DISTINGUISHED guests including the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Peter Hodgson and High Sheriff of Cornwall Sarah Coryton attended the civic ceremony that saw Margaret Young officially elected and robed as the mayor of Launceston last week.
With many changes said to be ‘in the pipeline’ for the area, it was said Cllr Young would provide the ‘best possible leadership’.
The mayor’s ceremonial induction and civic reception took place at Launceston Town Hall on June 30. Cllr Young had spent her working life as a teacher, teaching for 32 years at Launceston College, and many of the guests who attended were youngsters from nearby schools. The guests enjoyed songs from the St Catherine’s School Choir before and during the ceremony.
Cllr Young had already been voted in as mayor by the town council. This year’s mayor making ceremony, Cllr Paul O’Brien explained, was slightly different owing to the recent local elections, and he asked the town council confirm the election of Cllr Young for mayor for 2017 to 2018.
Cllr O’Brien said: “As a locally born lady who has spent her entire life in teaching, everyone knows how ideally suited she is to take on the role. We have seen her take on responsibility for the town’s monthly Saturday markets, which have grown and thrived under her leadership. We have seen her take on the responsibility of organising the town’s youth council, which in the process has created a forum for youngsters to express their views.”
Cllr O’Brien also mentioned Cllr Young’s involvement in providing a Christmas lunch for many of the town’s elderly parishioners.
He added: “There are many changes in the pipeline. There is a review of Cornwall Council’s numbers on the way with a review of the parishes in the future. However we react to that changing landscape, however we try to take the town forward, we enter a new four-year term with the best possible leadership.”
Cllr Val Bugden-Cawsey, in seconding the election of Cllr Young as mayor, said: “Margaret is our domestic science guru and probably the only mayor that has actually provided her own buffet!
“She has taught one, if not two, generations, she is well known, liked, nay, loved. Margaret has worked tirelessly for our town as deputy mayor and will be an excellent ambassador for us all.”
Joking that she was ‘not at all nervous’, Cllr Young thanked everyone present for attending what she described as a ‘very special day’ for her. “It’s a great honour to be elected mayor of this wonderful town,” she said.
“The town has seen many changes over the years. There was a time when everyone knew almost everyone. It’s a very different place now with a great increase in population but it’s still very special and we need everyone to work together to continue to make it so.
“There are a lot of new families that will need local services. We must be forward thinking to ensure these are in place.
“The town’s shops and businesses now have to compete with out of town and internet shopping. We need to use as many local shops as we can in order for them to survive.
“Recently we got the great news the hospital will be needed and will stay open, hooray for that. We can’t be complacent. Watch the local press and join in any campaign that means our local hospital will be retained.
“We need more employment is we are to sustain the number of new houses that are being built. Don’t let us be a commuter town for Plymouth and Exeter.
“The county council needs to listen to the advice offered by this town council. Between us we have expertise and experience, which we give freely.
“We don’t want to lose our library. We have sat for many hours around the table [with Cornwall Council] and yet there is no solution. We will keep talking. The town needs all of us to keep working.”
Cllr Young went to school locally, moving away to train before returning to Launceston so she and her husband could have her children here.
Cllr Young will be supported in her role by her sister Nicola Gilbert, who had agreed to be mayoress for the forthcoming year.
Cllr Young said she will be supporting local Guides and Scouts as her chosen charity this year, adding: “I’m really looking forward to working with them.”
Cllr Dave Gordon was elected deputy mayor. In proposing his election, Cllr Brian Keighley said Cllr Gordon had worked to put Launceston ‘on the map’, including his efforts with Launceston Carnival and the annual fireworks display. Cllr Rob Tremain in seconding added: “Along with his wife Carole they will support the mayor and mayoress.”
Cllr Gordon said: “Being proposed and seconded by two respected town councillors is a great honour. I joined this council 10 years ago with no preconceived ideas, no hidden agendas. All I had was a simple desire to work with the whole council for the benefit of Launceston.”
Cllr Young said: “Working with Dave and Carole will be a pleasure and a privilege and together we will serve the town as best as we possibly can.”
Cllr Young gave a vote of thanks to former mayor Cllr Brian Hogan and mayoress Anita White for their work over the last two years, adding: “It will be a hard act to follow.”
Before being presented with his past mayors badge, Cllr Jessica Williams said of Cllr Hogan: “He is respected and known by all as being hard working and always busy but always with time to stop and chat and offering a helping hand.”
Cllr Williams explained Cllr Hogan chaired the committee that oversaw the redevelopment of the town hall in 2010, and delivered a speech on behalf of the people of Launceston at a protest against ‘Devonwall’ at Polson Bridge last year. Cllr Williams added: “Cllr Hogan is an impressive example to all of us who would describe ourselves as Cornish at heart.”
In his response, Cllr Hogan said: “What has struck me is how many people quietly go about their daily lives helping others. I’d like to personally thank them all for what they do.” He thanked Ms White, his family, Cllr Young, the town clerk, previous town clerk, councillors, staff and ‘everyone in Lanson for making this a very special place to live’. He presented a cheque to his chosen charity, Launceston Town Band.
Ann Brown, on accepting the cheque, said: “How shocked we were last year when Brian said the town band was the mayor’s charity and we are very grateful to all his and Anita’s hard work that they put in to raise these funds for us.”
Cllr Young appointed the Rev Jane Everitt as her chaplain, Andrew Statton and Andrew Dunning as mace bearers and Cllr Rob Tremain as town crier.
Molly Lankston was appointed mayor’s cadet. Cllr Young said: “Molly is a very active Guide and will lead us in all our processions in the coming year. Good luck Molly.”
Awards of Appreciation were then presented to Jean Matheson and Barbara Rowe, by Cllr Young, who explained Barbara is an active member of the Royal British Legion, while Jean has raised money for local charities through the sale of her ‘notoriously brilliant’ quizzes.
Cllr Young said they are ‘quiet, unassuming and work tirelessly for our community’.