Picture gallery: Council unveils the new mayor of Saffron Walden
PUBLISHED: 12:58 11 May 2013 | UPDATED: 13:06 11 May 2013
THE traditional mayor making ceremony has seen a husband and wife ushered in as mayor and mayoress-elect – a first in Saffron Walden Town Council’s history.
Keith Eden was unanimously voted to succeed outgoing mayor David Watson as councillors gathered in the town hall today (Saturday) dressed in full ceremonial robes.
His wife, Cllr Sandra Eden, was elected as deputy mayor – with tradition dictating she will take over from her husband as mayoress in 2014/15.
Reflecting on his predecessor’s year in office, Cllr Keith Eden said Cllr Watson had been an “honest and conscientious” mayor who had “argued vigorously for what he thought was right for the town”.
He added: “It is likely that Cllr Watson will break records for the town mayor’s charity appeal thanks to everyone digging deep in their purse to help support his two charities. He has done all this and more during a year he was diagnosed with and fought off cancer bravely.”
Cllr Watson addressed his fellow councillors. He said: “My heart is in this town and it has been a privilege to serve as mayor – one I will never forget.
“I believe it is a tremendous town which deserves the very best of its people and I will take away a host of memories of what has been a wonderful experience. I have enjoyed every minute of it.”
He added: “During the course of the year I have met more people in Saffron Walden than I’d ever seen before, from the clubs, societies and sports groups who invited me into their world to local businesses, particularly independent retailers, who have been so supportive of my two charities.”
“One of the most important people to thank is the mayoress, my wife Sharon. She has supported me totally this year. I had a little bit of a health problem, for which I think she did bear the burden of, but thankfully that is over now.”
The two charities chosen by Cllr Watson, Saffron Walden & District Riding Club for the Disabled and the Huntington’s Association, will now share the £9,200 raised from the mayor’s charity appeal over the past year.
New mayor Cllr Keith Eden has chosen Saffron Walden Opportunities Playgroup as his charity of the year.
“I chose it because I wanted to find a smaller charity to which a few thousand pounds would make a massive difference to,” he said.
“Saffron Walden Opportunities Playgroup does great work with disabled children and I think we as a community should be helping them.”
Looking to the year ahead, Cllr Keith Eden said he was bracing himself for a difficult time because of the uncertainty of house building and development in Saffron Walden looming large.
“We need to understand what is going to happen over the next 20 years, what growth would satisfy the economy and what we would be comfortable with as the rate of change.
“There is no real sign the economy is improving so we need to be prepared for more difficult times.”
He also said he would be working hard as part of the new Town Team – an initiative set up by the town council and Uttlesford District Council in an effort to boost the vitality of Saffron Walden town centre.
The mayor making ceremony concluded with a procession from the town hall to St Mary’s Parish Church.