Did you fall for it? This was our April Fool story for 2016...Journal editor to stand in as Lowestoft mayor

Lowestoft Journal content editor Andrew Papworth with Lowestoft Mayor Stephen Ardley.PHOTO: Nick But

Lowestoft Journal content editor Andrew Papworth with Lowestoft Mayor Stephen Ardley.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

As a journalist by trade, he is more used to reporting on mayoral events and functions than wearing the chains of office himself.

But Journal editor Andrew Papworth is now set to put his notebook away temporarily to stand in for Lowestoft's mayor at a series of official duties over the next couple of months.

While current mayor Steve Ardley will remain in office until the end of his term in June, work and family commitments mean there will be a number of occasions he can't attend in the coming weeks.

Protocol usually dictates that the deputy mayor, in this case Nick Webb, stands in.

But Mr Ardley said: 'There are so many events I've got to miss that it seemed really unfair to ask Nick to do them all.

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'But then I thought: 'Why does it have to be Nick?' There's no law on who does and doesn't stand in for the mayor.'

Although the mayor has to be chosen by the Lowestoft Charter Trustees, a body made up of ward councillors in the town, the role description for mayor appears to place no restrictions on who stands in during his absence.

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'I saw Andrew speak at the recent launch of the Stars of Lowestoft and Waveney Awards and was really impressed with how he articulated a positive vision for the town,' Mr Ardley added.

'I couldn't think of anyone better to be my stand in. Andrew is really embedded within the community and I'm confident he'll do a fantastic job when I'm not around.

'Plus, it's nice for it to be someone other than a councillor for a change and to have a person from the wider community.'

Mr Papworth, 30, who has been editor of The Journal for about 18 months, said: 'This was completely unexpected and I was very humbled and honoured to be asked.

'I must admit I was a little concerned to begin with that there would be a conflict of interest with my current role.

'But local newspaper editors in other towns have simultaneously held the post of mayor alongside their day jobs - plus the mayor is a politically neutral role which is simply about promoting the town.

'I really hope to use this as an opportunity to promote all that is good about Lowestoft and encourage people to take pride in our great area.'

Mr Papworth's duties will include standing in for Mr Ardley at the Lowestoft Charter Trustees meeting on Monday, June 6.

He hopes to open a number of events and businesses in the town and will aim to promote a number of local causes.

Mr Papworth, a keen cyclist who plans to wear the chains of office while riding around Lowestoft, added: 'Only a fool would turn down such a wonderful opportunity.'

What do you think of Andrew Papworth standing in as mayor? Write, giving your full contact details, to: Journal Postbox, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1NB or email andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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