GRIEVING families, an ancient church and young people will be three of the main focuses of a new mayor.
Councillor Faith Ponsonby was installed as the Mayor of Havant borough at a ceremony yesterday.
The Liberal Democrat Leigh Park councillor told guests at The Plaza in Havant that it would be an ‘honour’ to serve residents and stressed it was a non-political role.
Cllr Ponsonby replaced Hayling Cllr Leah Turner as mayor.
She has chosen three charities to support, including Sands, the support charity for stillborn and neonatal deaths.
In her speech, Cllr Ponsonby said: ‘Too many families – over 15 every day – including mine, anticipating a joyful event, are suddenly plunged into deep despair.
‘The second charity is the Big Build Fund for our borough church of St Faith’s. This ancient church needs urgent repairs if it is to continue providing residents of this borough with a place for their celebrations, as well as being there at times of grief.
‘And finally our own local Leigh Park charity, Off the Record, gives counselling for young people, helps them back on their feet when they are at a really low ebb. Off the Record runs on a shoestring.’
Cllr Ponsonby said the underlying theme of the year would be ‘health and well-being for all’ and nine short walks have been planned for people to discover the area’s hidden beauties.
One of her first missions is to find ‘ambassadors’ – who have grown up in the borough and had interesting career paths – to go and talk in schools.
Cllr Ponsonby said: ‘I want to show children you don’t have to win The X Factor or be a star footballer to have a happy lifestyle.’
The drop-in event takes place at The Plaza at 4.30pm next Thursday. Meanwhile, Hart Plain Cllr Elaine Shimbart became deputy mayor.