- Part 1
and June 2003)
Since becoming Mayor, one of the
questions I am most often asked is “What does a Mayor do?” I thought
about the best way of answering this, and came up with the idea of an
intermittent diary posted on the website for all to read. I am not a
natural diary writer, so this may not have been a good idea, but I shall
give it my best shot. I have decided to keep it fairly brief, with as many
pictures as possible – in the hope that this will make it more
My work divides clearly into two
interlocking roles – the formal one, where I attend functions as a
representative of the Town, and open fetes, speak as a guest at AGMs, and
generally try to be seen giving support to the various organisations in
Wivenhoe and the surrounding areas. I wear the big gold chain for these
occasions – I really enjoy them!
The second role is not as visible to
the general public, although the most time consuming, but is also the most
rewarding. It is that of Chairman of the Town Council. This role involves
the general business of the Town Council and includes attending numerous
meetings, reading vast amounts of paper work, and arranging the various
events put on by the Town Council, all of which is only possible with the
aid of the other councillors and the office staff.
That, very briefly, is the role of a
Town Mayor, and I will now attempt to show how this works in practice.
On 19 May I was elected as Mayor for
the coming year, at the Town Council Meeting, in the Council Chamber.
There was a ceremonial handover of Chains from the retiring Mayor (David
Craze) to me, followed by the appointment of my husband as Mayor’s
Escort, Cllr Peter Hill as Deputy Mayor, and Bonnie Hill as Deputy
Mayoress. I then took over the role of Chairman for the rest of the
meeting. After the business of the evening was concluded, we all retired
to my house to meet up with our friends and colleagues for a celebratory
My next official engagement, as Mayor,
was as a guest at the Scout and Guide Association AGM three days later.
This was, in fact, a repeat performance for me, as last year David Craze
was taken ill shortly after becoming Mayor and I had to stand in for him,
at very short notice. We had a wonderful presentation by two Scouts,
Daniel Hunt and Stuart Reed, about their trip to the International Scout
Jamboree last Christmas – with lots of slides and souvenirs – as well
as many anecdotes.
We followed this, a couple of days
later, with a tour around the Town in the Communty Bus, with the new
Councillors, showing them the areas of Wivenhoe that we are responsible
for. This was also a very useful opportunity to update the other
councillors of the current state of things.
the Monday it was May Fair time – a glorious day for one and all. The
park was packed with people of all ages, all having a wonderful day out.
This is the sort of event that Wivenhoe does so very well, and of which we
should be justly proud.
I had various meetings during the
week, and then at the weekend, following an interview with Derek
Scarpenter (for the Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea Chronicle), I went to
Castle Park for the launch of the new Essex Air Ambulance. In an
enclosure, close to the helicopter, all the Mayors and Deputy Mayors in
Essex were gathered, along with other dignitaries and a sample of people
who had been rescued by the Air Ambulance – I don’t think I have ever
seen so many gold chains together in one place. It was a very emotional
moment when the new machine came into land, following a musical firework
On the Sunday it was the Colchester
Town Mayor’s Civic Service, and we all gathered at the Castle, and then
processed down East Hill to the church. After a very lovely service, we
all processed back up East Hill to the Castle again. The sight of everyone
in their robes, with all the ceremonial gold and silver, was impressive
and was a reminder of our links with the past.
next enjoyable event was the June Market and Art on the Railings. This
followed a busy week of meetings, and was therefore a lovely
contrast. Once again, all the prayers for fine weather were successful,
and the crowds turned out to support the various organisations and
charities that have stalls each year in the churchyard and, of course, the
wonderful catering in the Church.
As I write this, I am preparing for
another week of paperwork and meetings, but with the anticipation of a
Dinner at the Colne School to welcome the USA students who are on
exchange. I understand that the meal is to be cooked by students at the
Colne, and I am sure that they will concoct a suitable menu.
On Saturday we have the Annual Tea
Dance, in aid of the Mayor’s Charity Fund (this does not go into my
pocket, but is shared out at the Annual Meeting to local organisations and
charities). This year the Dance is being sponsored by Richard and Lynda
(at Londis) – a huge vote of thanks to them both. Please come and
support the event, have a dance and some refreshments, and meet your
friends – the tickets are only £1.50 (available at the Council Offices
or at the door). I look forward to meeting some of you there.
Whilst I am plugging future events,
can I remind you of Open Gardens on the weekend of 21/22 June – always a
time of getting new ideas of things to do in your own garden. And,
following the garden theme, there will be a Garden Party at my house on
the Saturday 28 (weather
permitting!) and tickets and details are available from the Town Council
Office. This is to raise funds for the Mayor’s Charity Fund – which
all gets fed back into good causes in the Town.
I am signing off now. I hope that this
has given you a brief glimpse into my first month as Mayor of Wivenhoe –
only eleven more to go!
Cllr Gilli Primrose