will be affected.
“So it is vital that we take the time to listen to residents and make sure their voices are heard.”
Coun Andy Fry, leader of the Labour group on Redditch Borough Council, said: “The Labour group are very sorry that Jenny has had to resign due to ill health.
“We will miss her immense contribution to the group and the council.”
Residents are invited to come and chat to Juma and Joanna at a street stall they are holding on Saturday, March 19 in Woodrow Centre from 10am to 11am.