Wiltshire Publications

Westbury welcomes new mayor and deputy mayor

New mayor, cllr Ian Cunningham (left), with deputy mayor, cllr Michael Sutton.

A NEW mayor and deputy mayor have been appointed to Westbury  Town Council as cllr Ian Cunningham has taken over the mayoral duties, with cllr Michael Sutton  taking on the role of deputy mayor.

The appointments were made during the Annual Town Meeting on Monday 14th May, when outgoing mayor, cllr Gordon King, gave thanks for his year in office, as he passed over the mayoral chain to cllr Ian Cunningham.

On his appointment of mayor, cllr Ian Cunningham told the White Horse News, “It is a great honour to have been appointed mayor but it is important to say that although being mayor is chair of the council, I have no special powers, I will continue my work as a councillor and along with my other councillors, we will be complete equals.

“The special part about being mayor is that it allows me to represent the town council at events and it is the part of the ‘job’ that I hope I can do as much as I can. I’m particulary excited for the summer event but also to celebrate the special year of Remembrance with our ‘beacon lighting’ event.

“I have already completed my first duty as mayor, just 12 hours after being appointed. I visited Westbury CofE Junior School to speak to them in their assembly and look forward to continue attending events like this.”

Cllr Michael Sutton on his appointment as deputy mayor, a role that assists the mayor on duties when they are unable to attend said, “I am very honoured to be chosen as deputy mayor, especially as I have only been on the council for five years, but have been in Westbury since 1976 when I first came to work in the railway industry.

“Westbury, like all small towns has problems with overdevelopment and poor infrastructure, but I believe it to be a beautiful and pleasant town in which to live and will do all in my power to stand up for the town and its people in the coming year.”

Cllr King said, “Being Mayor in 2017/18 has been busy and eventful. I have met many people often for the very first time, in their various situations, experiencing their warmth and appreciation.

“Accompanied by my wife Carole, the mayoress, I have attended 73 mayoral events in the town, in Wiltshire or in Bath. The mayor’s deputy represented me on six occasions when I was either double booked or unavailable.

“Within Westbury, I have opened play areas, a dance school, pre-school fetes and fun days, had school lunch, presented school achievement awards, opened the Westbury Festival, and an arts exhibition. I attended the town carol service, passing out parades, a cadet force launch, the ATC quiz night, charity and youth association annual general meeting and presentation evenings.

“Within Wiltshire and Bath, I have attended mayor-making ceremonies, Wiltshire towns’ civic services, civic and charity dinners, the Wiltshire High Sheriff’s charity concert, her reception, the field of remembrance (Swindon) the 100-year anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele and the Sheriff’s Rule of Law services at Salisbury Cathedral. I also attended the 20th anniversary celebrations and concert at Wiltshire Music Centre, which was fantastic.

“At the town council I fronted the annual ‘Christmas in Westbury’ celebrations, judging shop displays and a Christmas card competition. I assisted the winner of the card competition with switching on the town’s Christmas lights.

“I have supported two good causes this year, raising funds for Alzheimer’s Support and Hope Debt Advice Service – Westbury. Money was raised at a charity quiz evening, at our town’s Civic Service, the Christmas in Westbury celebrations and at the council’s annual Civic Reception where I also gave out three Civic Awards to deserving champions of our community. Lastly, we have made innovations to the way that we organise our grants awards evening and the Annual Town Meeting, which seem to have gone down well.

“Of all of the things that I have done, nothing has given me more pleasure than those events that involved children, whether that was attending pre-school fun days, giving out end-of-school awards, having school lunch cooked for me or opening either a dance studio or a play area. All of these events provided so much fun.

“Nearly half of the council started their council career in the first days and weeks of my mayorship and I like to think that we grew through the year together. Everyone without exception has hit the ground running and made a real contribution, in their own way, to the council moving us forward and I thank them for that contribution, their fair mindedness and good humour. Westbury is in safe hands.

“I end with grateful thanks and thoughts of appreciation for Deborah Urch (town clerk) and Julie Dyer (administration officer) for their sterling advice, to our new administration assistants Sarah Harris and Kieran Thorburn who have provided a vital spark; and last and most importantly to Sarah Barker and Verity Bartlett who between them organised my diary, decided on the arrangements, booked venues acted as MC, made sure I was where I was supposed to be and most significantly, they put up with me! Thank you everyone.”

Outgoing mayoress Carole King also presented Julie Cunningham with the mayoress chains during the Annual Town Meeting and Julie will assist mayor cllr Ian Cunningham in events across the mayoral year.