Richard completed his year as Mayor, and Gloria her year as Mayoress, on 22 May. Richard raised over £26 000 for his charity appeal for Sutton Shopmobility and the Alzheimer’s Society.
In the course of his Mayoral year Richard attended several hundred events in the Borough. The range of these events is enormous. They include:
- opening the various open-air festivals, carnivals and fêtes that are held in Sutton in the summer months
- opening new shops, pubs and business premises
- attending events at churches, mosques, the synagogue and schools
- attending school prizegiving evenings at most of our schools in Sutton
- taking part in many Citizenship ceremonies, at which local residents from distant parts of the world took British citizenship
- attending many 100th birthday parties
- attending scout camps
- attending award ceremonies, particularly for young people and for the many groups of cadets – police cadets, sea cadets, air cadets and the combined cadet forces of some of our schools
- turning on the Christmas lights, which he did four times.
And of course hundreds of events organised by the many voluntary groups in Sutton. And going to a few football and cricket matches, not just Sutton United but many local teams who have invited him to their games and to give out the awards at end-of-season prizegivings.
He has also represented the Borough at important events in London and in Surrey where the Borough should be represented, ranging from the pan-London Citizenship Ceremonies organised by the Mayor of London to more poignant occasions such as the service at Westminster Abbey to remember those killed in the terrorist action in Westminster last March.
He has also held receptions in the Mayor’s Parlour for about a dozen groups of people whose contribution to Sutton needs to be recognised – including carers, the local business community, food bank volunteers, the arts network, and of course Sutton United Football Club.
Richard recollects that there was a day in March when, in one day, he opened the new Poundland store in Sutton town centre, opened the Red Lion pub in Hackbridge which had been closed for re-furbishment, attended a 100th birthday party for a local resident, and held a reception for food bank volunteers in the Mayor’s Parlour. And there were two other invitations on that day that he had to pass to his Deputies as he could not fit them in. This demonstrates the demands on his time
Richard has had to do some challenging things as Mayor, including dressing up as Father Christmas to go out with the Sutton and Cheam Rotary Club collecting money for charity. This has left him with a rich fund of anecdotes about his discussions with small children when dressed as Father Christmas, which he offers to regale people with.
Richard sometimes had to chair the Annual General Meetings of local groups who have it in their constitution that the Mayor will chair their AGM. Chairing Council meetings is sometimes a bit tricky, so you would think that chairing the meetings of bodies like the Sutton Swimming Association, Sutton Seniors Forum and the Friends of Whitehall would be a doddle. It was not always so.
Richard said when he was elected that he hoped his Mayoralty would be remembered for some good music. There have been some great concerts to support his charity appeal, including by The Surrey Yeomanry Band, the Sutton Youth Wind Orchestra, The Phoenix Concert Band, the Norwood Wind Ensemble and the Show Choir – not to mention the group of musicians led by Richard that played Christmas carols in the St Nicholas Centre on several Saturdays before Christmas to raise funds, and the performance by the Clockhouse Choir at one of his dinners. Councillor Wendy Mathys attended all his concerts so deserves a special prize.
It has to be said that 2017 was a good year to be Mayor of Sutton as the year will be remembered as ranking alongside 1970 (remember Leeds United) and 1989 (remember Coventry City) as a year when Sutton United football club achieved great things in the FA Cup. The Mayor was one of the people guaranteed a ticket for the Sutton United v. Arsenal match, when the team acquitted themselves with honour, so a good year to be Mayor. There was worldwide interest in the Arsenal match, so much so that before the match he was much in demand for interviews on the general theme of “where is Sutton?”. He was interviewed by radio and TV teams from, amongst other places, Turkey, Russia and South Korea.
Richard’s charity appeal has raised over £26 000 for his two excellent charities.