On Monday, May 11th, 2020, I was elected Deputy Mayor of Beverley, with my husband, Graham, as my Consort.
L-R Back row: Deputy Town Clerk Matt Snowden; Graham Johnson and Cllr Linda Johnson (LD) in Deputy Mayoral robes and chains; Town Clerk Helen Watson; Town Clerk Admin Assistant Libby Woodhouse;
Next row down: Previous Mayor Cllr Duncan Jack (Ind); Cllr David Tucker (LD); Cllr Ann Willis (Lab); Cllr Chloe Hopkin (Lab);
Next row down: Cllr Denis Healy (LD Leader); Cllr Margaret Pinder (Lab Leader); Cllr Clare Wildey (Lab); Alex Moor -Mayor’s Consort and Cllr Tom Astell, (LD) Mayor;
Bottom Row: Cllr Ian Gow (Ind); Cllr Peter Astell (LD); Cllr David Boynton (LD). Absent Cllr David Horsley (LD)
Due to the pandemic coronavirus outbreak which causes Covid-19 and has caused the death of thousands of people worldwide (although the UK has been one of the worse-hit countries), it was impossible for Beverley Town Council to meet in its historic Guild Hall to elect a Mayor and Deputy for the year. Fortunately, Zoom came to the rescue! Tom Astell is the youngest Mayor ever, we think, in the long line of Mayors who have been elected since 1573. Tom is the 417th Mayor of Beverley. Tom stood unopposed, having held the post of Deputy Mayor 2019/20.
You can see the full list of Mayors here
Beverley Town Council was one of the first councils in the country to adopt the use of Zoom to hold council meetings after the March 23rd lockdown, when residents were advised to ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS. Save Lives’. Despite legislation not having been passed, Councillors were keen to ensure democracy was upheld. Other councils passed day-to-day control of the council to their Town Clerk, but Beverley Town Councillors felt that they had been elected to make decisions and it was a dereliction of their duty to pass the responsibility on to the staff, capable as they are of running the council.
In a normal year, without social distancing in the street and food outlets, and the rule to not meet anyone outside of your household or travel far from your home, with only 1 hour of exercise a day allowed, both the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor would be busy. Unfortunately, until social distancing and meeting rules are relaxed, the Civic Calendar with its Civic Dinners, event openings, concerts and appearances is looking very empty and the gown and chains for both the Mayor and Deputy sit locked away in Beverley Town Council offices.