Following the death of the Mayor of Chelmsford, Cllr John Galley, in October 2022, the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Sue Dobson, has been elected as the new Mayor of Chelmsford.
The appointment was unanimously agreed by members of all parties at an Extraordinary Council meeting on Wednesday 9 November 2022. The Mayor’s husband, Keith Dobson, will support her term of office, which runs until May 2023.
The Mayor has appointed Cllr Bob Massey as her Deputy Mayor. Cllr Massey previously served as Mayor of Chelmsford for 2019–20. The Deputy Mayor’s wife, Ali Massey, will serve as his Consort for 2022–23.
Tributes to the former Mayor
At the Extraordinary Council meeting, tributes to Cllr Galley were shared before the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor were appointed. Cllr Janette Potter of the Conservative Group began the tributes, saying “John Galley was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a councillor, but to a lot of us here tonight, he was our friend, for which he will be sadly missed.”
Cllr Dobson recalled her fond memories of working with Cllr Galley: “John and I had the privilege of working together as Mayor and Deputy since May and I have some wonderful memories of the engagements we carried out together, normally accompanied by lots of laughter”.
The Leader of Chelmsford City Council, Cllr Stephen Robinson, noted that Cllr Galley “always had the best interests of Chelmsford at heart” and said “we’ll miss John’s humour, the twinkle in his eye, his wisdom and his contributions.”
Cllr Galley’s funeral service
Cllr John Galley’s funeral service took place on Tuesday, 8 November 2022.
The funeral procession passed the Civic Centre on Tuesday morning, where a number of Chelmsford City Council staff and councillors stood outside to pay their respects to the late Mayor. The procession continued on to Chelmsford Cathedral for a Service of Celebration.
For those who could not attend the service, a recording is available on Chelmsford Cathedral’s YouTube page. The recording will be accessible for a few weeks.
In lieu of giving flowers, Cllr Galley’s family asked people to consider donating to his charitable causes, Farleigh Hospice and Parkinson’s UK Chelmsford instead: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/mayorofchelmsford.
Continuing Cllr Galley’s fundraising and theme for the year
The new Mayor has chosen to retain “Hope” as the theme for her year in office. She will continue fundraising for Cllr Galley’s chosen charities, Farleigh Hospice and Parkinson’s UK Chelmsford. The Mayor chairs Full Council meetings in a ceremonial role, and represents the council by supporting local events and charities.
About the Mayor of Chemlsford
Cllr Dobson was born in Hornchurch and spent her early life there. She moved to Billericay after her marriage to her husband, Keith, and subsequently to Sandon, where she has lived for around 30 years.
Following a career as an export buyer in the paint industry and having two children, she took on various roles within the community. She was the parish clerk at Sandon for 14 years, the clerk to the governing body at William de Ferrers School, and a parent governor and PTA member for several years at St Johns Primary School, Danbury.
A keen horse rider all her life, she has worked with both the British Horse Society and Essex Bridleways Association campaigning for better off-road access for all vulnerable user groups, especially equestrians, throughout Essex.
She is currently the chair of the steering group for the Danbury Neighbourhood Plan. She is also the chair of the Sandon Quarry liaison group who liaise with local residents and the quarry operators, Brett Aggregates.
Cllr Dobson was elected to Chelmsford City Council for the first time in May 2019 and has become fully involved in matters in her ward, Bicknacre and East and West Hanningfield. She currently sits on the City Council’s Planning Committee. She was appointed Deputy Mayor in May and took a full and active role in supporting the Mayor, Cllr John Galley, until his sad passing in October.
In her spare time, Cllr Dobson looks after her three Newfoundland dogs who all take part in water rescue training, attending displays and open events. Music is also an important part of Sue’s life, having spent many years performing in various choirs both locally and at London venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and St Johns Smith Square.
She will be supported by her husband, Keith, as her consort, who is himself an active parks and Hylands Estate volunteer.
I am incredibly honoured to have been elected as Mayor of this wonderful city. Following the sad death of my colleague and friend, Cllr John Galley, I am pleased to be able to continue fundraising for Cllr Galley’s selected charities, Farleigh Hospice and Parkinson’s UK Chelmsford, both of which I know were very close to his heart.Cllr Sue Dobson, Mayor of Chelmsford
About the Deputy Mayor
Cllr Massey was born in Billericay and attended school in Romford. After living in Sheffield for ten years, he returned to Essex, settling in South Woodham Ferrers in 1986.
Since 1988, he has served the South Woodham Ferrers Town Council and was proud to be first elected as a Chelmsford Borough councillor for the South Woodham Ferrers Chetwood and Collingwood ward in 2011.
Cllr Massey was re-elected as a City Councillor in 2015 and then appointed as Cabinet Member for parks.
He was elected to represent the residents of South Woodham Ferrers at Essex County Council in 2017 which, he said, enabled him to provide a “one stop” service to residents.
In 2019, Cllr Massey and his friend Janice Cheese served a term as Mayor and Mayoress of Chelmsford for 2019–20. During his term in office, £10,000 was raised for his chosen charity, Parkinson’s UK Chelmsford.
Outside his various council activities, Cllr Massey had a varied career in Information Technology and Information Security.
Offline, he’s a keen supporter of the South Woodham Ferrers Park Run and can be found most Saturday mornings standing on the sea wall at what has now been named “Bob’s Hill”.
I feel deeply humbled and honoured to be serving as Deputy Mayor of Chelmsford for 2022–23 under such difficult and sad circumstances.Cllr Bob Massey, Deputy Mayor of Chelmsford