On Thursday 16th May I was elected Mayor of Kidsgrove for 2013/2014 at Kidsgrove Town Councils Mayor making ceremony. I am hugely honoured to accept the position and will do my very best.
My incoming Mayor’s address:
I am hugely honoured in accepting the position of Kidsgrove Town Mayor for a second term. I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support I have received from the people of Kidsgrove over the last few years. A great deal of what I do wouldn’t have been possible without them. We have a very special Town and when our community joins together as one, we become a force to be reckoned with.
I would like to thank Gill Burnett for her valuable contribution to the Town in her year as Mayor. Gill did a great job in ensuring that Kidsgrove’s Jubilee celebrations, organised for the benefit and enjoyment of people from many different backgrounds, ran smoothly and without complication. Her fundraising endeavours for the Alzheimer’s disease charity have inspired those more fortunate to do a little bit more for those who are in need. Thank you Gill.
Things have changed significantly over the past twelve months at the Town Council. Together we have pushed forward our modernisation programme. This has made us more accessible to the public. We have integrated into the Kidsgrove Customer Service Centre making services more easily accessible. Our new state of the art office offers a wide range of customer service facilities that we could have only dreamt of in the past. We are putting Kidsgrove first!
Kidsgrove’s Youth Parliament has gone from strength to strength. The parliament was officially opened by Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow back in 2012. The young people have now put together a project to fund new flower beds at the junction of Liverpool road and Gloucester Road for the enjoyment of everyone in the town. We have so many passionate young people in our community and we should be really proud of them. I’m looking forward to co-ordinating and working with the youth parliament with the aim of maintaining its continued success.
I will now discuss what I would like achieve in the year ahead, for both the town and the people of Kidsgrove. I have put together some pledges that I believe are achievable for Kidsgrove over the next 12 months.
Firstly, I pledge to obtain a defibrillator, through sponsorship, for every primary and secondary school in Kidsgrove. I recently unveiled a Defibrillator at a Kidsgrove Lads and Dads event with Julie Bostock. Julie’s son Liam Wood died on the football pitch after celebrating a goal and suffering from a severe seizure. His memory lives on through all of the fundraising we will do over this year. These life saving pieces of equipment should be in every School building to avoid unnecessary fatalities of both children and adults. Now that I have been appointed Mayor, I intend to meet with representatives of national campaign groups to lobby the government to introduce and implement legislation to make it mandatory for all schools to have a defibrillator on site. We must never allow finance to take priority over someone’s life.
Secondly I am launching a Town Council campaign to crack down on dog fouling in all our wards. Working collaboratively with officers of Newcastle Borough Council, together we are creating a project that will encourage dog owners to take responsibility for cleaning up after their pets. We will be going door to door to ask dog owners to sign up to the project and promise to work with us to make our streets cleaner. More will be revealed in the coming months but we are positive the Town Council can make a difference on important issues that matter to local people.
Finally I turn to my charity of the year. As Deputy Mayor, earlier this year, I was invited to attend a moving memorial service where I was given the opportunity to speak with parents who had lost their children in child birth. How these people cope in these difficult circumstances is beyond comprehension. However, there are dedicated charities and caring, peer support networks out there that can help. Therefore my charity for the year will be Staffordshire Sands. Working with the charity, members of the Town Council and the wider community we are aiming to raise thousands of pounds for this worthy and woefully underfunded cause, to make counselling and support easier to access for bereaved parents. I would like to read a short quote from the charity: “An angel in the book of life wrote down a baby’s birth. She then whispered as she closed the book “too beautiful for the earth”.
To finish I want you to know that I firmly believe Kidsgrove is the Jewel in the crown of the Borough.
That includes Newchapel, Ravenscliffe, Butt Lane, Talke and Talke Pits.
Let’s make our town more inclusive for the young and old. Let’s bang the drums and shout out loud we are here and we have so much to offer.
The Kidsgrove Lads and Dads group have been raising money over the past 12 months to obtain better first aid equipment and a defibrillator to be present at all Sunday football sessions.
