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We appoint new Civic and Vice Civic Chairmen for year ahead

Published: 23 May 2024

A retired NHS healthcare manager, consultant and businessman with 17 years’ experience as a local councillor has been appointed as our new Civic Chairman.

Outgoing Civic Chairman Councillor David Taylor (left) with newly appointed Civic Chairman Councillor Tony Kemp
Outgoing Civic Chairman Councillor David Taylor (left) with newly appointed Civic Chairman Councillor Tony Kemp.

Councillor Tony Kemp, who is the county councillor for the Buxton West Division, accepted his new position at our AGM on Wednesday 22 May 2024, taking over the role from Councillor David Taylor.

Councillor Kemp, who has spent the last 12 months as Vice Civic Chairman, was presented with his chain of office at the meeting by Councillor Taylor as his last official duty in the role.

Councillor Kemp will be supported in his new role by Councillor Kewal Singh Athwal who will be the new Vice Civic Chairman, and the first member of the Sikh community to be appointed to the position at the county council.

The roles of Civic Chairman and Vice Civic Chairman are to act as ambassadors for Derbyshire and to be a link between us and local community bodies, charities and groups. 

Councillor Kemp’s first political position came when he was elected in May 2007 to High Peak Borough Council where he was appointed to the Executive with the portfolio of Regeneration. While in opposition between 2011 and 2015 he became the Mayor of High Peak in 2013-14, and then resumed his Regeneration portfolio in 2015, assuming the role of Deputy Group Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council.

He was first elected to Derbyshire County Council in 2013, gaining experience of and an interest in scrutiny, first chairing the Improvement and Scrutiny Committee – Resources, and later the Improvement and Scrutiny Committee – People, which he still sits on as a member, although it is chaired now by Councillor Kewal Singh Athwal.

Councillor Kemp’s background was as a health care manager, starting work in the NHS in 1967 in Surrey, where he was born.

In 1983 he took up a senior post in Stockport Health Authority, leaving the NHS towards the end of 1989 to run his own nursing home business alongside consultancy work in healthcare management and as an associate director for a group of care homes.

Councillor Kemp moved with his wife to Buxton in 1993 where they have lived ever since, and he has been involved with many local organisations, including a time as co-Chair of Vision Buxton, President of the local Rotary Club and as the Chair of the local Masonic Lodge.

Councillor Kemp said:

“I am very much looking forward to developing the role of Civic Chairman and hope to make it more relevant to today’s needs and attitudes.

“My aim is to bring the role closer to the community and especially to younger people.”

Newly appointed Vice Civic Chairman Councillor Kewal Singh Athwal was elected to the county council in May 2017 to represent the Sawley Division.

He has previously held the position of Cabinet Member for Highways Assets and Transport and was also Chairman of the Audit Committee 2017 – 2021. He is currently the chairman of the Improvement and Scrutiny Committee – People.

Councillor Singh Athwal has been Chairman of his local Masonic Lodge and is a member of the Long Eaton Rotary Club.

Councillor Singh Athwal said of his appointment to Vice Civic Chairman:

“I am hugely honoured to be given another high profile role within the council, and believe this is the first time a member of the Sikh community has taken this position.

“Being community minded, I have done charity work here in the UK and also in Punjab, India, and I am looking forward to getting out and about across the county and meeting a variety of people along the way as an ambassador for the authority and the county.”

Councillor Singh Athwal, whose working life was spent mainly in the motor trade and textiles, was born in India in the District of Jalandhar in Punjab. He is married, with 2 children and 5 grandchildren.  

He has also been a Councillor at Erewash Borough Council since May 2007, representing the Wilsthorpe Ward, and was also the Mayor of Erewash in 2014-2015. 

He was also the Chairman of the Licensing and Public Protection Committee at Erewash Borough Council for a number of years.

Councillor Trevor Ainsworth will remain as our Chairman and will continue to chair all meetings of Full Council.