THE reins have been handed over at a chamber of commerce with its new chair ready to take on “new challenges”.

David Wildman, chairman of the Tidworth & District Chamber of Commerce for the past 17 years, handed over the reins to Councillor Andrew Connolly at a dinner held at the Tidworth Garrison Golf Club last month.

Mr Wildman, founder of the Chamber in October 2001, reflected on just how far it had progressed since then.

He said: “Based at the Castledown Business Park in Ludgershall, the chamber had seen massive changes since 2001 and has helped shape the Tidworth area through its members and links to key committees and economic development boards.

“Since the chamber was formed, Tidworth and its surrounding area now has a Tesco superstore, a more visitor friendly and attractive retail centre, a fast developing business and employment site at Castledown Business Park, close on 2000 new homes for military and civilian families in the Tidworth and Ludgershall areas, the highly successful Wellington Academy and its new primary school, the Aspire Defence PFI redevelopment of the military estate, the Army Rebasing Plan and much more.

“Whilst the chamber cannot, of course, claim responsibility for all this change, it has played an important role in helping to guide and support initiatives that have been so advantageous to the area. 

“Now, some 17 years on, the Tidworth and Ludgershall area is certainly a rewarding and more inclusive place to live and work.” 

Upon taking on the chairmanship role Cllr Connolly said: “I am delighted to be taking up this appointment of chairman and am excited by the new challenges that it will bring in helping our members to grow their businesses, share best practice and connect socially throughout the year.”