The Council’s new Chairman, comes into the position well equipped with 22 years of military experience behind him, as well as his own army of grandchildren and great-grandchildren for support.
Cllr Larry Abraham, who represents Hartley and Hodsoll Street, takes over the reins from outgoing Chairman, Cllr Simon Raikes, after being elected at the Annual Council meeting on 9 May.
Larry was born and bred in Liverpool and forged a long career in the army serving everywhere from Aldershot to Berlin before eventually settling in Hartley in 1987 to run a convenience store and retiring in 1999.
Larry says: “All I wanted to do from a young age was join the army because many of my family members had in the past, so at the age of 18, I did my basic training and joined the parachute brigade and spent half my life jumping out of airplanes!”
Now a father to two daughters and with 15 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Larry’s feet are firmly on the ground and after retiring he became a Hartley Parish Councillor in 2003 and then a District Councillor in 2007.
“Hartley had given me such a good living I just wanted to give something back to the community and I’ve been proud to be someone people are able to depend on for support, but my greatest achievement is being appointed the Armed Forces Champion for the council which has been a huge honour.
After losing his wife of 45 years, Shirley, to cancer in 2006, Larry is keen to promote the work of two charities close to his heart as well as continuing the work of Cllr Raikes.
“I would like to support the marvellous work Ellenor does in helping families who are facing terminal illness and with my background, I would also like to raise awareness of the armed forces and in particular the work SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, does by supporting veterans and their families.
“I’m relishing the opportunity to become Chairman and looking forward to the year ahead and continuing the work Cllr Raikes has done and putting the District out there with everything it has to offer.”
Cllr Patricia Bosley, representing Fawkham and West Kingsdown was also made Vice-Chairman.
The Chairman welcomes invitations to attend community events.
Residents can also follow the work of the Chairman over the next year by following his Twitter account @SDC_Chairman.