Dartford Mayor steps down for a third and final time
PUBLISHED: 09:53 26 May 2011
»Re-elected for what he believes will be the final four years of a 35-year career as a councillor, three-times Mayor of Dartford Pat Coleman has stepped down from office.
Cllr Coleman, who has represented Sutton-at-Hone uninterrupted since 1976, has enjoyed an unprecedented three periods as the Queen’s official representative in the borough in 1987-88, 2003-4 and this year, attending thousands of functions and even losing a finger in the line of duty.
At a full council meeting yesterday the 75-year-old surrendered the post to Cllr Eddy Lampkin, but will see out a final four years as councillor before retiring from public life.
He said: “I always said I would go before I got to my 80s so I guess I have one more go at it. It is a great honour to be chosen to be mayor, but it is a huge responsibility in terms of time. I have had engagements almost every day and I have warned Eddy it is a full-time job.”
His dedication even saw the former banker crippled.
Visiting Dartford twin town Gravelines, in France, in September last year, his right hand was crushed in a boating accident. Despite the attention of doctors at Dunkirk Hospital, his little finger had to be amputated.
He recalled: “I was returning from a ceremony laying a wreath to the French fishermen who lost their lives in the Channel. My hand was on the rail and was crushed against the wharf.
“My wife is terrified of sailing so stayed behind. She had seen me wave safely then suddenly people were all crowded around. I think she thought I had had a heart attack so she was very relieved to hear it was just my hand.”
Eddy Lampkin was expected to be elected as the new mayor at the full council meeting last night. His mother, Brenda Lampkin, is expected to be named as his escort for the year.