A year in the life of a town mayor

NAWN 1612111AM1 Wetherby Lions Dickensian Market. the Mayor of Wetherby Coun. Norma Harrington shares a joke with Stuart Newcombe, Mark Yelland and Rob Theweneti.(1612111AM1)
NAWN 1612111AM1 Wetherby Lions Dickensian Market. the Mayor of Wetherby Coun. Norma Harrington shares a joke with Stuart Newcombe, Mark Yelland and Rob Theweneti.(1612111AM1)

Mayor of Wetherby Coun Norma Harrington writes: I feel I must begin this month’s article with a tribute to those members of the emergency services who responded to the terrible incident in Manchester Arena on Monday night.

Our thoughts must be with the families and friends of those killed and injured in this awful act of terrorism.

We must be vigilant but we must carry on with every day things and not give in to those who would change our way of life for their ends.

In that vein ... I can hardly believe that it is a year already since I took on the role of Town Mayor.

It certainly has been a busy year, with attendance at Civic events in other towns and cities in West and North Yorkshire, representing this beautiful town. Why North Yorkshire I hear you ask? Well with the formation of the Ripon and Leeds Diocese of the Anglican Church we are joined with our close neighbours and Knaresborough, Tadcaster and Harrogate have always had strong ties with us.

There have been sad events like the Oak Leaf Service at Ripon Cathedral remembering all those who have died in road accidents across North Yorkshire and also the first responders on the scene; solemn and proud events like the Royal British Legion Remembrance Parade and the recent laying up of the Royal Naval Association Standard; uplifting like church Carol Services, Nativity plays, and Easter services as well as the Lion’s Senior Citizen’s lunch and Dickensian Fair, and major celebrations like the Wetherby Festival, the bonfire, Christmas lights switch on, the annual Duck Race, the Wetherby 10k and of course the Tour in the Town as part of the Tour de Yorkshire and our own Civic Service held in St James’ Parish church. Sorry if I have missed anyone!

I have given talks to rotary clubs, women’s groups, friendship clubs, and men’s forums about the work of the Mayor and other fantastic aspects of this Town. Any fees offered have been donated to my charity for this year, WiSE, Wetherby in Support of the Elderly, who do tremendous work in helping to reduce isolation in elderly residents of our town and the surrounding villages as well as providing support for those suffering from dementia, and their carers.

I have presented cheques on behalf of local groups, raised the latest Green Flag awarded to Sandringham Park, and helped to judge the Wetherby In Bloom Pub Garden competition, as well as deciding, with a small team, who should be our young Townsperson of the Year.

There have been so many wonderful people to talk to and find out about their organisation or their life work in this community. So many people to thank on behalf of us all, for the endless hours of volunteering and fundraising that they do, so many sports associations to applaud for the work they do with young people, encouraging, mentoring and developing skills.

Oh and there have been committee meetings of the Town Council to attend, as well as chairing the monthly Town Council meetings, working with the other councillors and town hall staff to get the best outcomes for our local community, looking at initiatives such as the junior bike skills area at the Little Toe, the draft Neighbourhood Plan consultation, and other upcoming benefits for the town.

I would remind everyone about the great Art displays around the town, running for two weekends, in Artist’s homes, please go along and have a look, there is something for everyone and you may be inspired to take up a new hobby.

I spoke last weekend with two firefighters from Wetherby, who were attending a coffee morning in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association, and they were pointing out the importance of smoke alarms and letting the fire station know if you have oxygen containers in your home. Please phone 01937 582222 for a free safety assessment.

Finally I would say thank you to everyone who has invited me and my husband Tom to attend your events, and to all the Town Hall Staff who work so hard to deliver a high standard of service to our residents.

Let’s look forward to the summer, with nice weather, the band concerts, the food festival, beer festivals and all the other fundraising galas and fairs that will be taking place in our fantastic town.