Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

“It’s nice to be important, but…” Worthing Mayor Making

 

Last Friday lunchtime, the Mayor Making was held in Worthing Town Hall to mark the inauguration of Cllr Bob Smytherman.

Robert Smytherman, ‘Bob’ to his many friends, was clearly humbled by this honour. After thanking all of his family, friends and supporters, from both the Tory and Lib Dem sides of the packed council chamber, he concluded his speech on a wise note: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice!”

The chamber was full of ladies in a stylish array of fascinators, hats and smart suits, and gentlemen in tail coats.  Guests included Worthing’s Past Mayors and Honorary Aldermen, decked out in special brooches and tie-pins.  The current Borough councillors all wore their long gowns of office, lined in fur, and ‘Napoleon-style’ hats. Former Mayors wore purple gowns.

After the previous Mayor, Cllr Charles James, had processed out of the chamber in his grand red gown with a fur lining and heavy gold mayoral chain of office, a transformation took place, out of sight of the crowd.

A few moments later, Mayor Bob entered in full regalia, led by the bearer of the official mace.  Just like in Westminster, a mace is used to indicate that the Chamber is in session.

Bob joked that the politically neutral role of Mayor would have its challenges for him, since he admitted to being ‘like a piece of rock with ‘Liberal Democrat’ written all the way down the middle’, as his proposer had just described him.

The Mayor announced that his charities for the year would be Mind Charity for Mental Health, which Bob has long supported as a trustee, Alzheimers’ UK and Guild Care.  Personal circumstances, including the premature death of his sister, have led Bob to choose to do everything he can to help those suffering from mental health conditions during his term in office.

A high point of the ceremony was the appointment of the Mayor’s Consort: Cllr Norah Fisher, and her dog Herbie as Mayor’s Cadet.  Councillor Alan Rice’s speech in praise of Herbie, elevated from ‘a dog’s life’ to finally receive the honour he has long deserved, had everyone laughing loudly.

Brogan Kirkby-Scott was appointed Worthing’s Youth Mayor with Jenny Hurst as Deputy Youth Mayor.  Brogan herself was not able to be present as she was stuck in an English Literature exam, but Jenny was able to accept the honour on her behalf with a beautifully delivered speech.

At the drinks and reception afterwards there was a happy mingling of people who at other times are staunch political rivals.  Conservative and Liberal Democrat Councillors, along with other local leaders such as Alderman Bob Clare, Peter Bennett, President of the Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce and his Vice President Karen Simporis, were among the many ‘suited and booted’ who shared a fruity punch and some delicious snacks to toast the new Mayor.

Jemima Bland, Parliamentary Candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham, was also among the attendees.

Commenting, she said: “I was delighted to be there, as I am a big believer in the power of our local community to look after itself under the leadership of men and women like Bob and his team.  I look forward to seeing our new Mayor out and about performing his duties for the people of Worthing.”

Jemima continued: “Mayor Bob, a.k.a. ‘the Multimedia Mayor’ or, for the twitterati among us, #CoolMayor, will surely be a First Citizen that we can all be proud of.”

Ends

 Bob the Mayor