Mayormaking or in my case Mayorsacking!

A few pictures and my words, to mark the ceremony that was the end of my year and the beginning of the Mayoral year for Cllr Mrs Frances Smith

Presenting Mr Howard James with the first ever Mayor's Civic Award for service to the Evesham community

Taken during my speech

At the reception, the ceremonial removal of the chain holding hooks on my jacket. L-R Cllr Diana Raphael (twice past Mayor), immediate past Mayoress and Mayor, my sons Brian and James and Past Mayoress Rosemary Message

A gift from Wendy, a set of Evesham exclusive cufflinks

A gift from Diana. Individual 'Mayor and Mayoress' embroidered cushions. Must have taken hours and hours of work. A lovely thought.

Wendy and Connie, with our boating dog (it's a long story), having his chain and badge of office removed.

The family

Mayormaking Speech

Chairman of Worcestershire County Council, Chairman of Wychavon District Council, Honoured guests, Fellow Councillors, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am amazed it is 12 months, since I last stood on this platform and spoke of the honour of being elected to the office of Mayor. The year has literally flown by and it is with mixed feeling that I hand over the chain tonight. The year has been full of highlights. Winning Britain in Bloom and collecting the trophy at a ceremony in Leamington Spa, was the proudest moment and a magnificent achievement for Evesham. This would not have been possible without the years of hard work and dedication of Cllr Mrs Diana Raphael. Opening the Steam Rally, which was supposed to take 1 hour. We ended up staying all day, it was such a glorious occasion. A visit to long Lartin prison, what an eye opener that was. 400 years of Mayoral History was celebrated in style, with a civic service attended by many local residents and visitors to Evesham, It was a pleasure to host such an important moment in Evesham’s history. There have been visit’s to club’s and societies, to sports halls and churches. Civic invitations to services, balls and dinners have come from all over this and neighbouring Counties. Wendy and I have attended 289 functions, every one of them a highlight and a joy. Some have been quite involved and many have required a speech. Last week I was speaking at the Evesham Haemorrhoid Sufferers Society - a stand-up buffet. :-)........I was asked to give a 20 minute speech. Not knowing quite what to say I asked the Town Clerk for advice. No worries Mr Mayor, On this one occasion, I will write the speech for you. The speech went fairly well, although it was a little longer than planned. The next day I spoke to the Town Clerk, and enquired why the speech was not 20 minutes but went on for a whole hour. The Town Clerk, looking a little puzzled replied: "But I did write you a 20-minute speech . . "And I also attached two carbon copies.":-)

One of the impressive things this year, has been the generosity I have found everywhere. People are generous not just with money, they are generous with their time. People who manage and help at clubs and societies, people who put themselves out for others. There are thousands of them and the country would be a much sadder place without these unsung heroes. Wherever Wendy and I have been this year, the welcome has been warm and there has been a genuine pleasure that the Mayor had taken the time to attend their particular event or function. During my year as Mayor I intended to visit as many places as possible, If I was invited I went. I am only sorry that on several occasions, functions clashed and even the Mayor cannot be in two or sometimes three places at once. I wanted to spread the word about Evesham. To encourage people and businesses to come here. In this I can claim a measure of success. During the year I have opened 6 new retail business in Evesham. Two of these have been in Port street, one with some controversy. I am very happy to announce that all of those businesses are thriving in Evesham and it gives me great pleasure that Port Street is coming alive again.

I said earlier that I had mixed feelings about leaving this post. An appointment I have loved doing, and that is not too strong a word. There are things I will not miss. I will be pleased to get my house back. You all have rooms at home called the lounge and the bedroom, for the last 12 months and more I have had the Raffle room, the tombola room and oh yes the hat room. My face will not miss the twice daily shave it’s had. I SHALL miss the food. As predicted I have put on weight. For those interested (look at Deputy Mayor) about 1 stone and it’s no use trying to avoid it. Apart for all the lovely dinners I have been forced to eat, most of the functions are buffets and as one chats one picks. I shall miss the people parting like the red sea as I have approached the bar. I shall miss being busy, the 24/7 of being Mayor.

This speech would not be complete without some thank you’s. If I were to thank everyone who has helped Wendy and me throughout the year, we would be here all night. There are however a number of people who have given help and advice and have been there when we needed them. I mentioned earlier the Town Clerk. Frank has been a real rock this year. He has always, even when I have asked the impossible, found ways of doing things and his advice has been invaluable. Thank you Frank. (Present bottle of Whisky) I would also to like to thank the Town Council office staff, who have completed their duties with typical local government efficiency. Our deputy Town Clerk is officially attending her last Mayormaking, in Evesham at least. Ann Metzger will be moving on shortly, and getting married in the near future, I wish he well in her new surroundings.

