A SYMBOLIC final meeting of Poole councillors and officers was held ahead of the changeover to the new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council from April 1.

Hosted by the mayor of Poole, Cllr Sean Gabriel, at the town's Guildhall, the civic ceremonial meeting celebrated the life of the unitary authority ahead of local government reorganisation.

The event featured an array of speakers including Borough of Poole’s chief executive Andrew Flockhart, the leader of the council, Cllr Janet Walton, High Sheriff of Dorset Jacqueline Swift, and the manager of Poole Museum, Michael Spender. Together they helped to highlight and celebrate the history and traditions of Poole from the time it received its first charter in 1239 to the present day.

The Borough of Poole unitary was created following a local government review, becoming administratively independent from Dorset County Council on April 1, 1997.

As part of the celebration, there was also a rare opportunity to see Poole’s historic mayoral regalia on show. This included a pair of gilt silver ceremonial maces, which survived the English Civil War, and the Seal of Poole, the oldest piece in the borough’s collection dating from the 1400s.

Cllr Gabriel said: “As Poole turns the next page in its long history I felt it was right to recognise the work of the borough whilst looking forward to the future and the opportunities the new BCP council will give to Poole.

"For me, Poole is much more than its governance structure. Poole is the town and spirit of its people. Poole remains a proud maritime town with an endearing spirit of innovation, adventure and commerce.”

Mr Flockhart said: “The event was an excellent opportunity for us to reflect on our town’s cherished traditions, what we have achieved over the years and what we will be handing over to the new local authority. We are proud of the legacy of Poole council and feel great optimism for the future.’’