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Diss town councillors

The Town Council has capacity for up to 14 town councillors who voluntarily, democratically and lawfully make the strategic decisions.

View our Committee Membership.

All members of a council are required by law to complete a register of interests form to provide details of any interests that might give rise to a conflict of interest, when undertaking their duties as a councillor. View our councillors' register of interests.

Sonia Browne

Sonia Browne

Vice-Chair of Facilities committee, Member of Executive committee

01379 643848

Originally from London; my family are of mixed heritage, including; West Indian, Indian, French, English, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and African descent. I moved to Diss in 2011 after living across the UK and abroad. Since 2014, I have served as a Governor at Diss High School and I am now Chair of its Audit Committee. My son attended Diss High School where he was elected head boy, before carrying on his studies at university.

My work has covered areas such as Education, Social Housing, Health & Safety, Investment Banking and Law. I have worked since 2012 with Citizens Advice Diss & Thetford. I am a Advice Crisis Champion, Mental Health Navigator, Domestic Abuse Support Specialist, Debt & FinCap Specialist, DRO Intermediary, Trainer, Supervisor and Consultant.

I was co-opted onto Diss Town Council as a councillor in 2017, believing that it is important to serve and give back to the community, which has been so supportive to my family.

I'm a member of the Carnival sub-committee, Christmas Lights Switch-On committee and also help with Diss Town Youth Council.

Doreen Collins

Doreen Collins

Member of Facilities &Infrastructure committees

01379 643848

I moved to the Diss area in 1988 and worked at the Tourist Information Centre when it opened in the heart of Diss in 1989.

Over the last 30 years I have had the privilege to become involved in many projects and committees in the promotion of Diss.  Working within the community, I was able to get to know the residents, businesses and local groups and became involved in committees.  I have volunteered for many projects which include the Diss Town Guide, Town Team, Christmas Lights Committee and I also helped to revive and run the much loved Carnival for 8 years.

I currently run the floral project around Diss which has enabled wooden planters filled with beautiful flowers to be placed around the town, brightening up the area.

I have a good knowledge of the town and I thought my experience and knowledge would be an asset to the Town Council, helping to shape a much better future for the residents of Diss!

Mark Gingell

Mark Gingell

Chair of Executive Committee, Member of Planning committee

01379 643848

I was born in London and moved to the Diss area over 25 years ago and continued my association with the town, having first visiting it in 1978. 

I am a retired Assistant Headteacher and have worked full-time in both the private and public sectors. I have worked part-time for a charity as well as a volunteer and I currently work as a Benefits Form Specialist at Diss Citizens Advice in town. Through my work, I get to meet and work with a cross-section of Diss residents and the individual difficulties that they can face at times. 

I often travel in and around Diss and the local parishes by foot, bike and car. Again, I see the town from different perspectives and can assimilate the views of others, into a coherent and concise viewpoint and therefore better inform the decision making process.

Sue Kiddie

Sue Kiddie

Member of Infrastructure & Facilities committees

01379 644750

I have lived in Diss for the last 26 years and my three children were schooled in Diss. I have a background in nursing, the armed forces, project management and running my own business.

I presently own and run a dress shop in Mere Street. It was there, in the heart of the community whilst listening to my customers that I realised that there were real challenges in Diss. I felt that I could bring my own expertise and experience to the Town Council, helping to shape the future of the town that I have grown to love.

I feel very much a part of Diss and its community and by serving on the Council I feel I can contribute to both.

Adrian Kitchen

Adrian Kitchen

Member of Infrastructure & Planning committees

01379 642468

I have resided in Diss most of my life and began to play the violin at school. I then continued my violin studies at the City of Leeds College of Music; I am very grateful to all those people who helped me to become a professional musician of merit. I have been teaching the violin for over 30 years and currently work at Diss High School as a support worker.

During my time as a musician, I made a few recordings on the Brewhouse label and on my own AKCC and AKCD labels. I became a councillor many years ago as I am passionate about improving the area for the benefit of both residents and visitors.

I believe that by being a councillor, I am at the core of how changes can be implemented within the town.

