Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Anita not standing for mayor

MY piece in last week’s column on the future of the mayoralty in Lyme Regis caused much discussion and the current deputy mayor, Councillor Anita Williams, has written to me to make her own position crystal clear.

Anita, daughter of former Lyme councillor and ex-mayor Stan Williams, has impressed many with the manner she has carried out her duties as deputy to Sally Holman and has been approached by other councillors with a view to succeeding Sally in May.

It is disappointing to report, however, that Anita will not be allowing her name to go forward to become the first ever father-daughter to wear the mayoral chains – although she hopes that one day she may well do so.

Anita explained that when she took the role of deputy mayor it was on the understanding that she could not commit to being mayor as she did not know what her work commitments would be.

A qualified solicitor, Anita now works full time for in the legal department at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and on that basis she has confirmed that she will not be able to stand for the role of mayor this year.

As well as her day job, Anita and husband Keith are keen motor sport enthusiasts and are committed to volunteer work for around 15 weekends from mid-March to mid-November.
Anita said she was “hugely honoured” to have the opportunity to stand and to be asked to do so by others.

But she added: “I have always said that (as Dad said before me) I would only consider being mayor if I was in a position to carry out the role properly and as Lyme deserves.

“The town needs a good mayor and the town needs a mayor who can attend as many events as possible and who can represent Lyme both within and outside the town. It’s nice to have the deputy but it’s really the mayor’s chain that everyone wants and I do not want to be the mayor who did not attend anything.”

Anita went on to say that she would love to be mayor while her father was still around to see her, but added: “It is more important that Lyme has a mayor with the time to devote to the job.”

I am positive that Anita would have made a great First Citizen and no one would be more proud than Stan.

Although always a controversial character, often caused by his dogged insistence that Lyme should always come first, Stan was a very industrious mayor, rarely missing a local event and often with Anita by his side.

I was really impressed with how Anita and husband Keith supported the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Lyme last July and she was also a member of the plucky town council team that took part recently in the Great Christmas Pudding Race.

I am sure that her time will come – providing the mayoralty survives.

So who’s the smart money going on to succeed Sally Holman?  I’m not a betting man, but a friend of mine who likes a flutter or two has come up with the following odds:

Rikey Austin 5-1
Chris Clipson 8-1
Lucy Campbell 20-1

A good outside bet would be on Sally being given a third term.

But you know what they say? A fool and his money are easily parted!

A potent tool for marketing Lyme

IT WAS interesting to note from last week’s Tourism and Economic Development meeting that the Lyme Regis tourism website attracted nearly a quarter of a million visitors in 2012.

At the same time the committee has commissioned  a re-designed holiday guide, with 30,000 copies having been printed, and the decision was taken to refresh the website - - to reflect the new-look brochure.

All but 5,000 of the holiday guides are sent out to prospective visitors to Lyme and the website is now playing an equally crucial role in the marketing of our town.

I have no doubt that there will come a time, perhaps not for a few years yet, when the website will outstrip the brochure in attracting holidaymakers to Lyme.

But for the time being, the town council is right to run the two side-by-side and it makes eminent sense that from a design point of view they should complement one another.

Since taking over the running of the website, consultant Bob Brooker has done a brilliant job in delivering a very potent and effective marketing tool for Lyme Regis.

The town’s tourism operation also has a good following on the social networking sites, Facebook and Twitter, essential in this day and age to reach the widest possible audience in the increasingly competitive drive to attract more customers for Lyme. 

A fitting farewell for Barbara

AS expected, the funeral service for six-times mayor of Lyme Regis, Barbara Austin MBE, was one of the biggest seen in recent times at the parish church with an estimated 400 plus attending.

It was an emotional and fitting send-off for one of the town’s most respected and admired citizens, followed by a celebration of her life by family and friends down at The Pilot Boat which went on well into the evening.

As a friend of the family and having worked with Barbara on many projects in recent times, along with the Mayor, Sally Holman, I was given the honour of paying a tribute to Barbara’s work for Lyme as well as reading a statement from the family.

I have done a number of eulogies for some of the town’s leading citizens over the years but this was by far the most difficult. 

I just hope I did Barbara justice


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