Stratford held its annual mayor making ceremony last week as Cllr Victoria Alcock took over the role from Cllr Juliet Short.
Cllr Alcock became the town’s 472nd mayor last Thursday in front of a crowd of family, friends, mayors of neighbouring towns and members of the public.
Cllr Alcock, who has three children, was first elected to Stratford Town Council in 2010, representing Bridgetown, and was re-elected again in 2015 to represent Bishopton.
Speaking to the Herald at the ceremony Cllr Alcock said: “I’m really excited for the coming year and I’m looking forward to meeting lots of people from different organisations and finding out more about them.
“There’s so much going on in Stratford and so many charities doing great work, and one of my focusses will be promoting what they do.
“It’s going to be a hard year, I run my own business and have young children, but I think it’s important that people know that it’s possible to represent the town and bring up a family at the same time.
“I never thought I would be in this position, at one point I didn’t think I would make it past my 15th birthday, after I suffered from bullying, but I came through it. Building up my confidence wasn’t easy, but to those that have been bullied I would say you can get through it, you have the strength to stand tall and become the person you want to become.”
Cllr Alcock said she had chosen Heart of England Mencap, Welcombe Hills Sixth Form and the Sea Cadets as her chosen mayoral charities.
Speaking at the ceremony outgoing mayor Cllr Juliet Short said: “I have achieved a high status in my professional life and career, but there has been no greater honour then being mayor of this town for a second time.
“I haven’t achieved everything I wanted to in my mayoral year but I feel some strong foundations have been put in place. The Market Bell is hanging in the town again but it is not ringing yet, so I will continue to work hard to make that happen.
“I know Cllr Alcock will be a brilliant mayor and I wish her all the best for her mayoral year. It’s been an honour to represent this town and this council as your mayor, thank you for having me.”
Cllr Short paid a tearful tribute to her husband John, who served as mayor’s consort, thanking him for being at her side throughout the year.
During the mayor making ceremony the Town Council’s Commendation was also presented to Inspector Richard Thomas, who served as police sergeant in Stratford from 2011 to November 2016.
Cllr Alcock praised inspector Thomas’ role in reducing street drinking incidents in Stratford saying that he had helped make Stratford a safer place to live and play.
Inspector Thomas said: “It was always a pleasure working in Stratford, it was a dream job.”