The Mayoral year has come to an end and the baton has been formally handed over. In his farewell speech Cllr Alfred Friday spoke fondly of his year in the role. He spoke of the challenges of wearing gowns on summer visits, where wide-eyed children had asked why he was wearing fancy dress and where a father had told his young son that by the size of the necklace the Mayor was wearing, he must be ‘Del Boy’s’ older brother!

The outgoing Mayor told the incoming what to expect from the year and said he had initiated a manual entitled “The Known Unknowns of Being Mayor”, with observations of his year in office which might help future mayors in the role. He spoke of the 6 turkey dinners he and wife Kaye had consumed over a 10 day period leading up to Christmas as they toured the borough (funnily enough they chose not to have turkey on Christmas Day!).

His chosen piece of light hearted advice to his successor was “never trust the word ‘buffet’ on an invite” but make sure you have something you can pop in the microwave when you get home! In thanking the Mayoress, wife Kaye Friday, for her support during the year, he said she had been such a success on engagements that he personally had been referred to as the “Prince Philip of Sunbury”.

With that, the new mayor was duly sworn in. She is Cllr Vivienne Leighton, who has represented Shepperton Town since 2003. Cllr Leighton has lived in Spelthorne for 31 years and is frequently to be seen getting involved in local life. Cllr Robin Sider was the proposer and gave an excellent delivery of his reasons for favouring her in the role.

Cllr Leighton has a theme for the year which is the river. She and husband (and mayoral consort now) Chris Leighton, live on the river and were affected by the flooding both of 2003 and 2014. She was on the Thames Awash committee when she was first elected in 2003 which followed bad flooding in the area. She recognises the good and the not so good of the river and will be celebrating it’s role in our lives during her year.

It is fitting then that the first major event of the mayoral calendar will be the river day on June 24th when the mayor will be rowed from Sunbury to Staines in the Gloriana, the Queen’s rowbarge which was built to celebrate her Golden Jubilee. (Look out for more details in this issue). One of the crew who will be rowing her is in fact Cllr Mark Francis, himself a former Mayor.

The Mayor’s three charities she will support during the year are all local and all run by people known to her personally. They are as follows:

Spelthorne Dementia Support, known as Purple Angels, is a local charity and part of the global Dementia awareness campaign. The key objective is to support people with dementia to live better lives in their home community. 

The Swan Sanctuary is a rescue centre and registered veterinary practice specialising in waterfowl. It has a hospital with fully-equipped operating and intensive care facilities and provides a permanent home to disabled birds not fit to be returned to the wild.

The Spelthorne Community Boat Impossible Dream is a specially adapted, wheelchair-friendly motorboat that provides a regular weekday programme of short river trips for disabled children and adults, with their teachers, carers, and families.
We wish our new Mayor a wonderful year!