New mayor for Newbury
Julian Swift-Hook assumes the 12-month position
Newbury has a new mayor.
Julian Swift-Hook, who is also a Newbury town and Greenham parish councillor, assumed the 12-month role at the mayor making ceremony held at the Corn Exchange on Sunday.
As his first official duty, he named his partner Tessa Olson as lady mayoress.
Speaking on Tuesday, the Liberal Democrat former district councillor said that he was “delighted” to take up his mayoral duties.
He said: “After 18 years of supporting others in the role of mayor, I’m truly delighted that I have now been able to take on the mantle, both figuratively and literally.
“Representing the town as its first citizen is, of course, an honour and a privilege, and I hope I can do justice to the role following the excellent mayors that we have had in recent years.
“The ceremonial aspects of mayor making and the formalities that we maintain are an important connection to the town’s long and distinguished history, as can be seen from the list of past mayors in the council chamber going back 420 years.
“The mayor making ceremony on Sunday was superbly organised and brilliantly executed by everyone involved, especially the civic manager and her team, and our distinguished guests and visitors were, without exception thoroughly impressed by what, in my view, was Newbury at its best.”
In his speech to a crowd of invited guests at Newbury’s Corn Exchange on Sunday, Mr Swift-Hook paid thanks to his fellow councillors, friends and family.
He also thanked fellow Pyle Hill ward member councillor Arthur Johnson in proposing him to become mayor and also to Martha Vickers (Lib Dem, Northcroft) for seconding him.
He went on to welcome fellow Liberal Democrat Elizabeth O’Keeffe’s victory at the recent Victoria ward by-election and the appointment of new chief executive Hugh Peacocke.
He also paid tribute to former Newbury MP David Rendel who passed away on Monday, the following day.
He said: “Many of you will know that David has been suffering from cancer.
“Unfortunately David is very ill at the moment, so he can’t be here.
“I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to him, both for what he has done for our community over the last 30 years, and for what he has done for me personally.
“It is David’s fault that I am standing before you today as your newly-elected mayor.
“If it wasn’t for him, I would almost certainly not have become actively involved in local politics or stood for election to the town council 19 years ago.
“In the intervening years, David has inspired me with his seemingly boundless energy and dogged determination when campaigning, guided me with his sage advice on many difficult issues and supported and encouraged me in the face of some seemingly impossible challenges.”
Mr Swift-Hook, who had been deputy mayor for the last 12 months, replaces departing mayor Howard Bairstow and David Fenn will assume the role of deputy mayor.
Mr Swift-Hook is the only ever-present councillor on Newbury Town Council since it was formed 19 years ago.