Julia Wingate has recently been elected as the new Mayor of Kingsbridge.

She told us about her background.

“I’m Kingsbridge born and bred.

“I grew up here, went to school here.

“I went off to university in Liverpool, then worked in South Wales for a few years before returning home to Kingsbridge and I’ve been here ever since.

Julia describes what makes the South Hams special: 
“I just think it’s a lovely place to live.
“It’s got a lot of good things going for it: it’s location, it’s wild spaces, communities, the towns, the villages.

“It’s very diverse and I thoroughly enjoy living here and want to make it enjoyable for everyone else.”

Julia is also in business in Kingsbridge and told us more:
 “I own the Trading Post, the toy and bike shop.

“I’ve owned it for 25 years now.

‘I started there as a Saturday girl mending bicycles and worked there when I was at university in the long summer holidays.

“Once I’d graduated and come back from Wales I became the shop manager and the couple who owned it at the time needed to retire so I thought I would buy it and run it for a few years and see how it went.

“Twenty five years later I’m still there.

“The Trading Post itself has been in business since 1969.”

Julia reads the Gazette
Julia reads the Gazette (Richard Harding)

Julia then gave her view on the town as a place to trade: 
“I think Kingsbridge is a great place top do business.

“We’ve obviously got seasonal fluctuations so you maximise the busy seasons and use the local community to support you through the quieter seasons.

“I’ve looked at other towns for maybe a second branch but I enjoy being in Kingsbridge and I enjoy doing one shop well rather than having two or three branches and feeling I’m never in the right town on the right day.

We then talked about Julia’s time on Kingsbridge Town Council and she told me: 
“I’ve been a Town Councillor for about five years now.

“I’m not particularly politically minded or motivated but I just ended up joining the Town Council because I’m very passionate about making Kingsbridge a lovely place to live, work and visit and I thought I could help.

“I’ve been on the finance committee since I started and I’m obviously passionate about business and trading on Fore Street and Kingsbridge.

“So just things that get Kingsbridge noticed and on the map, increased footfall, make it easier for people to get in and out of town.

“We support Kingsbridge in Bloom to help the town look as good as it can and the buses to get us around.”

Kingsbridge outgoing Mayor Cllr Philip Cole and new Mayor Cllr Julia Wingate
Kingsbridge outgoing Mayor Cllr Philip Cole and new Mayor Cllr Julia Wingate (Richard Harding)

She praised her predecessor Cllr Philip Cole: “Philip’s done an amazing job and I’ve got to follow in his big footsteps.

“He’s a very snappy dresser and I’m not going to compete on that.

Looking to the future she said: “Following on from the skate park, we’d like to introduce a pump track.

“It’s not going to just be about my ideas but about everyone’s ideas.”