Gedney man is the civic head of the county

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A phone call at 2am isn’t everyone’s idea of the perfect way of being woken up.

It’s not William Webb’s either, but it’s something that has happened to him since he became a public figure.

William Webb, Kipling House, Stonegate, Gedney, 01406 363673 - new county council chairman - and his wife ANL-150909-160250001

William Webb, Kipling House, Stonegate, Gedney, 01406 363673 - new county council chairman - and his wife ANL-150909-160250001

And the chairman of Lincolnshire County Council – a one-year appointment – says it’s not something he would grumble about.

In fact he acknowledges that his home address in Gedney, his telephone number and email address have all become widespread knowledge since he was appointed chairman in May.

He said: “It’s a huge honour not afforded to many people and it was a great privilege that I was proposed and seconded by two members of the council who are not members of the same political party.”

William and his wife Jane have put public service at the heart of their lives, he as a parish councillor in Gedney for 32 years, with two stints as chairman during that time, as well as being a churchwarden in the village for over 20 years.

Jane meanwhile is church treasurer and is passionate about flower arranging in the church – “and she’s very good at it”, adds William.

It is since being elected to the county council in 2001 – an approach from a neighbour about taking over the family farm meant he suddenly had the time – that the couple have had a much higher profile.

William has served on various committees – “I have graduated from dust bins to potholes,” is his little joke – before being elected vice-chairman and then chairman.

He describes that non-political role as “the civic head” of the council, supported at all times by Jane. The couple represent the county council at numerous civic functions, usually three or four a week.

Having time to prepare for the role meant Jane was able to build up a wardrobe in readiness, and confesses she has tried to assemble outfits that co-ordinate, and that she loves hats.

As with many public figures, it was the desire to make a difference that motivated William’s entry into politics.

He says: “I like to think I have been able to put my mark on a few things and stamp my personality on things and get this area recognised in Lincoln.”