Former paratrooper elected new chairman of Warwickshire County Council after sudden death of the chairman elect

Cllr Horner, who was the chair elect, died on Tuesday, May 10 aged 70 after a short illness

Former paratrooper Cllr David Humphreys (Con, Coleshill South and Arley) has been elected the new chairman of Warwickshire County Council. Photo by Warwickshire County Council
Former paratrooper Cllr David Humphreys (Con, Coleshill South and Arley) has been elected the new chairman of Warwickshire County Council. Photo by Warwickshire County Council

Former paratrooper Cllr David Humphreys (Con, Coleshill South and Arley) has been elected the new chairman of Warwickshire County Council.

And his vice-chairman will be Cllr Chris Kettle (Con, Feldon) who will follow in the footsteps of his father who chaired the authority in the 1970s.

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The sudden death of chairman elect, Cllr John Horner (Con, Arden), means the new chairman takes charge at a difficult time - and he admits he will need to learn on the job.

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Speaking following his election at the annual meeting of the council on Tuesday (May 17), Cllr Humphries said: “I am really pleased but very sad the way it has happened.

"I was hoping to follow in John’s footsteps so this will be a learning curve for me.

“I will represent the whole of Warwickshire but I will, at times, be parochial and talk about North Warwickshire.”

In proposing Cllr Humphries, fellow North Warwickshire member Cllr Margaret Bell (Con, Hartshill and Mancetter) said: “I have known David since 2015 when I was elected to North Warwickshire Borough Council and he was leader.

"He is a dedicated councillor who is passionate about representing and promoting his communities.

“When I was a new councillor, David was one of the role models from whom I learned the ropes. He was very supportive and offered advice and entertained councillors with tales from his Paratrooper days.

“I know David was looking forward to being deputy chairman but following Cllr John Horner’s tragic death, he has agreed to take on the role of chairman - straight in at the deep end.

"However, for a man who has spent years voluntarily jumping out of perfectly serviceable aircraft, I’m sure he will take it in his stride.”

In his speech, outgoing chairman Cllr Pete Gilbert (Bedworth West) also had a message to his replacement. He said: “You have come in at a difficult moment but you have handled this with great tact and dignity and I thank you for that and wish you all the best in your year.”