A NEW Mayor has been elected to lead Uttoxeter Town Council over the next 12 months. Cllr Chris Sylvester was selected at the Annual Meeting of the town council on Wednesday, May 5.
Cllr Helen Headech was chosen to act as Deputy Mayor. The pair will take over from Cllr Sue McGarry, who served as Town Mayor for two years and former Deputy Mayor, Carolyn Green, who stepped down from the council in March.
Cllr Sylvester paid tribute to Cllr McGarry at the virtual meeting, where she was also presented with a Past Mayors Jewel of Office.
Cllr Sylvester said: “I’d like to thank outgoing Mayor, Sue, who has professionally led the town over the last two years. She’s extremely hard working and was been very visible in the community before the pandemic struck.
“The pandemic meant that not only was an extra year added to her term, but she had to lead the council through all the extra problems the pandemic caused, in the town and for the Town Hall. Thank you Sue.
Cllr McGarry gave a report on her two years in the role at the Annual Parish Meeting, which was held virtually immediately before the town council’s annual meeting. In that report, she thanked town council staff and outlined the work of the council over the past two years, and remembered her delight at being selected as Mayor in 2019 – a role she had never expected to take up.
She said: “Our council members and staff have not stopped during 2020 despite the building being closed to the general public. They have continued to perform their normal daily duties and have continued to update their training schedules which have been provided by various outside bodies.
“I would like to thank my fellow councillors, the clerk to the council, the town hall staff and the countless other people around Uttoxeter who have provided me with support and encouragement during my term of office. “It has been a pleasure to serve the residents of Uttoxeter as your Mayor over the last two years and a box I can say I have well and truly ticked, thank you.”
Uttoxeter Town Mayor, Cllr Chris Sylvester, said: “It was a great honour to be appointed Mayor of Uttoxeter for the next year at last week’s Annual Town Council meeting.
“Over the next year, I aim to justify this appointment by working tirelessly to lead the Town Council and to visibly represent and promote Uttoxeter as Mayor. I would like to thank my predecessor Sue McGarry, who did a wonderful job as Mayor over the last two difficult years.
“I will be supported in my role by Helen Headech as Deputy Mayor and my wife Linda, also a Town Councillor, as Mayoress. Linda and I have lived in Uttoxeter for the last 15 years, and in Staffordshire for the last 32 years, and have five children and eight grandchildren.
“We are the founders and owners, with our daughters, of The Big Top Fun Centre and Uttoxeter Gymnastics Club. Together the two businesses have been running for 15 years, employ 40 people and provide leisure and gymnastics facilities to over 2,500 children from the Uttoxeter area. I am a Charted Accountant and have considerable commercial experience.
“My three previous jobs were: Group Finance Director and Deputy Group Managing Director of Spire Holdings Plc, an engineering group; Controller GKN Wheels Division; and Financial Director of Bilston & Battersea Enamels Plc, an exclusive giftware manufacturer.
“Elected as a Town and ESBC Councillor for the Uttoxeter Heath Ward in the May 2019 elections, I stood in that election, as I love living in Uttoxeter and wanted to put something back into the town. In particular, I wanted to help redevelop the town centre, where the Maltings is nothing short of a disgrace.
“I sit on the Committees at The Uttoxeter Heath Community Centre, the Uttoxeter Community Garden and the Friends of Bramshall Park. Hopefully, many of you will know me, or more likely my wife, and come and speak to us.”
Deputy Mayor, Cllr Helen Headech said: “To be appointed deputy Mayor for Uttoxeter is a great honour and a position of trust given by those people who have placed their confidence in me and I would like to say a big thank you.
“I was born in to a large Uttoxeter family, a family who ran the Plough Inn on Stafford Road for two generations, my own father ran an engineering business here in the town and my mother was a district midwife, so my roots run deep.
“There has been much talk over the last few years of Uttoxeter’s lost heritage as a market town but heritage cannot be lost it is in the annuals of history forever; heritage is the foundation stone on which we build the future. Like it or not since the 1960s Uttoxeter has seen a massive increase in the erection of dwelling houses on all sides of the town.
“We need to ask ourselves why, what attracts families to move here; I believe that people choose to live in the town not just because Uttoxeter is a gateway to the bigger towns and cities but because the people of Uttoxeter are welcoming, hardworking and kind, the environment is beautiful and although urban, retains much of its rural character having several parks where people can go to relax and play no matter what their age.
“There are also sports facilities and places of entertainment and more to come. One aspect which is encouraging is the faith that people, mainly from the younger generation have placed in the town by opening up new ventures this is to be welcomed and supported, it is a sure sign that Uttoxeter is not stagnating but is evolving, moving forward just as in times past.
“During my time as deputy mayor, I hope to encourage cross party working and involve organisations outside of the council to work with us so that we get the best for the people of Uttoxeter, I also believe that we now have the individuals in position to enable the three tiers of local government, the Town Council, East Staffordshire Borough Council and the Staffordshire County Council to work constructively to bring about further positive change.
“I will finish by asking people to actively get involved in their communities we all have skills which can be of benefit to others. We have seen kindness and cooperation and volunteering put to great use during the pandemic and as we move out of this dark time lets us not forget how to care for and share with one another.”
We are the only family run, independent newspaper and magazine business in Staffordshire, established 1896. We are home to three weekly newspapers – The Cheadle and Tean Times (aka The Stunner), The Uttoxeter Echo and The Leek & Moorlands Echo.
We also produce Peeps into the Past, a bi-monthly nostalgic glimpse into our photographic archives, and three bi-monthly glossy lifestyle magazines – Stone and Eccleshall Life, Leek Life and Newcastle Life.
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