Gillingham resident Paul Harriott will shortly be celebrating 30 years of service to the Rochester Bridge Trust. The approach of this impressive milestone was marked by a special lunch at the Bridge Chamber in November, attended by members of Paul’s family. His colleagues on the Trust presented him with a framed print of the medieval Rochester Bridge to mark the forthcoming anniversary.
The Rochester Bridge Trust is a charity founded in 1399 that exists to maintain the old and new bridges at Rochester and makes local charitable and educational grants. Paul first joined the Trust in 1980 as a nominee of the former Gillingham Borough Council and has been a trustee ever since.
Born on the Isle of Sheppey, Paul has lived in the Medway Towns since 1939 and first became involved in local politics in the 1960s. He was a member of Gillingham Borough Council from 1962 to 1998, mayor of Gillingham from 1974-75 and has been a member of Medway Council since 1998. Currently, he chairs the Labour group representing the Twydall ward. In his 30 years with the Trust, Paul served as Junior Warden in 1988-89 and Senior Warden from 1989-90 and is currently an Assistant Warden, appointed to represent the interests of the community.
Commenting on his 30 years of service, Paul said:
“It’s been a privilege to serve on the Trust and provide the community with vital infrastructure. When I was first approached to join in 1979, I was attracted by the Trust’s long term perspective – it’s not in the business of sales or looking for a quick return on its investments, but in making an ongoing difference to the community, and it’s nice to be involved in an organisation like that”.
As a former engineer who worked on submarines in the Chatham Dockyards, Paul has particularly enjoyed the Trust’s support of engineering-related projects.
“A highlight for me was the Trust’s funding for a new Professor of Bridge Engineering at the University of Greenwich. There is a wealth of engineering knowledge in the Medway towns, and the professorship is a great opportunity to carry that on. Another was intervening to make it possible to build the Medway Tunnel and the refurbishment of the Clocktower building for the Bridge’ Wardens College.”
After 30 years service, Paul is still committed to continuing his involvement in the Trust, and is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that the next 30 years will bring.
Notes to editors:
1. The Rochester Bridge Trust is a charitable trust that exists to maintain the old and new bridges at Rochester and serve the travelling public. It is the only surviving bridge trust still serving its original purpose and it has served the people of Kent since 1399. The Trust’s assets all derive from endowments of land and money in the 14th and 15th centuries and are carefully managed in order to provide an income to fund bridge maintenance and local charitable grants. The Trust receives no external funding and is regulated by the Charity Commission.
2. The 12-strong Trust consists of members of the three local councils in the area – three nominated by Medway Council, two by Kent County Council, one by Maidstone Borough Council, and six Trustees from the local area. All are unpaid.
For more information:
The Rochester Bridge Trust
Kent ME1 1QE
Tel: 01634 846706
Fax: 01634 840125