THE Trust chair of Shropshire Community Health has stepped down from his position after eight years.

Mike Ridley has been the only person to hold the role after he was appointed as the Trust’s inception in 2011.

During his time at the helm, he has overseen the organisation which provides a wide range of community services to people in Shropshire and Telford, and Children’s services in Dudley.

After turning 70, he has decided to pass the baton on to a new leader and said his farewells at a special presentation.

Nuala O’Kane, an existing Non-Executive Director at the Trust, will take over the role today.

Looking back on his time as chair, Mike said: “I want to record my thanks to everyone for their support over the last eight years – it has been a job I have enjoyed enormously, and we have achieved so much together.

“In the years I have been here, I have seen a lot of changes – both in terms of individuals and services – but throughout my time one constant has been our commitment and passion for patient care.

“This really has been my dream job, and it has been an honour and a privilege to call myself the Chair of Shropshire Community Health. Working with such incredible and gifted people has been the icing on the cake.”

Nuala has been a Non-Executive Director at the Trust for the past three-and-a-half years and was quick to pay tribute to the outgoing chair.

Nuala expressed her excitement after taking on the role – she said: “I have valued Mike’s wisdom and the very strong leadership he has given our Trust Board.

“In everything he has done, he has delivered with great humour and great humility. It has been an absolute pleasure to serve under him, and I know he will be a hard act to follow.

“There are some very exciting opportunities that are facing the Trust and I am fortunate to be working with talented and experienced colleagues on the Board.

“Together with our brilliant, skilled and committed staff, I am confident that we will continue to provide excellent care for our community.”

Jan Ditheridge, chief executive, said: “Mike was my first boss as I became a Chief Executive, and he has supported me through that exciting but bumpy process of learning to be a Chief Executive.

“I'm looking forward to working with Nuala when she takes up post on Monday, but today is about saying goodbye to Mike - and we all say a really big thank you to him for setting up Team Shropcom and bringing us this far.”