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Guildford Elects Its 603rd Mayor In A Traditional Guildhall Ceremony

Published on: 8 May, 2019
Updated on: 10 May, 2019

By Hugh Coakley

Some things stay above politics whatever state of turmoil it might be in and today (Wednesday, May 8) Guildford Borough Council elected Cllr Richard Billington to be the 603rd Mayor of Guildford in a traditional ‘pomp and circumstance’ ceremony in the Guildhall.

With officials, aldermen and councillors in full, splendid regalia, both the new Mayor and this year’s Deputy Mayor, Cllr Marsha Moseley, were unanimously elected by the councillors present.

Whilst the mayor’s role is mainly ceremonial and always non-political, he or she has the important role of chairing council meetings and even giving the casting vote as chair in the event of a tie.

Cllr Paul Spooner, former leader of the council and leader of the Conservative group on Guildford Borough Council, proposed Cllr Billington as Mayor and this was seconded by Cllr Caroline Reeves, leader of the council’s Liberal Democrat group.

In the robing room behind the Guildhall chamber. Mayor Richard Billington in full mayoral regalia with the outgoing mayor, Mike Parsons in the background. Simon Nelson, chauffeur to the Mayor of Guildford and sergeant at mace, has been assisting at the yearly mayor making ceremony for 10 years.

Mayor Billington, who had been nervous before the event, gave a relaxed address in his first official function as the mayor.

He thanked the outgoing mayor, Mike Parsons who he said, “was a brilliant mayor.”

Mayor Richard Billington with Town Crier and Beadle, David Peters, whose father, grandfather and great grandfather have been town criers before him since 1911.

He welcomed the many new councillors and he reminded them that they were, “now part of the fabric of Guildford.” He cautioned them, adding that they will find local government to have “the engine of a lawn mower and the brakes of a Rolls Royce.”

Mayor Billington said that he wanted to be proposed and seconded by different party representatives, “to show how we can work together.”

His mayoral theme for the year is, “Supporting health in our community.”

He spoke movingly about encountering cancer in friends and his nominated charities reflected his experience. They are The Prostate Project, that supports the Royal Surrey County Hospital, St Luke’s Cancer Centre and Frimley Park Hospital in its efforts to detect and treat prostate cancer at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, particularly for children and young people with cancer.

Mayor Richard Billington at the Guildhall in the mayor making ceremony making his first address as mayor.

He will also continue to support The Mayor of Guildford’s Local Distress Fund.

Richard was accompanied by Lynda Billington, his wife, who will be the mayoress during his year in office. Lynda said: “I am really looking forward to working with Richard as the mayoress.”

Outgoing mayor, Mike Parsons, who lost his seat representing Shalford in last week’s council elections, said: “Being mayor was an outstanding opportunity to meet many fantastic people. People have been so generous for my nominated charities, Headway, Guildford Young Carers and the Mayor’s Local Distress Fund. We have raised over £50,000 in my year as mayor.”

Mayor Richard Billington leaving the Guildhall chamber at the end of the mayor making ceremony. He is followed by Deputy Mayor Cllr Marsha Moseley and preceded by the two sergeants at mace.

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Responses to Guildford Elects Its 603rd Mayor In A Traditional Guildhall Ceremony

  1. Marie Upson McGraw Reply

    May 9, 2019 at 12:41 am

    Thank you!

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