Handforth Parish Council makes very tiny name change to move away from Jackie Weaver era

Handforth Parish Council makes very tiny name change to move away from Jackie Weaver era

Handforth Parish Council gained online notoriety for its chaotic Zoom meeting but is now looking to leave its “toxic side” behind with the tiniest of name changes.

It became perhaps one of the most recognisable local councils in Britain when things kicked off in midst of one of their meetings back in December last year.

After a clip of the bickering was uploaded to Twitter, the council became an online sensation.

Stand-in clerk Jackie Weaver became a viral star overnight due to her hard-headed approach in kicking out three members from the call, with one of them - chairman Brian Tolver - telling her she had “no authority.”

As a result of her online infamy, she even starred in a hilarious sketch alongside Jack Whitehall to open this year’s Brit Awards and was invited to take part in the reality TV show The Circle.

But now the council want to put their viral days behind them, and in an attempt to do so they are rebranding with a new name.

So it’s goodbye to Handforth Parish Council and hello to... Handforth Town Council.

Not exactly the biggest transformation.

But new chairman John Smith insists the name change was necessary because they want to “move away from the toxic side of Handforth”.

He told the BBC, the new name would help to “disconnect between the old and the new”.

Though Smith maintained: “We’ve always had a good relationship with Jackie Weaver.”

“We’re just getting back to what we used to be doing, which was doing stuff for the town council,” Smith explained.

“We’re trying to deliver a number of projects that will improve people in Handforth’s lives.

“What we’d like is, by definition of what we’re doing, people don’t refer to the viral issue any longer,” he added.

While also shaking off the viral attention, Smith said the new name is more inclusive because the previous name included the word “parish” which is commonly associated with the church.

“So many people believed it to be something to do with the church [and] the Vicar of Dibley didn’t help,” he said.

“What we wanted to do was ensure people that we’re nothing to do with the church, we’re purely here as a town council so that’s why we decided to change the name.”

But this name change certainly doesn’t mean Handforth have forgotten about Jackie Weaver.

Now a household name on the internet, she’s been invited to switch on the town’s Christmas lights this year.

The Conversation (0)