A former teacher is looking to tackle climate change after becoming chair of the council.

Councillor Alex Sinton was handed the chain from outgoing chairman Robert Raphael at Wychavon’s Annual Council Meeting on Wednesday, May 18.

Urmston-born councillor Sinton worked as a primary school teacher in Manchester for many years before joining RGS Worcester in 1989, where he remained until retirement in 2011.

The councillor for Droitwich Spa East said: “It is a great honour to be made chairman of Wychavon and I look forward to getting out and meeting more of our great communities and raising the profile of the council and the important work it performs.

“The success of Wychavon’s Intelligently Green Plan is so important for all our futures and one of the things I hope to do in my year is to promote this to schools and support the activities of their eco-councils.”

Reflecting on his time in charge, councillor Raphael said that highlights included the openings of the pump track in Charity Brook Park in Evesham, the community hub at Droitwich Spa High School, Pershore Wellbeing Centre, and the 4G sports pitch at Evesham United.

“Of course, Covid-19 has been a significant part of my time as chairman,” he said.

“The early part of the pandemic was new for all of us and chairing meetings with over fifty participants from a screen in my living room was daunting.

“I really would like to thank my colleagues, fellow councillors and officers, all of whom have been incredibly kind and understanding.

“I've enjoyed every second, it's made me a better councillor and opened my eyes to the many wonderful things that go on across our district and further afield.”

There was mass changes across the council, with Emma Kearsey elected vice chairman for the year.

A shake-up of the top team saw councillor Richard Morris step down from his roles as deputy leader and executive board member for economic growth and tourism.

He will now take up a post in the decision-making cabinet at Worcestershire County Council.

Councillor Mark Ward, who represents Drakes Broughton, will take up his cabinet role, with councillor Chris Day taking on deputy leadership.

Councillor Morris will also become chairman of Wychavon’s Towns Panel, which will see him continue to be involved with the council’s economic and regeneration work.

He said: “I believe we have achieved good things for Wychavon and I have great memories and many people to thank past and present.

“It is time to take on new challenges but, and I know it sounds cheesy, my heart will be with Wychavon.

“I congratulate Chris and Mark and I wish the new board and our tremendous leader all the best for the future.”

Leader of the council, Bradley Thomas, added: “I would like to thank Richard for his dedication and commitment to the council and his portfolio.

“His experience and passion were essential as we helped guide businesses through one of the biggest economic shocks in our history as a result of the pandemic.

“We wish him well in his new role but I know he will continue to be a champion for not only Droitwich Spa, but also our local economy and particularly our town centres.”