mayor of woking

THE new Mayor of Woking will be raising money for two local charities that support people in distress during her year in office.

Beryl Hunwicks was elected unanimously as the borough’s 46th first citizen at the council’s mayor-making meeting last Thursday evening.

The new Mayor of Woking Cllr Beryl Hunwicks

She announced that her charities are Your Sanctuary and the Women’s Support Centre, both based in Woking.

YourSanctuary supports people affected by domestic abuse in North West Surrey and runs two safe houses for women and their children.

The Women’s Support Centre helps women to avoid becoming involved with the criminal justice system and supports whose who have been released from prison.

“These are charities that I believe work in synergy with each other,” said Cllr Hunwicks, a retired teacher who has been a Conservative councillor for Horsell for the last 12 years.

“Both are mainly services for women, although YourSanctuary is not exclusively so, which help women through crisis situations which gives hope to whole families in distress.”

Cllr Hunwicks, who has taken over the role from Liberal Democrat Cllr Will Forster, added: “Our voluntary sector is nowadays needed more than ever. They truly are the unsung heroes of Woking and I am excited about getting a closer look at the work undertaken by these groups.

For the full story get the 23 May edition of the News & Mail

LOCAL heroes among Woking’s community were celebrated at the Mayor’s Civic Reception recently.

The event was held at the HG Wells Conference and Events Centre, where the Mayor of Woking, Cllr Will Forster, announced Woking’s Eminent Citizen for 2019 and the winners of this year’s Young People’s Civic Award Scheme.

Award winners Kye Jarred, Jaylen Simons and Grace Campbell receive their awards from the Mayor

Liz Pocknell was presented with the Eminent Citizen award in recognition for her outstanding contribution to Guiding and Scouting across the borough.

Woking District has enjoyed many notable achievements since Liz was appointed District Commissioner, including Jamborees in Sweden and Japan, creating a Special Needs Unit and now boasts 1,200 young people and 350 leaders.

The Young People’s Civic Award Scheme aims to reward young people who make an outstanding contribution to the community whose work or achievements may not normally be recognised. The judging panel included representatives from Woking Borough Council, Woking Youth Council, Surrey Police, Sport Woking, and the voluntary sector.

Kye Jarred received the Outstanding Contribution to the Community award for his work raising money in support of Woking-based charity, York Road Project, supporting people who are facing or experiencing homelessness in the community.

Among other achievements, he created “Mission Kyndness” in order to continue his fundraising for the charity and increase awareness. Kye raised £500 to buy 100 £5 Greggs vouchers so that people on the streets could buy a cup of coffee and something to eat.

Eminent Citizen Liz Poknell is presented her award

Jaylen Simons received the Outstanding Achievement award. Jaylen attends Woking College and is an outstanding student who has balanced her study and incredible academic achievement alongside community work and her support for the College’s Student Union.

Jaylen has given up a great deal of her time to tutor a Syrian refugee, teaching English as a foreign language and helping her student both academically and aiding her assimilation into British life. Demonstrating her patience and understanding, she has helped her student to read and write in English – and also how to use slang and send text messages.

A highly motivated, dedicated and enthusiastic student, Jaylen is also in the process of completing her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.

“It was an honour to present awards to these exemplary members of our community, who have consistently gone above and beyond what is expected of them in their school, work or private lives, to help others overcome adversity. They are a true inspiration to us all,” said Woking Mayor, Cllr Will Forster.

Each winner received a glass trophy, certificate, and vouchers including cinema tickets for two people, sponsored by The Ambassadors, and a £20 Woking Shopping gift card, sponsored by Woking Shopping.

For the full story get the 9 May edition of the News & Mail

ELECTED - new mayor of Woking Michael Smith

ELECTED - new mayor of Woking Michael Smith

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
rival party.

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.”