After almost 19 years at a Coleraine councillor Maurice Bradley is stepping aside from Council duties.
The well-known Windyhall man says its time for him to ‘enjoy a rest’ and get his ‘batteries recharged’.
Looking back on his time in Council, Maurice highlighted some of the important friendships and events that he was proud to be part of.
Maurice admitted that there were many reasons why he stood down from Council: “I had intended to stay on until 2015.
“However, a directive from DUP Party officers had suggested that any councillor not intending to stand for election in 2014, should step down before the end of December to allow those new councillors co-opted onto councils to find their feet before the election in May.
“This is something that I would be in favour of anyway, and just brought my resignation forward by five months.”
Work commitments and constituency work, plus Maurice’s involvement with football made things difficult to sustain: “That commitment on my time has also come at a personal cost. It is difficult, if not impossible, to commit to any kind of social life at all.”
Describing his time as a councillor as ‘enjoyable’, the Chelsea fanatic added: “It has been an enjoyable 18, almost 19 years being a councillor. I have met many friends at both officer and councillor level, not forgetting the important friendships forged with members of staff at Cloonavin and right through the organisation, especialy those at the Depot and Parks Departments.
“I hope to maintain these friendships in the days that lie ahead.
“There are many people that I hold dear- former councillors like the late Liz Johnston Jim Watt, Bill Matthews and Eamon O’Hara; Toye Black, Gerry McLaughlin and Gerard O’Kane and of course current elected representatives in the DUP; from others, David Barbour, William McCandless, Maura Hickey and former Officers like George Montgomery, Jim Curry and Clive Miller.
“All excellent people to work with.
“There have been many events over those years too numerous to mention. Perhaps none more important than the success of our Olympians and the journey of the Olympic Touch through this Borough.
“However, there have also been some tragic memories. The death of world renowned racing champion Robert Dunlop and Council employee and friend Alan Devenney.”
Maurice went on: “However, some of the most important pieces of work as a councillor involve the improvement of facilities in the Borough.
Thanks to the co-operation, foresight and driving force of former Director of Leisure Jim Curry, a rolling programme of football ground improvements has been successful and not only ground improvemets, but proper grounds maintenance were all set in place through Jim.
“In that time, there have been marked improvements put in place at Windyhall, the Crescent, Rugby Avenue, Windyhall, The Rope Walk, Parker Avenue, Kilrea, Garvagh and Castlerock.
“I hope that strategy and maintenance is carried forward by the new council to be elected in 2014.
“And of course, the major scheme at Rugby Avenue including Stadium and Leisure Centre -that is something I would like to see happen very quickly for the promotion of all sports in the area.”
Maurice concluded: “I would like to say a massive thank-you to the electorate who put their trust in me and elected me onto Coleraine Borough Council in the first place.
“Right from the by-election of 1995, where a 20 percent share of the vote held by the DUP in Coleraine East meant they were merely making up the numbers in a race for an Ulster Unionist seat. Thanks to the electorate that was not the case, and I was fortunate enough to be elected and continued to hold my vote since. It has been a very humbling experience and I express a genuine thank-you to one and all for that support down through the years.”
Looking to the future Maurice will still be involved in politics, he’s also thinking about throwing his hat in the ring for the 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly elections: “Should the opportunity arise to forward my name for selection to stand for the Northern Ireland Assembly come 2016, then I would seriously consider it.”
Trevor Clarke will replace Maurice as a DUP councillor in the Coleraine East electoral ward.