Mark Porter decided to fund raise for the Lads and Dads to have their own Defibrillator following on from the sad death of Liam Wood. Liam Wood collapsed on a pitch just after he had scored for AFC Saints on fields in Knutton, Staffordshire, in January 2012. Liam, who played football four times a week, had an extremely rare heart disorder. His arteries were connected to the same place in his heart, unlike most people’s whose arteries are connected to different parts of the heart. This condition is very hard to detect.
Mark said: “When I heard what had happened to Liam I just felt I had to do something. I did some research and decided to organise a fund-raiser with Roland Hulse from Kidsgrove Lads and Dads and other organisations. The Defibrillators can save lives and we now have a first aid team fully trained up to use the equipment. Lets just hope they never have to use them”.
The project had the backing of myself, Kidsgrove Town Council, MP Joan Walley, Co-op Pharmacy and other local businesses.
On Sunday 12th May, Liam Woods mum Julie Bostock and I were asked to open the new first aid tent and unveil the defibrillator for the first time. I told the crowd before we cut the ribbon that I was so touched by the amount of support this project had gained. The community had come together for a good cause and it just shows us what we can achieve in Kidsgrove. I will soon be announcing what the Town Council plan to do to further support this fantastic project.
For Kidsgrove Lads and Dads visit: http://www.kidsgroveladsandads.co.uk/index.html
The election results for the County Council divisions of Kidsgrove and Talke & Red Street reveal how local people have turned their back on UKIP and the Liberal Democrats. Against all the odds Labours Margaret Astle beat incumbent UKIP Councillor Geoff Locke into 2nd place. This has sent a shockwave through local UKIP who were ‘quietly confident’ of a win in the Kidsgrove division. The protest vote wasn’t strong enough to stop the Labour team following years of local community work and activism. There is no denial that the vote was close and there was a clear protest vote against the Coalition Government.
The Talke and Red Street results were just as spectacular with Labours John Taylor picking up almost 50% of the vote. The message has been clear on the doorstep. Residents are happy with our ward work and want us to continue the fight against deep and damaging cuts to local services. People want their council tax spent wisely on the roads, schools and health services. Now that Labour has formed a strong opposition the Tories have lots to worry about at County Hall.
I would like to touch on the non-existent campaign the Liberal Democrats ran in Kidsgrove. The Kidsgrove candidate was quite clearly a paper candidate as she was shopping on Election Day rather than speaking to people on the doorstep. This reflected in the result as the candidate only picked up 4% of the vote.
But I turn my attention to the Leader of the Kidsgrove Liberal Democrats, Dennis Richards. Mr Richards put out a leaflet in Butt Lane that attempted to vilify local people and also politicise a Community Centre. He desperately tried to make political gain out of a venue used by people from all walks of life in the community. He even managed to get its committee members to nominate him to stand as a local Councillor yet months before claimed ‘politics have no place here’! Mr Richards will reap what he sows and will regret his spiteful attack on hard working local people who care about the community. He claimed his intervention meant the community facility was thriving but his vote wasn’t thriving when he only managed to scrape fourth in the election behind the Conservatives and picked up just 6% of the vote. If he spent more time dedicating himself to the community and less time claiming credit for other peoples work he may have actually had a better chance of winning an election. Gutter politics have hopefully left Kidsgrove for the time being but I won’t hold my breath.
Newcastle – Kidsgrove – results
Margaret Astle – Labour – 1183 – 44% – Elected
Geoffrey Locke – UK Independence Party – 1097 – 41%
Pam Jellyman – Conservative – 304 – 11%
Lynda Irene Griffiths – Liberal Democrats – 118 – 4%
Newcastle – Talke and Red Street – results
John William Taylor – Labour – 1368 – 48% Elected
Alexander Jozef Wright – UK Independence Party – 928 – 33%
James Vernon – Conservative – 333 – 12%
Dennis John Richards – Liberal Democrats – 181 – 6%
Rebecca Anne Carter – Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts – 35 – 1%