Philip strikes a high note as the new chairman of Sevenoaks

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A former Coleraine schoolboy, Limerick teller and musician has made a mark on a Kentish district by being elected as Chairman for the forthcoming year.

Ex-Coleraine Inst pupil, councillor Philip McGarvey has been elected as Chairman for Sevenoaks District Council and will act as

the District’s principal ambassador representing its 117,000 residents, as well as the Council, at local and regional events.

He also chairs full council meetings of Sevenoaks District Council.

As Chairman Philip takes precedence over all others in the District except for royalty and her Majesty’s deputy, the Lord Lieutenant of Kent.

The colourful councillor grew up in Coleraine and has many fond memories of the borough.

Cllr McGarvey told The Coleraine Times this week: “Coleraine was a great place in which to grow up then – I went to school at CAI, and rowed, so I miss the River Bann.

“I now live in a village in Kent called Farningham, which also has a river, the River Darent, but it’s only deep enough for a plastic duck!”

The guitar playing enthusiast and part-time poet moved to Kent in 1974 and has been a councillor for Sevenoaks District Council since 2003.

Before joining the council, Cllr McGarvey forged a career in international banking, allowing him to travel the world, but he is now firmly rooted in Kent.

His guitar-playing started at St. Patrick’s Church in Coleraine, as the curate wanted to form a worship band. That was 49 years ago.

“I am now starting my fourth term in office on the council and have been propelled to the role of Chairman which is something I would never have imagined all those years ago growing up as a young boy in Coleraine, I am extremely proud to be taking on this position,” he says.

This year Cllr McGarvey will be supporting the Domestic Abuse Volunteer Service in Sevenoaks (DAVSS):“The work they do is vital, they are unsung heroes and I hope my time in office will help get them a little bit more of the recognition they deserve.”

When Cllr McGarvey isn’t representing the District at community events, attending Council meetings, helping residents, or volunteering, he can be found playing guitar in church or composing a new limerick, adding to the 3,000 he has already written.

“I am an active Christian and play guitar in church - and sometimes even in tune,” he quips.

“I also work part time as a Parish Administrator for a church elsewhere and am Deanery Synod’s representative for our local church.”

As a regular helper at Lullingstone Castle, Cllr McGarvey hopes to promote local businesses, especially tourist attractions. Married for over 40 years with two grown up children, he adds: “If you see me carrying around a little light blue notebook, it’s where I write the limericks . I write limericks to order and was asked to create a few to mark my year as Chairman. The intention is to keep them light and entertaining.”