Kieran Murphy

Kieran Murphy

Town Mayor, Vice-Chair of Executive Committee & Planning committees, ex-officio of all committees

01379 642488

I have lived in Diss my whole life and have found it to be a wonderful and vibrant town. Before becoming a councillor, I was an active member of the Diss Youth Council. I joined it in 2017 when I was 15 and became its first leader and chair. During my time on the youth council, I took part in many town events and really enjoyed getting involved in the community. I think the community spirit in Diss is incredible. I'm honoured to serve Diss as a councillor and I look forward to representing our town in the future.

Simon Olander

Simon Olander

Council Leader, Chair of Infrastructure committee, ex-officio on all other committees

01379 641007

I have had the pleasure of living in Diss all my life. My working life on the whole has been for Royal Mail, in that role I have delivered to Diss and the villages around it.

I joined Diss Town Council as a Councillor in 2004 as I wanted to shape the place where I live.

Through my council role I was and am able to make our town a better place to live.

Over time Diss has changed particularly with regard to new development and infrastructure.

In my time on the Town Council I have been Chair of the Planning & Highways Committee now the Infrastructure Committee, I have sat on various committees/groups for different projects in the town.

My proudest moment however was being elected first Deputy in 2006 but then Town Mayor a year later, which I was for two years and the youngest Mayor at 36 years old in Diss’s history.

Since then and in 2019 I was elected Council Leader.

I am passionate about Diss and the surrounding villages, my aim is for all to grow in a reasonable manner and receive good quality development in the right places.

Only by the parishes working together I believe we can achieve this.’

Richard Peaty

Richard Peaty

Member of Executive, Infrastructure and Planning Committees

01379 643848

I lived in Bacton, Suffolk, for 32 years. During this time I was a very frequent visitor to Diss. When we decided to downsize, my wife and I chose to move to Diss to enjoy its facilities, which set it apart from other neighbouring towns. 

I have always been willing to contribute towards my local community. I was a parent governor at Bacton Community Middle School, a trustee of the Friends of St Mary's church in Bacton, and parish councillor of Bacton Parish Council, where I served as chairman from 2015  to 2020.

Previously a secondary school science teacher, I’m currently employed part time as an events and experiences guide at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford. 

As there are over 500 towns and parishes in Norfolk, and over 100 in the South Norfolk District alone, I can understand how the views of local residents can get lost unless there is strong representation from the town or parish. This was one reason I wanted to join Diss Town Council. The other is to help promote, secure the future of, and improve the many excellent facilities Diss Town Council is responsible for.

John Robertson

John Robertson

Chair of Facilities Committee, Member of Executive committee

07747 037996

I was born and raised in Essex and was schooled there and in Kent.  I served in the Metropolitan Police as a Police Officer in London for 30 years finally retiring in 2003.  During my working life I have picked up a useful skill set, which I have utilised after retirement and diversified into employment as a self-employed advisor and trainer on Working at Height.  I hold an accredited power boat trainer licence and continue to hold a commercial Coastal Skippers licence.

I am married with three daughters who live in New Zealand, Australia and Somerset.  My wife and I moved to Diss in 2014 and found a wonderfully friendly and welcoming place. I am very used to public service and I thought that by serving as a Town Councillor, I could bring the skill set I have gained through my working life to Diss.

I was co-opted onto the Town Council in 2017 and have thoroughly enjoyed working for the residents of Diss. There is a strong feeling of “Town” in Diss, and I hope that through the Town Council we can improve and enhance the “Town” experience of residents, workers and visitors.

Liz Sinfield

Liz Sinfield

Member of Facilities and Infrastructure Committees

01379 643848

I was born in London and moved to  Northamptonshire in my early years.    I worked for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme for 10 years promoting the Award with schools and then working with Companies promoting the Gold Award to their employees as a way of  enhancing their life skills.  I have two children, and we moved to the Norfolk/Suffolk border in 1994 as my husband has operated a  business in Diss for nearly 30 years.

We moved into Diss  in 2019, and have found the whole experience of settling in and meeting the community very rewarding.

I worked in the Prison Service in Norwich for over 20 years, initially with a Charity which offered social and communication  skills to Young Offenders. It enabled them to have a chance when they left the Prison when looking for employment and housing.  For the last 15 years  my role at Norwich Prison was as Head of Safer Custody  and then Head of Industries.  

 I have now retired from the Prison Service and I am  involved in some voluntary work  in Diss, but also felt that I could offer my time, experiences and knowledge  to the Community, and  also be part of a group of councillors who are striving to develop and improve this Market Town.

