Duncan Kerr has been elected as Mayor of Oswestry and took part yesterday, Wednesday 27th May 2020, in the traditional Mayor Making Ceremony where he gave this speech.
It is a privilege and an honour to be elected as The Mayor and I sincerely thank all my colleagues for the trust that you have offered me. I commit to respecting and carrying out the duties of Mayor and representing the people of Oswestry to the best of my abilities.
I know and respect that faith plays a very large role in the lives of many residents and communities of Oswestry and, particularly at the present time, I want to continue to work closely with St Oswald’s Parish Church and with other denominations and faiths. However personally I do not have a religious belief so I will not be appointing a Chaplain.
Mayoress / Consort
Councillor Olly Rose will be my consort and support me during my year in office.
Even before the current pandemic I had decided that my chosen charity would be the Shropshire Domestic Abuse Service (SDAS). Domestic violence continues to be a huge problem which is not only hidden but kills two women in the UK every week. For too many adults and children home is not a safe place and the current restrictions increase the risk. SDAS provides refuges and outreach support to victims and survivors in Oswestry and I look forward to discussing how we can help them.
As always, I am also equally happy to assist in fund-raising for the many other charities and good causes in our town and I’ve measured my garden to see how many laps an Oswestry half-marathon would be.
Priorities for the year ahead
This Council enters its final year ahead of the elections in May 2021. Whilst the pandemic and restrictions will have an impact on what can be achieved the Councils focus will be on the following issues:
- The economic well-being of the town in the short and long term. Helping established businesses to survive and prosper when the restrictions are lifted and securing inward investment to welcome new businesses and build a better town;
- Delivering on the Council’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030 and act as an exemplar for other local businesses to play their part in combatting climate change;
- Delivering major projects in the capital programme;
- Implementing plans the Council has on youth provision in the town;
- Re-assuring and assisting those who have had a long period of self-isolation and finding opportunities for them to become involved in our vibrant communities when that is possible;
- Assisting those who, through no fault of their own, find themselves economically disadvantaged as a result of Covid 19.
This is a busy agenda but an important one. I am particularly looking forward to the announcement from Historic England regarding the High Street Heritage Action Zone Fund. This Council has committed to provide match funding so that this initiative can have the maximum impact.
Being Mayor will certainly not be about me – it will be about the Council I represent and the town and people of Oswestry. One of my aims is to host a virtual, monthly discussion forum for local people. I am committed to better understanding the issues that they face and are important to them.
It’s a strange year for The Mayor and one of considerable uncertainty – our popular events programme will not look the same but will return as soon as possible.
Personal Thoughts on being Mayor
In conclusion, some people might question whether Oswestry should be concerning itself with the election of a Mayor at this time. However, I feel that in times of adversity the Town Council can be a source of re-assurance to our communities that better times will come, even if there are a few changes. Oswestry has had a mayor for over 400 years through the good times and the not so good times, and because it focusses solely on our town, The Mayor and the Council can play a vital role in seeing us through the current problems and ensuring we get back on our feet as soon as possible.
Vote of thanks to the Retiring Mayor to be given by the newly elected Mayor
I would like to congratulate John on what has been a hugely successful year in office – he is a well-known and popular member of the community and has brought his own style to the Office of Mayor. It says a lot for him that he says he is richer for the experience. Like his bus he casts a very long shadow and will be a very hard act to follow.
Well done John, I would like to propose a vote of thanks ....