Reporter: Anne Grimshaw
A Mayor’s Tale
November’s meeting was a talk by former mayor, Adrian Osborne, who began by clarifying that this was to be a mayor’s tale, not a mare’s tail! It was a very personal talk in which Adrian briefly described his background of living in London before coming to Sudbury (via Great Dunmow and Frinton); his passion for cricket and his role as a cricket umpire and his early life as an engineering apprentice. He found Sudbury to be full of generosity, kindness, volunteers of all sorts and huge community spirit.
Being mayor was, he said, a huge honour. In 2009 he was elected mayor for the first time – the 678th mayor – a role which dates back to 1331. He was mayor for a second time in 2013. The role demands responsibility, a variety of special skills and ‘personality’. It sometimes involves making difficult decisions and coping with sadness but the rewards are many: pride, happiness and being an ambassador for Sudbury perhaps being the main ones. Sudbury has a reputation for its civic pride and its representatives are welcomed everywhere; Sudbury is highly regarded throughout Suffolk.
But what does a mayor do? Well, Sudbury is a pretty busy place and there is no shortage of events that require the mayor’s presence. Some of these are ‘one-offs’ such as ‘shadowing a councillor’ where four school students accompanied a councillor in his or her duties for an insight into local government. Then there was the centenary re-enactment of the unveiling of the Gainsborough statue in 2013, the opening of the new entrance to the Quaker Meeting House and the opening the new health centre (after 30 years’ wait).
Other events are annual such as the St George’s Day service, the Poppy Appeal, the Remembrance Day Parade, Armed Forces Day, Sudbury Festival of Dance, Drama and Music, Sudbury in Bloom and the Christmas card competition. Some of these events involve young people and charities of various kinds.
There have been sad times such as the death of much-loved Reverend Greg Webb and the closure of Sudbury Middle School. There are frustrating times such a writing to the Suffolk Free Press to correct TV presenter Fiona Bruce’s negative and incorrect comments about the town. There are happy times such as sending a letter of congratulation on the birth of Prince George and receiving a letter of thanks from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. There was cycling in Sudbury’s participation in ‘Most Active Town’, the provision of more paths in the Gainsborough Trail and receiving a Gold Award for Sudbury in Bloom in 2013.
On a personal level Adrian referred to his devastating cancer diagnosis but he has come through that and feels humbled and honoured to have been mayor of Sudbury and happy to devote his time and efforts to its citizens.
Adrian rounded off his talk by reading a poem about what it feels like to be an EX-mayor!