CONSERVATIVE councillor Michael Smith has taken up office as mayor of Woking.
Horsell East and Woodham stalwart Cllr Smith succeeds Ken Howard as council ambassador after successfully defending his seat at the council election this month.
He was nominated by his wife Cllr Anne Murray and seconded by Liberal Democrat Cllr Denzil Coulson.
There were no other nominations at the mayor-making ceremony held at the civic offices last Thursday.
Lib-Dem Cllr Anne Roberts will assist him in his duties for the next 12 months in her role as deputy mayor.
Cllr Smith, who was first elected as an independent councillor for the ward of Knaphill in 1997, could not hide his delight at finally becoming mayor of the town he was born and raised in.Macmillan is a charity that appeals to me because it doesn’t just help people who are ill, it helps those who are suffering because their family member is ill
He said: “I’ve been on the council for more than 15 years and I’ve put off being nominated for the mayoral role quite a few times, but really thought this year was going to be a special one.
“I am looking forward to the role enormously and it’s difficult to say what I’m looking forward to the most.
“It will be quite exciting to see the Olympic cycle races coming through the borough but that will all be over in a flash.
“That is exciting but I think the enthusiasm of people to go and watch is good.
“We are looking forward to the village shows and Christmas Day when we will be going for lunch at the Moorcroft Centre where the Lions Club organise a lunch for those who would otherwise be on their own – that is the kind of thing that appeals to us.”
Aside from his wide-ranging political roles, Cllr Smith has also acted as a non-executive board member of several health authorities.
He has chaired many independent reviews of patient care, is a member of the council of governors of the Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust and the Surrey Borders Mental Health Trust.
He is also a school governor at The Winston Churchill School, whose headteacher, David Smith, was invited to the mayor- making ceremony by Cllr Smith.
The mayor’s chosen charity is Macmillan cancer support, which provides medical and financial support for those directly and indirectly affected by the disease.
“Many mayors have chosen about three or four charities but that just dilutes what you are doing because people want to know what they are giving to,” he explained.
“Macmillan is a charity that appeals to me because it doesn’t just help people who are ill, it helps those who are suffering because their family member is ill.
“That is the very attractive thing about them. If the main wage earner in the family is ill with cancer then Macmillan will help the family claim all the benefits that they are entitled to and can even offer financial assistance to keep the family together.”
Cllr Coulson said the new mayor fits the bill perfectly, and insisted he had no hesitation in backing a colleague from a
He said: “The mayor’s role is never meant to be political and Mike has always been someone who will listen to arguments before he makes a policy and that is why I nominated him.
“Mike is a surprising fellow and he’s going to have a huge task on his shoulders this year.
“I wish him every success because it’s so important to highlight the benefits of the jubilee and the Olympic Games, especially in a time of austerity when people are struggling – they need something to be positive about and to cheer about.
“If the parties can actually work together for that purpose then I think it will be very good. We will definitely be supporting Mike, 100 per cent.”