We also have another celebration going on tonight. Cllr Alan Booth, has been married for 30 years today. Congratulations Alan.

Many of Evesham town Councillors have helped and supported me throughout the year, Cllr’s Mrs Smith, Mrs Hanlon, Mrs Kirk, Mrs Sandalls and Cllr Robbie Raphael. I would especially like to thank Cllr Elliman, who has been on hand to help, before during and after every event we have had. The answer was always yes, regardless of the question. Thank you Michael and all.

I think it would be fair to say that most Mayor’s and Chairs think their particular chain gang, as we are collectively known, is the best. Well I am telling you mine IS the best. Wendy and I have made real friends this year, not just people you see a lot of, but people who you can rely on. They are wonderful people and they have all enriched this year in so many ways. I want to mention one of the gang who has been particularly generous. Cllr David Noyes, Chairman of Wychavon District Council, has invited Wendy and me, to travel with him, to and from many functions in his official car. Not only has this act of kindness been financially beneficial but to arrive at a function without worrying about the time, the direction, where to park and most importantly of all, whether the Mayoress’s fine dress and hairdo is still in one place, is a major contributor to a successful evening. I am also grateful for the experienced guidance and advice, when I needed it. Thank you David, very much.

The Reverend Richard Armitage, has given both spiritual guidance and great support and help. Our Town crier John Raphael, has attended all our civic functions and many of our charity events. I am also grateful to the Mayor’s Macebearers for fulfilling their duties with ceremonial dignity.

I would like to thank my staff at work. Without their cooperation, life would have been much more difficult. They have swopped days off, worked funny hours, changed their plans at the last moment, all to help Wendy and me, so thank you to them.

The mayor of Evesham website, set up 12 months ago has been an enormous success. Hits to date have reached an impressive 9000 and I am very grateful to Summit seven, who are here tonight recording the proceedings, for their ongoing support. The local Media, Evesham Journal and Cotswold and Vale Magazine have both been very accommodating and I am grateful for the exposure given to the Mayor’s charity events and Mayoral publicity throughout the year.

It is my clear judgement that part of the Mayor’s function is to raise money for charity. Disabled Afloat Riverboat Trust and Riverside Shopmobility have contributed a great deal with stalls at events and by attending our functions. At the beginning of the year Wendy and I had a secret total we wanted to achieve and I make no apology for wanting this year to be a record. I spoke earlier of peoples generosity. The support we have had this year with our charity events and functions has been fantastic.

Our main event of the year The Mayor’s Ball, raised over £4000. Of that, £1200 came from raffle ticket sales and donations from people who were unable to attend the ball or too late to buy tickets, but still wanted to contribute in some way. I have had people, stop me in the street, thrust £10 in my hand for my charities. Generosity, I have never experienced before. During the year Wendy and I have hosted 9 charity events. Our aim with all these events, was of course to raise funds. We also set out to have fun and to give good value for money. From the feedback we have had, we can claim to have been successful here also. Our secret total was £10,000. Due to the amazing contributions of so many people, the total will actually be £80 away from £16,000. If anybody wants to donate £80. I will be happy to accept. Some of our fundraisers, have been organised by Mrs Evesham. I refer of course to Cllr Mrs Diana Raphael. Without Diana’s extraordinary organisational skills, my charity appeal would be considerably poorer. I and they are extremely grateful for all she has done. (Present flowers)

There is of course one other woman, who I could not have been without this last 12 months. My wife Wendy has been without doubt my greatest asset. She has been in the foreground being charming, glamorous and witty. She has been in the background working away, arranging, planning, doing, actioning, running here and there, she has been my controller, secretary, PA, and all the time she has been running a home and garden, helping me in my business and starting up a new business with our son. Wonderwoman springs to mind. I am certainly very very grateful, for all her efforts this last 12 months (Present flowers)

Honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen. This time last year I took a photograph from this very spot to mark the beginning of my Mayoral year. I would like to do the same this year to mark the end of my term of office. I am pleased to be leaving the Mayoralty in good shape and I wish Evesham’s next Mayor every success and have confidence there will be a Mayor in Evesham for many years to come. Smile please – Thank you.

The end, well almost. During the evening I was given the £80 required to reach £16000. Brilliant :-)

Back to Mayormaking exactly one year ago