Outgoing Mayor Kath Whittam looks back on a ‘humbling’ ‘whirlwind’ of a year

News Desk (18 May, 2017)

"I handed over the chain last Saturday and I wish Mayor Charlie Smith a very successful and enjoyable year in office, I’m sure he will have a fantastic time."

12135Mayor of Southwark, councillor Kath Whittam

It’s all over, my Mayoral year. What a whirlwind of engagements in every part of the borough and beyond.

It has been an immense privilege to be the first citizen of Southwark, representing the Council and the people of Southwark.

I have been to some joyful and some sorrowful events and some bizarre ones too.  I even felt underdressed when walking in full regalia with ‘the Lion’s part’ on Bankside at harvest time with the green man!

I have cut cakes and ribbons and given out certificates and trophies and medals.  It was great to meet some real celebrities in Frank Bruno and Lloyd Hunnigan and also royalty when HRH Prince Edward came to open the tunnel shaft at the Brunel Museum.

It was lovely to meet many of our young citizens.  I was especially impressed with the winner of my Christmas card competition, a young man from Boucher school.  If all our young citizens are like Felix our borough is in safe hands for the future.

At the Southwark Stars celebration a couple of weeks ago I met lots of volunteers from many of the charities I had visited during the year.  It was so humbling to give out so many certificates for over 100 hours of volunteering.  More and more these charities are relying on volunteers in these austere times.

One of the joys of being the Mayor was fundraising for causes close to my heart.  Surrey Docks Farm is one of the jewels in Southwark’s crown, with so much help given to so many people in so many ways.  As many voluntary sector bodies experience funding pressures, I was glad to breach some of that gap.

My other charity was the National Autistic society.  Southwark has a higher proportion of autistic people than many similar boroughs and I wanted to help raise awareness for their ‘Too Much Information’ campaign which will help everyone understand the needs of autistic people.

The Mayor of Southwark’s Common Good Trust helps people in need in the borough, buying fridges, washing machines, beds etc. and helping out with funeral costs.  You can apply for help yourself or be referred by social workers, GP’s, MP’s etc.   The Marathon places were divided between these 3 charities.  They all finished in good time.   All told my fundraising has reached around £50000 from my abseil, the Duckathon, the Marathon,  quiz and cake sales and other fund raising events.

I handed over the chain last Saturday and I wish Mayor Charlie Smith a very successful and enjoyable year in office, I’m sure he will have a fantastic time.

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