Stratford’s new mayor to champion volunteering, exercise and helping those with disabilities

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Stratford appointed its 475th Mayor last week during the town’s first ever virtual mayor making ceremony.

Cllr Tony Jackson took on the chains of office, taking over as mayor from Cllr Kate Rolfe during the Annual Town Council Meeting on Friday.

The whole meeting was conducted virtually using an online video conferencing programme and subsequently broadcast on the town council’s Facebook page.

Cllr Jackson said: “Thank you councillors for electing me to this prestigious role, I am honoured and humbled and will serve the council and the community to the best of my ability, albeit that the circumstances are not what I’d envisaged just a couple of months ago.”

Cllr Jackson went on to pay tribute to the town’s key workers and community groups making a difference during the pandemic.

Outgoing mayor Cllr Kate Rolfe said: “It’s been a great 12 months, sadly not going out with a bang, but more like a fizzle.”

During the same meeting Cllr Kevin Taylor was selected as deputy mayor and Rev Paul Edmondson was also chosen as council chaplain, taking over from the mayor’s chaplain Rev Dr Roy Lodge MBE.

This year instead of picking one or more specific charities to fundraise for, Cllr Jackson has decided to support three broader good causes.

These are volunteering, helping people with disabilities and exercise and wellbeing, with the mayor focussing his efforts and any fundraising in these areas.

Away from the Town Council Cllr Jackson is the longest serving employee in Stratford at NFU Mutual having served 44 years and currently works as a business consultant.

He is a keen runner, is also well known in the town’s sporting circles as secretary of Stratford Athletics Club.

He has been married to Mandy for 30 years and has two children, 25-year-old twins Joe and Alex.

Speaking the Herald, Cllr Jackson, 62, said: “Coming into this is a bit different to how I imagined it would be two months ago and a lot of the social engagements the mayor usually takes part in will not be happening. I think social media will play a bigger part in how I stay in touch with people in Stratford. It has been interesting how useful technology is already proving to be, it was a virtual mayor making, I took part in a radio interview on Zoom right afterwards and I pre-recorded a reading for the virtual civic service.”