Incoming mayor wants to bring people of the town together again

PUBLISHED: 08:15 16 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:15 16 May 2019

Councillor Arthur Coote is to become mayor of Saffron Walden

Councillor Arthur Coote is to become mayor of Saffron Walden

Archant

The new mayor of Saffron Walden, Councillor Arthur Coote, says he wants to increase inclusivity in the town, not just between social and ethnic groups but also between young and old.

The town and district councillor, father of four and grandfather of six, who is a director of a children's nursery, said there was a greater divide between people aged between 15 and 25 and young children than there is between millennials and pensioners.

Older teenagers felt neglected and destroyed young children's play areas, he said because there was nothing specifically for them. "We used to think they wanted youth clubs but what they want is somewhere to go and do nothing, somewhere to just go and be."

The life-long trades union official (Sogatt 82) and Labour Party member for 55 years, who was born in Saffron Walden, said: "I have had a fantastic life [in the town] and I have seen that life change. People don't listen to each other as much. Where I grew up you couldn't help but see your neighbour as soon as you opened your door. Now people can go days without speaking to anybody they know."

For his mayor's charities, Cllr Coote will support the family of Max Rowlandson who raise money for children's charities and Addenbrooke's Hospital with an annual fun day. Max, 11 this year, was successfully treated for cancer at the hospital when he was two. The next Max's Marvellous Fun Day will be on Saffron Walden Common on July 14.

The mayor will also hold a one-off fundraiser to help people suffering from asbestos-related illnesses.

He said: "I feel honoured and privileged to represent our historic town both as a councillor and now mayor.

"I found the role as deputy mayor last year particularly rewarding, especially meeting and talking to the many youth and community groups in Saffron Walden. For the next year as mayor I want to continue with our green agenda, promote local businesses, and focus on our community and inclusivity."

The new deputy mayor will be Dr Richard Freeman and the lady mayoress will be Cllr Coote's wife, Elaine.

The official mayor-making ceremony will be on June 1, with a procession at 10.50am from the town hall through the Market Square to St Mary's Church for a service at 11am. All welcome.

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