Councillor Ross Turner has been elected as the new Mayor of Goole. The former Deputy Mayor was elected into the position during the town council’s AGM on Thursday, May 5, taking over from departing Mayor, Cllr Chris Bailey. Cllr David Jeffreys will also be following in the new Mayor’s footsteps after being elected as the council’s new Deputy Mayor during the meeting. Goole Time’s senior reporter, Emily Collins sat down with the new Mayoral team to find out more about the two councillors and what goals they have for the coming year.
Meet the team
You may have seen their pictures in the paper or heard their names floating around town, but who are Ross Turner and David Jeffreys, what have they done for our town so far, and what are their plans for the future? Councillor Ross Turner was elected to Goole Town Council in May 2019 after standing as an independent councillor. The 44-year-old decided to run for election after noticing a number of issues within the town which he felt were unfair, and wanting to make a change for residents. During his time on the council he has been involved in a number of projects, including helping to run the popular car boot sale at West Park, visiting schools, speaking to the town’s youngest residents and sitting on a number of committees including the CCTV steering group and, for a brief period, the Town Deal Board. Before joining the council Ross served as a member of the Royal Signals for 20 years, before medically retiring in 2015. He moved to Goole in 2004 after returning from deployment to Iraq, and he decided to make the town his home after meeting his now wife, Joanne at The Jailhouse pub.
Outside of his role in the council, Ross is passionate about sport and he is a volunteer coach at Goole Town Tigers. He is also an expedition leader with Veteran charity, VetRun180, which offers adventure therapy to Veterans suffering with mental and physical illnesses. Councillor David Jeffreys joined Goole Town Council in 2016 and he was also later elected as an East Riding of Yorkshire ward councillor for Goole South in 2019. After having a lifelong interest in politics, the 72-year-old says he was motivated to run for election after becoming “despondent” with the former council and wanting to make the town a better place. Since being elected he has been involved with a range of projects across the town, including helping to develop outdoor spaces at various parks, sitting on the VPG’s CIC committee and organising the Old Goole Remembrance Parade. Before joining the council, Cllr Jeffreys had travelled the world and worked across an array of fields. Originally from Selby, he began working life training as an apprentice in a bike shop, before joining the Royal Signals, where he worked his way up to becoming a Sergeant. After a 10-year stint in the Armed Forces, David worked in British Telecoms for 17 years, before moving to the Orkney Islands with his wife Barbara, where he had a range of jobs including operating a creel boat, renovating homes and repairing bikes. David and Barbara eventually moved to Harrogate and later Goole to be closer to family, and since settling in the town they have both been very involved with local politics and community projects.
The year ahead
One of Cllr Turner’s key goals during his term as Mayor is to develop sports facilities in the town. The councillor says he is very passionate about getting people into sports thanks to the huge range of benefits that physical activity brings. He said: “Putting aside the obvious benefits of physical fitness, sport is fantastic for team-building, mental health and wellbeing. It also helps people and especially children develop communication skills, understanding and it has a plethora of other benefits.” Over the next year, Cllr Turner is aiming to help develop the town’s sporting facilities, saying he knows there is not enough on offer at present. He said: “The sporting facilities are not what I would like to see for a town of our size. There is no 3G pitch, not enough grass pitches and there is no hockey pitch, so I really want to push for better facilities. “It might not be achievable to get all of those things straight away but I think we should be aiming as high as possible.” Cllr David Jeffreys echoed these goals, saying he is also passionate about improving sports across the town, especially at the Victoria Pleasure Ground.
He said: “The VPG is very close to my heart and I want to work to make it a state of the art venue. Thanks to funding from the Town Deal and match funding, we are hoping to be able to install a 3G pitch which will benefit all the groups that use the facility and will also allow opportunities for disabled access sports. I am also keen to continue developing the provision of outdoor spaces in the town. It’s all about creating spaces that promote mental and physical wellbeing.” Such is his passion for sport, new Mayor, Cllr Turner has chosen to support Goole Town Tigers as his Mayor’s charity of choice this year. He explained: “As many people will know I am one of the coaches at Goole Town Tigers, so I want to make it clear that neither myself, nor any of the team at Tigers make any money from the club. Everyone involved with the club are volunteers and the club is run through fundraising. “I chose the Tigers as my charity for this year because I have seen first hand how much of a positive impact the club has on our players. The club is the biggest sports club for kids in Goole and has nearly 400 children, both boys and girls, who train with us each week.” Alongside Cllr Turner’s passion for sport, he is also dedicated to helping improve mental health services, especially for armed forces Veterans.
As a Veteran himself, Ross says he knows how prevalent mental health issues are and he wants to ensure support is available to people who are struggling He said: “Mental health is another area I am really passionate about. As a Veteran myself, I can relate to struggles Veterans go through, however I know mental health doesn’t just stop there and I have seen known people who have taken their own life because they couldn’t see a way forward.” Another one of Cllr Turner’s main goals for his term as Mayor is to improve relationships between Goole Town Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council, a goal which is also at the top of the agenda for the new Deputy Mayor too. Cllr Turner said: “I want to work to forge a better working relationship with ERYC. The relationship between the two councils has been really bad in the past. I can’t influence the past, however I, along with our East Riding ward councillors, can influence how we move forward and the only way to positively move forward is by working together.” He added: “After briefly sitting on the Goole Town Deal Board I have full faith in the board and I am keen to support them going forward to ensure the £25million is spent in the best way possible for our town.” This was echoed by Cllr Jeffreys, who already works closely with the county council in his role as a ward councillor. He said: “I have been working over the last three years to build bridges with the officers at East Riding of Yorkshire Council to help push projects for Goole forward and I want to continue doing that.” The new Mayor also revealed he is keen to continue the good work started by departing Mayor, Cllr Chris Bailey, who was passionate about working with schools and supporting the town’s youngest residents. Ross added: “As Deputy Mayor, I visited many of the schools alongside Chris and I would be happy to continue doing that as Mayor. I will also be running the Good Citizen Awards again next year, which was started by Chris, as I think it is a fantastic idea.” With so much investment coming to the town, the new Mayoral team both believe it is a very exciting time for our area, with both councillors saying they are delighted to be involved with putting Goole on the map. Cllr Jeffreys said: “I am committed to my work as a councillor and I really enjoy helping people. It is a really exciting time for Goole and I want to help promote the town for residents and make people proud to live here.” Cllr Turner added: “My main goal is to fly the flag for Goole and bring positive changes for the town. “I really want to encourage people to get in touch with us if there are things they want to see happen. People are often quick to jump on social media and to complain about things, so instead, if residents want to see something change, I want to invite them to get in touch with us, come have a coffee and a chat and see what we can do. “None of the town councillors get paid for our role, we all do it because we have the best interests of Goole at heart, and we all need to work together to do the best for our town.”
The town’s new Deputy Mayor, Cllr David Jeffreys, with departing Mayor, Cllr Chris Bailey and new Mayor, Cllr Ross Turner. (12-05-112 GT/EC)