New mayor has a tough act to follow

editorial image

MAYOR-making, a ceremony steeped in town tradition, had to be conducted on Wednesday evening with a key player absent.

The result was one of the most moving occasions since Bexhill’s Charter Trustees were created in 1974 to carry forward the heritage of the former borough.

Outgoing Town Mayor Cllr Frances Winterborn endeared herself during the first six months of her mayoralty by her charm and her commitment to the community.

She threw herself into fund-raising for her chosen charity, Bexhill Caring Community, staging a highly-successful variety concert.

But ill-health marred the second half of Cllr Winterborn’s year of office. Though she was unable to attend Wednesday’s ceremony the thoughts of all present were with her.

Caring Community manager Jacquie Haggerty received Cllr Winterborn’s cheque for £6,745 instead from incoming Town Mayor Cllr Brian Kentfield. Incoming Deputy Town Mayor Cllr Stuart Earl read a message from Cllr Winterborn and paid a moving tribute to her for her courage in adversity and her commitment to the community.

Cllr Winterborn had had a difficult year with her health but was still determined, still fighting and still setting an example to all for the brave and courageous lady she was, he said.

He spoke of the love and respect with which Cllr Winterborn was held throughout the Town Hall.

A huge debt of gratitude was owed to her for the example she set during her short term of office.

Cllr Winterborn’s husband Andrew, her mayoral consort during her term of office, received a huge bouquet to take to her together with the best wishes of all present.

The Charter Trustees’ award of the former borough’s heraldic crest was presented by the new mayor to Old Town Preservation Society and to Bexhill Environment Group for their work for the town. The framed crests were received by OTPS chairman Michael Kent and by BEG’s treasurer Chris Ashford and its beach-clean organiser Joe Conneally.

The honour includes the right to use the crest on headed notepaper for a year.

The new Town Mayor is a life-long supporter of the Scouting movement. His mayoral fundraising will be to help build a new accommodation hut at the district camp site at Kiteye Wood.

The old hut, he explained, had to be demolished before it fell down.

Cllr Kentfield said that when he accepted office as Town Mayor for the first time in 1993 the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road was still a dream. Now the road and the jobs and homes it would bring with it was underway.