Farnham has a new Mayor. Councillor Mike Hodge, Town Councillor for Hale and Heath End and a member of Waverley Borough Council, was sworn in last Thursday, May 11.
Cllr Hodge, who spent much of his working life in government in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food; the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and latterly the Department for Work and Pensions, has lived in and around Farnham since 1981 and currently has a home in Folly Hill. He was described by his proposer, Cllr Pat Frost, as being “community minded” and giving “time and attention to local matters”. “He will,” she said, “be a good ‘first citizen’ of Farnham.”
In his acceptance speech, Cllr Hodge described being appointed mayor as “the icing on the cake” of his time as a councillor and promised that he would “work hard to demonstrate to others what a wonderful town Farnham is”. His chosen charities for the year are Woodlarks and the Brightwells Gostrey Community Centre.
The Deputy Town Mayor for 2017-18 is Cllr David Attfield, who represents Weybourne and Badshot Lea and has lived in Badshot Lea all his life. He was proposed by?Julia Potts, who said Cllr Attfield “epitomises what we should all aspire to be as town councillors”.
Cllr Potts added that Cllr Attfield did not work along party political lines and was a man who offered “sound, no-nonsense advice”. “He is a great leveller,” she said.
The outgoing mayor, Cllr John?Ward, received a vote of thanks from Cllr Carole Cockburn on behalf of the whole council. She also thanked the Mayoress Gillian Ward for her support, describing the two of them as “model representatives for Farnham who would soldier on whatever the weather,” and summed up Cllr Ward as: “Jovial, outgoing, humorous, with a natty dress sense, a splendid wife, adaptable, resilent and dedicated,” words that can be used to spell out ‘John Ward’.
Cllr Ward said that it had been a huge honour and delight to be asked to be mayor fo`r a second time and answered two questions that he has often been asked: ‘what has been the highlight of the year and what is different this time?’.
“The highlights have been the growth of events in the town, especially Remembrance Day when we have had everyone, from young to old, coming into the town to take part; and also developing the Neighbourhood Plan. What is different is that we have been rolling up our sleeves and doing more for the people and doing the Neighbourhood Plan. I think that the Neighbourhood Plan is the most important thing that the council has done maybe in a life time.” He also paid tribute to the whole council, whom he described as “non-political” and “doing things for the good of the town” and to volunteers “the back-bone of the town” and to Gillian Ward “for standing by me”.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Ward told the Surrey & Hants News that the real job of mayor was “making people in the town feel good, acknowledging them and letting them know that they are appreciated and wanted. He said “you can go into a room where people are feeling a bit unloved and you can say ‘thank you for what you are doing’.”
Cllr Carole Cockburn has been appointed Leader of the Council.