New Mayor of Honiton: Cllr Vivienne Ash - acceptance speech

VIVIENNE Ash was installed as Mayor of Honiton during a time-honoured ceremony at St Rita's Conference Centre in the town last night (Monday). Her deputy is Councillor Peter Fleming. Cllr Ash said in her acceptance speech: Fellow Councillors, Honoured Gu

VIVIENNE Ash was installed as Mayor of Honiton during a time-honoured ceremony at St Rita's Conference Centre in the town last night (Monday).Her deputy is Councillor Peter Fleming.Cllr Ash said in her acceptance speech: "Fellow Councillors, Honoured Guests, family, friends, ladies and gentlemen. Firstly may I thank my proposer and seconder for their generous words."The civic year 2008-9 was defined by the tragic death of our Mayor, Chris Tratt, last November. He was a lovely man. I would like to pay tribute to his wife, Jean, for her courage and determination in carrying on as Mayoress; and to thank her family for their support."As I reflect on the past year, I am amazed at what the Council has achieved in spite of the difficult circumstances. The most significant event was making successful representations at the Tesco planning enquiry only a few days after Chris' death."All the Councillors deserve recognition for their hard work and support, Lyn for being a superb Town Clerk, the Council staff for doing an excellent job and the Town Crier for being a great ambassador for Honiton."Thanks also go to my colleagues at East Devon for being so helpful and to people in the town who have given me support and encouragement as well as valuable guidance on what matters to them."I truly love the town and East Devon. Honiton is such a wonderful place to live and work. I care passionately about preserving what defines Honiton, such as its distinctive High Street and independent shops. I also believe that we have to be progressive by continuing to improve the town and keeping it vibrant."The next year promises to be a productive one with the Council instigating and supporting a range of initiatives. These include such varied schemes as providing new allotments, supporting the nature reserve at Honiton Bottom and keeping up the pressure for safety improvements on the A35."Working in partnership with other authorities, surrounding parishes and local organisations is an important part of the drive forward. For example, dialogue with the surrounding parishes has thrown new light on the important role that Honiton plays in their lives. It has also made the Council more aware of the issues that matter to the parishes and the valuable contribution that they make to the town."We are developing a marketing strategy in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourist Information Centre. The aim is to promote Honiton and bring more people into the town to support our market, businesses and amenities."It has been my privilege to be Culture Champion at East Devon District Council for the past couple of years. I make no apologies for championing cultural activities, especially in these difficult economic times. It is my firm belief that participation in cultural and sporting activities enhances, and at times transforms, people's lives."I am, therefore, delighted that the council is introducing Sports Awards in the community to celebrate the talents of our young sports people and to say thank you to their mentors. It is also good news that the Development Trust is making significant progress in delivering much needed sports pitches in the town."We have excellent cultural facilities in the Allhallows Museum and the Thelma Hulbert Gallery and the dedicated people who run them. Also I hope everyone appreciates our wonderful community library and its staff. A big thank you to my friends there and the lively banter which ensues when I pay a visit once, twice, three times a day. "In my view, the key thing that is lacking in the town is a modern, purpose built Community Centre. Since becoming a Councillor I have believed passionately in, and campaigned for, such a centre. I am therefore thrilled that EDDC recently agreed to take the lead in driving this project through to fruition. If we could make a start on building the centre during my year of office, I would be a very happy lady."The council is making good progress in developing positive relationships with young people in our town. The Clerk has played a very active role in engaging with the local schools and setting a framework for developing a youth council. "Recently. Councillor Foster and I went and met the Executive Council at the Community College. We are grateful to student, Ziggy, who showed us around the modern facilities there, including the IT and music suites. It was heartening to hear how proud he is of the college and the achievements of his fellow students."Last week several Councillors visited Honiton Primary School. A group of pupils made an impressive presentation on why they want a multi-purpose games area, for use by both the school and the local community. The Town Council will, I am sure, be doing all it can to support this project."There has also been involvement with our younger citizens through a range of activities such as the excellent regeneration work that is being done at The Glen. The Council is totally committed to progressing this partnership in the year ahead."The council needs to engage with the whole community. We are exploring new ways of doing this because we realise that not everyone wants to come to meetings - I wonder why! For example, this Saturday we are taking a stall outside St Paul's Church to chat with people, hear their views and inform them of what the Council is doing."I would like to congratulate Councillor Peter Fleming on being elected Deputy Mayor. Thank you Peter for taking on this commitment. I look forward to working with you and your wife Valerie."Roy and I never imagined we would get to this position but we have done so by working together in partnership. We feel honoured to be able to work together and serve Honiton in the year ahead. "Thank you so much for giving us this wonderful opportunity.