North Norfolk town gets its first-ever mayor
- Credit: Lolly Dawson
It has marina, a buzzing High Street and even a Tesco Superstore, but one thing Stalham has never had is a mayor.
But all that changed at the town's annual meeting, when Kevin Bayes was elected Stalham's first-ever mayor in its +1,000-year history.
Mr Bayes, 61, previous led the town council as its chairman, until the authority decided to retitle the role as a means of boosting Stalham's image.
"The council is trying to be proactive in the community and raise the profile of Stalham - so for the first time in our history, we have a mayor," he said.
"This is, for us, a mark of saying how progressive and serious we are about the town.
"I'm extremely proud, although I'm not the sort of person who shouts about it."
Maggie Green, who was vice chairman, had her title changed to deputy mayor at the same meeting.
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Mr Bayes said the council had commissioned a mayoral chain, to cost £600, which would be passed from mayor to mayor and be considered an "investment for the future".
Mr Bayes, who has lived in Stalham since the age of three, worked in education in Great Yarmouth for 35 years, becoming assistant principal.
He said the council was doing its best to turn the tide on what some saw as decades of Stalham sitting out of the spotlight compared with other north Norfolk market towns.
Mr Bayes said: "We have been overlooked for funding and development in the past, and by that I mean employment and the opportunity to see growth in Stalham.
"The council are now trying to produce a strategic planning vision for the town, mapping out where we, businesses and resident feel it wants and needs in the future.
"We're also doing a neighbourhood plan and we're developing a Stalham chamber of commerce."
People have been living in the Stalham area for thousands of years and the town had been well established by the time of the Norman Conquest.
Stalham's population, land ownership and productive resources were detailed in the Domesday Book of 1086.
And the town has just hosted its first outdoor street market in around 18 years.
Taking place in the High Street on Sunday, July 24, the event drew more than 40 stalls and hundreds of visitors.