I hope to make a positive contribution in the community through my involvement as a Town Councillor and look forward to the work ahead.

Eric Taylor

Eric Taylor

Chair of Planning Committee, Member of Executive and Infrastructure Committees

07860 417551

I moved with my family to Diss from Manchester in 1983. Throughout my working life I have been involved with the design and manufacture of specialist agricultural machinery and in the last 12 years of working, managed one of the UK’s largest agricultural machinery manufacturers.

When I retired in 2013, I was able to follow my interests in how the town was changing particularly with regard to new development and infrastructure. Initially, this was with the local residents' association but for the last two and a half years with the Town Council where I chair the Planning Committee and am also the Vice-Chair of the Infrastructure Committee.

I joined the Diss and District Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group because of my passion to see Diss grow in a structured way with the right amount of good quality development in the right place. I also wanted to influence the need for better infrastructure to cater for the growth in Diss.

 I am passionate about all things Diss and I want the Town to prosper and grow whilst retaining its individuality and unique character.

Initiatives such as the Council’s strategy plan cover areas such as town cleanliness, cost efficiencies and new revenue streams, Mere biodiversity, Diss & District Neighbourhood Plan and Facilities Management Programme (which enable the Council to develop a financial forecast for maintaining its assets) will help us achieve the councils aims.

I can’t promise you that I will have all the answers to the towns problems but I can promise you I will work hard to achieve the Councils aims.

George Waterman

George Waterman

Member of Facilities, Infrastructure and Planning Committees

01379 643848

I moved to Diss, having grown up nearby, in January 2021. Since that time Diss has made me feel nothing but welcome with its diverse and friendly residents, abundance of places to go to and things to do, and beautiful surrounding countryside. I work as a horticulturalist at a local plant nursery by day, but outside of work I have a keen interest in the community and local groups.

The first group I became involved with was Diss Litterpicking Group, my own creation which relies on the generosity of local people to host monthly litterpick mornings and keep the town and surrounding countryside clean and pleasant. Following that I have joined the team at Quaker Wood, the Community Fridge for Diss and I have also completed some smaller projects such as tree-planting in Roydon and the Community Composter.

My work in the town culminated in April 2022 when I was made the Honored Citizen of Diss and was invited to take part in the parade at the Town Carnival in July. It remains one of the proudest moments of my life and it would not have been possible without the help I have recieved along the way from the people of Diss.

My aims as a Councillor are to continue to develop my project and help make Diss a more sustainable town prepared for the challenges of the future, and also to help and encourage other young people in the town who have ideas and enthusiasm to see their visions become a reality. If other residents of Diss and the surrounding area are shown the same kindness and warmth that I was, then the future of Diss is a bright one.

Jim Welch

Jim Welch

Member of Facilities, Infrastructure & Planning committees

01379 643848

I was born in London in 1959. I was Grammar school educated before studying with the university of life, compliments of the Royal Air Force.

While in the services, I was able to participate in my passions of archaeology, genealogy and war gaming. My time in the service was spent in an intelligence role, which has given me many skills to fall back on when needed. I moved to Diss a few years ago with my family looking for a slower pace of life, only to find I had come home; my mother’s great grandfather was born in Diss in 1847.

I was co-opted onto the Council in 2020 after finding I had time on my hands. I needed something to help me get over a bout of depression and I have a passion for improving life for the residents within the town.

I hope to speak up for the people of Diss and can be found in and around the many cafes in town most days.

John Wooddissee

John Wooddissee

Member of Executive Committee & Vice-Chair of Infrastructure Committee

01379 643848

I was born and bred in the West Midlands. After studying at Sheffield University, I went on to live and worked in Scotland, The Midlands and Manchester before moving to Norfolk in 1990. I lived in Norwich and then Dickleburgh before moving into Diss in 2019.

Following many years in HR, I became Chief Executive of Norfolk & Waveney Training and Enterprise Council and worked closely with local authorities, charities and other organisations to provide training and business development support across the area. 

In 1996, I set up my own business management consultancy (which I still run) specialising in Compliance and Quality Management.

For 5 years I was the Non-Executive Chairman of All Hallows Hospital near Bungay. I was also a Governor at Diss High School and its Chair of Governors for several years. 

I believe that my blend of experience, knowledge and skills will enable me to make a positive contribution to Diss as it regenerates and grows following the pandemic.

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