Vic Styles, from the Warsash Residents Association, reports back from the December meeting with Fareham mayor Mike Ford
At the last meeting of the Warsash Residents Association, the guest speaker was Cllr Mike Ford, who gave a festive talk on his duties during his year to date being Mayor of Fareham.
Some 23 cities have a lord mayor such as Portsmouth, which was granted by ancient Royal Charter. However, Fareham has had a mayor since 1974 when it became a borough.
The mayor’s role is to represent Fareham at approximately 400 civic events and functions each year, including award-giving receptions and events organised by local voluntary and community groups.
He also chairs council meetings and while being politically neutral, does hold the casting vote in the event of a dead heat.
He said the office of mayor was instituted in 1189, the first holder of the office being Henry Fitz-Ailwin de Londonestone. The Lord Mayor of London has been elected by the City, rather than appointed by the sovereign, ever since a Royal Charter providing for a mayor was issued by King John in 1215.
Members at the meeting thought that Sir Richard (Dick) Whittington was the first Lord Mayor of London but he had to wait until 1397 to take up the office.
During the year Mike has witnessed the huge army of volunteers that give their time so freely.
It has been estimated that in Fareham the value of this work would be approximately £42 million per annum if costed at just £8 per hour.
Mike quipped that if you have a large car he would recommended you to mount a flag on its bonnet, as it is amazing how local folk like to look to see who the passengers are, and some even appear to bow!
As mayor, Cllr Ford also supports local charities and raises funds for the Dave Wellman Cancer Trust and the Gosport & Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS).
As part of his fundraising he hosts mayor’s tea parties in the mayor’s parlour in the civic offices in Fareham on the first Thursday of the month.
In summary he concluded by saying what an honour and a privilege it is to have been invited to become mayor and to represent the town.
The next meeting will be in the Bartholomew Room at the Victory Hall on Wednesday, January 20 at 7.15pm. The guest speaker will be Keith Thomas who is the chairman of GAFIRS. There will also be local councillors and Hampshire police in attendance who will inform us of any issues in the area.