We were honoured to be invited to the recent inauguration of the new Mayor of Spelthorne, Councillor Alfred Friday – more of this to follow.
To start proceedings the outgoing Mayor Councillor Mark Francis gave a speech summing up his year in office. I have seen Councillor Francis many times during the past year. He and his wife Cathy deserve a holiday! He spoke of the huge privilege it had been serving as Mayor. He spoke of major events like the Magna Carta pageant and being on board the Gloriana. He spoke of being coaxed into a tug of war…wearing mayoral robes! And he spoke about the honour of being amongst the people, at fetes and fairs. These people, he said, is what makes this borough special. He described giving out awards as “sprinkling fairy dust” and making people smile.
Councillor Francis was not only Mayor for the year, he also did his day job as an electrician. He told the tale of doing a job at the house of a local couple. They had the paper lying on the table with a photo of the Mayor in full regalia at an event. The couple kept looking at him and whispering, before finally pulling up the courage to ask “Are you the Mayor?” On receiving a response in the affirmative they got the best china out and stopped him working. He overheard them telling the neighbours, “We’ve got the Mayor here for tea”. Lovely!
As he handed over to the new Mayor his advice was “Get vases….lots of vases!” He proceeded to give the traditional bunch of flowers…not to the current Mayoress, his wife, but to the incoming Mayoress Kaye Friday. “And for the current Mayoress, she gets this” he said, promptly giving her a kiss.
So what of our new Mayor? Councillor Alfred Friday is a Sunbury resident of some 30 years standing. Alfred, is very cosmopolitan being a quarter each of Danish, Polish, and Irish and from Lincolnshire and speaks French and German. . Councillor Friday was a professional charity fundraiser until his retirement in 2012. Councillor Tim Evans proposed his election as Mayor and spoke of his sharp wit, fairness and intelligence. Wife and Mayoress Kaye, who was brought up in Stanwell, was a former actress, model and dancer and together with the Mayor they form a formidable partnership.
Seeing the newly elected Mayor in action in his opening address I think he will be in his element. He speaks well and with authority. He began by urging both camps in the Council to conduct their pre Referendum campaigns in a civilised fashion and accept that whatever the outcome, the Council must move forward in unity, in the best interests of the Borough.
Alfred spoke warmly of the community and the volunteer groups that underpin so much of their work. The Mayor’s chosen charities are Parkinson’s UK, (a condition close to his heart), One to One (a charity tackling learning difficulties) and Home Start (which helps young families with basic needs).
The Mayor and Mayoress plan to ‘Make Spelthorne Sparkle’ and very much hope we all have fun along the way!
It sounds as if the theme of fairy dust is continuing with sparkle and laughter – we wish them well.