Handforth Council changes its name after viral Zoom meeting made it ‘toxic’

The new chairman said the name change had helped with the "disconnect between the old and the new".

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 3rd November 2021

It’s been 10 whole months now since a local council’s Zoom meeting descended into absolute chaos and went viral in the process.

But now, Handforth Parish Council has announced it’s legally changed its name.

Local council meetings are usually known to be like watching paint dry at the best of times, but it’s hard to forget when clips from a Handforth Parish Council Zoom meeting went viral on social media all the way back in February thanks to a choir of raised voices, hysterical laughter, endless complaints, passive aggressive behaviour, and swearing councillors trading insults left, right and centre.

It went so viral, in fact, that people were aptly describing it as “British comedy gold” and “the best British comedy in decades”.

You may remember that with the tension between members having been continuing to build, the meeting eventually culminated with the Handforth Parish Council Clerk himself – or at least, that’s what his screen name said, but his identity is a little sketchy – being booted off the call entirely by the year’s unlikely star – none other than, Jackie Weaver.


“You have no authority here, Jackie Weaver”.

Those were the Clerk’s famous last words before Jackie Weaver exercised the authority she actually did have, and removed him from the meeting.


And it all went rapidly downhill from there.

The viral meeting was labelled “British comedy gold” and “the best British comedy in decades” / Credit: Handforth Council / YouTube (ma0sm)

Since the infamous meeting, three councillors – including the former chairman Mr Tolver, have left their positions, and now, new chairman John Smith said the council has been renamed to Handforth Town Council because they wanted to “move away from the toxic side of Handforth”.

Mr Smith said the name change had helped with the “disconnect between the old and the new”.


He continued: “We’re just getting back to what we used to be doing, which was doing stuff for the town council [and] 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.”

Mr Smith also said that the change of name made sense because of the size of the Cheshire town and to make it more inclusive, due to the word parish’s links with the church, adding that: “So many people believed it to be something to do with the church [and] the Vicar of Dibley didn’t help.

“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.”

The new chairman said the name change had helped with the “disconnect between the old and the new” / Credit: Handforth Council & YouTube (ma0sm)

Alongside the changes made at the council, life has also changed for then-Clerk Jackie Weaver, who has since gone onto to become somewhat of a household name, and still maintains her links with the town of Handforth.


“We’ve always had a good relationship with Jackie Weaver,” Mr Smith said.

If you’re wondering what Ms Weaver is up to nowadays, she is due to return to Handforth later this year to switch on their Christmas lights on 27 November.

Featured Image – Handforth Council & YouTube (ma0sm)