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Council pays tribute to the Mayor of Chelmsford

Mayor Galley

It is with very great sadness that we share the news that the Mayor of Chelmsford, Cllr John Galley, has died after a period of illness.

Cllr Galley was a dedicated public servant who worked incredibly hard for the people of Chelmsford. He was regarded with huge fondness in Boreham where he served as a Parish Councillor for more than 30 years and was first elected to represent this area as a Borough Councillor back in 2000.

Cllr Galley knew the whole city extremely well, serving as the Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Deputy Leader for 16 years. He became Mayor of Chelmsford in May, recently leading the city through a period of mourning for Her Majesty The Queen and Chelmsford’s proclamation for the new King.

Cllr Galley specialised in finance, working in this sector in London for 28 years with Nat West and then Coutts, the bankers to the Royal Family. He also served as a Non-Executive Director for Chelmsford Primary Care for seven years. Cllr Roy Whitehead, the Council’s Leader between 2003 and 2019 says Cllr Galley’s contribution to the city cannot be underestimated.

"John’s talent and financial expertise was crucial at a time of great expansion for Chelmsford. As Cabinet Member for Finance, he kept our growing city in good financial health and Chelmsford’s successful bid for city status in 2012 is a legacy of which he was rightly proud. It was his great wish to serve as Mayor of Chelmsford and I’m so pleased that he was able to do this over the last few months.

“As Deputy Leader of the Council and then of the opposition he was an immensely kind and generous colleague with a warmth and sense of humour that endeared him to councillors of all parties. During the many years we worked together he would often make me laugh by saying ‘Do you think that’s wise, sir?’ – a famous line from Dad’s Army’s Sergeant Wilson to Captain Mainwaring. I and so many others will dearly miss his friendship and wise counsel and our thoughts are with his family today."

Cllr Roy Whitehead, Leader of the Opposition, Chelmsford City Council

During Cllr Galley’s time as a Borough and City Councillor his impressive list of responsibilities also included chairing both the Treasury Management and Property subcommittee and the Overview and Scrutiny committee. He also served on the Audit and Risk and Policy Board subcommittees and the Leisure working group. Chelmsford City Council’s Leader, Cllr Stephen Robinson says Cllr Galley was admired by members of every political party.

Cllr Galley was a committed public servant, dedicated to his residents in Boreham and the wider Chelmsford community, which he cared about a great deal. He was an enthusiastic supporter of many community groups and causes.

Although we were in different parties, there was a great deal of respect across the political divide, and he always had the best interests of Chelmsford at heart. Cllr Galley will be sorely missed, and we are all sad at his passing. On behalf of my Group, I send deepest condolences to his wife and family.

Cllr Stephen Robinson, Leader, Chelmsford City Council

Tonight’s Governance Committee meeting will be cancelled out of respect for the late Mayor and tomorrow at 11am a floral tribute will be laid outside the Civic Centre by the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Sue Dobson.

Nick Eveleigh, Chelmsford City Council’s Chief Executive says the whole Council is mourning Cllr Galley’s death.

Cllr Galley was a wonderful man who had time for and was interested in everyone. So many of us will remember his diplomacy, his compassion and his great sense of fun.

“We, along with many others across the city whose lives he touched and whose causes he championed, will feel this loss. His family meant so much to him and our thoughts and deep condolences are with them today.

Nick Eveleigh, CEO, Chelmsford City Council

The Council’s flag will be hoisted and then lowered to half-mast today, and a book of condolence will be available in the reception of the Civic Centre for anyone to leave a personal message. 

If you’d like to lay flowers in memory of Cllr Galley, an area will be put aside by the Civic Centre offices on Duke Street (CM1 1JE), close to the city’s war memorial.

Over the last few months the Mayor has been fundraising for two charities which were very close to his heart – Farleigh Hospice and Parkinson’s UK Chelmsford. If you would like to make a donation in memory of Cllr Galley, you can make a pledge to his charity fund here.

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Julie Weight
Julie Weight

Julie writes stories and creates videos for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at julie.weight@chelmsford.gov.uk or on 01245 606984.