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Former Stratford mayor is back in office for a second term

AT 12 midday last Friday, Stratford Town Councillors entered the council chamber in the town hall to elect the 478th mayor of this historic town.

The annual occasion of mayor making took place during a beautiful spring day with civic dignitaries, former mayors, visiting mayors from Alcester, Leamington and Warwick plus invited guests all seated in the town hall.

The new mayor of Stratford is Cllr Kate Rolfe who is serving for a second time.

Mayor Making at Stratford Town Hall.
Mayor Making at Stratford Town Hall.

During her first term - 2019 to 2020 – all civic duties effectively ceased towards the end of her tenure with the national lockdown which meant no Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations and only zoom meetings to liaise with colleagues.

A year later she was devasted to learn she urgently needed a triple bypass following a heart attack on the morning of her 68th birthday.

At Friday’s Annual General Meeting of the town council and mayor making, Cllr Jenny Fradgley proposed Cllr Rolfe which was seconded and supported unanimously.

The new mayor said in her acceptance speech: “I will stay the course whatever is thrown at me. I want to shine a light on the wonderful people in this town who give their time supporting residents and I want to give something back as well.”

Stratford mayor, Cllr Kate Rolfe has chosen three charities to support during her mayoral year: Stratford Foodbank, Stratford Youth Collective and Street Arts Project and she explained why.

“We shouldn’t need a foodbank but we need to feed the hungry. The excellent youth collective is supporting the youth in Stratford and street arts is helping homeless and vulnerable people regain their self-respect. I’m excited to be representing the town and the people who make it so special,” the new mayor said.

As is customary on these occasions, there’s time for reflection and so the former mayor of Stratford Cllr Gill Cleeve looked back on her year in office during her retirement speech.

Cllr Cleeve said: ”All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances.

Today I have my exit after what I feel like is the fastest 12 months of my life, and Kate – Madam Mayor - has her entrance and I’m truly pleased that she is getting the opportunity to do this again.

During my tenure I attended over 250 events. I opened the Mop and turned on Christmas Lights, attended church services, awards evenings, school assemblies, given prizes, judged competitions, delivered Coronation medallions, welcome visiting dignitaries, visited our hospital and care homes, attended an Ice Hockey match, treaded the boards at the RSC, opened new businesses, organised fundraisers, given talks, attended civic services and dinners, made speeches, and launched our first ever Youth Awards.

At the start of my Civic Year, we all came together and celebrated Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, in September, we mourned her passing and most recently we celebrated His Majesty King Charles III’s coronation. This is more than I would have expected in a 12-month period.

One final thing I learnt is being mayor doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are, and I genuinely hope that I have shown myself to be a worthy one and deserved of the title of first Citizen and 477th Mayor of Stratford.

It has been a great pleasure and a huge honour to be mayor and I will leave with many happy memories and always treasure my year in office.

So, I will end on one of the final lines of Hamlet’s father “adieu, adieu, adieu, remember me.” Thank you.”

Friday’s meeting also saw Cllr Jason Fotjik unanimously elected as deputy mayor 2023 to 2024.

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