Councillor Bill Lewis admitted it was a huge honour as well as an enormous responsibility to be elected Rugby’s new mayor during the May 16 annual meeting of the borough council.
The rugby-loving former engineer was invested by the outgoing mayor Cllr Tom Mahoney (Lab Benn) in the ceremony that saw Cllr Deepah Roberts (Con Dunsmore) elected as his deputy.
Cllr Lewis (Lib Dem Rokeby and Overslade) was watched by around 25 friends and family both in the council chamber and in the public gallery as he took the chain of office before declaring: “It’s happened!”
He added: “It’s a huge honour for me and an enormous responsibility too and I look forward to it with some trepidation.
“It is customary for a mayor to select a theme and I have decided to use the word ‘respect’. It means being considerate, thoughtful and polite and applies to how we treat each other, the communities that we live in and the environment we share.
“An example of respect is truly listening to someone speak which doesn’t always happen in public forums.”
Cllr Lewis named three charities that he planned to support during the year: Rugby Autism Network, Rugby Dementia Support and New Directions – a charity based in the town that helps adults with learning disabilities.
He added: “The three charities base much of what they do on respect. In addition, this is mental health awareness week and these three charities have a link to mental health so it is very appropriate that I have chosen them as my mayor’s charities.”
Cllr Lewis had been proposed by Cllr Jerry Roodhouse (Lib Dem Paddox) who listed some of the new mayor’s long list of achievements including his role in ‘Rugby’s War on Waste’ and his fundraising.
Cllr Roodhouse added: “Locally elected councillors hold a unique position – they are the glue that holds the social fabric of the communities they represent, giving leadership and stability which is needed now more than ever to stop ever growing divisions.”
Cllr Lisa Parker (Ind Bilton) seconded the proposal and added: “I really do admire you – your dedication to public service and your residents is second to none. That dedication has made everyone in this chamber up their game.”