Former Mayor looking forward to lockdown easing
- Credit: Celia Bartlett
Saffron Walden has every reason to be positive, outgoing mayor Heather Asker said having completed her year in office.
Councillor Asker was elected to the post in May 2020, two months after the Coronavirus lockdown took effect.
It is the second time she has held the post. Her first term as Saffron Walden's mayor was in 2015-16.
Reflecting on a year defined by Covid-19, Cllr Asker said the past 12 months have not been easy for the town. She said this was particularly true for retail.
Cllr Asker remembered marking the closure of much-loved East Street Stores by presenting owner Gita Mohabir with a bouquet of flowers.
She said: "We did whatever we could to let people know we are there for them.
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"It was very hard to do in the knowledge that you could not go out and support groups and campaigns like you normally could."
She added: "If we could go back to the beginning knowing what we know now, then maybe we could have planned things differently."
During her year in office, Cllr Asker fronted a Town Council crisis fund, run in conjunction with the Salvation Army and Uttlesford Citizens' Advice.
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Cllr Asker said she wanted to applaud residents and the town council - the officers and staff - for working so hard during the year and for achieving their goals.
Cllr Asker said the silver lining to Covid-19 was being able to trial new ideas such as Market Square pedestrianisation.
She is looking forward to a return to community events.
And she urged residents to get involved and share their diverse ideas and opinions.
She said: "The one thing that I am always positive about is the people in the town.
"Share your thoughts, whether that be constructive criticism or positive feedback.
"Share your thoughts with those you elected.
"Let's embrace moving forward as lockdown eases, but let's embrace it respectfully, too.
"People have been so respectful to one another during the pandemic, so let's keep that going."
Cllr Asker's mayoral charity was Fairycroft House.
She been succeeded as mayor by her deputy Cllr Richard Porch.