In view of the current lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Government has recently changed the law to allow councils to not only hold ‘virtual meetings’, but also to dispense with the need to hold an annual meeting this year. The Annual Meeting, which is normally held in May each year, deals with the election of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor for the forthcoming municipal year, which begins with the Annual Meeting and runs until the next Annual Meeting the following May.

Following discussions with our current Mayor (Cllr Richard Billington) and Deputy Mayor (Cllr Marsha Moseley), the Deputy Mayor-elect (Cllr Dennis Booth), and the political group leaders on the Council, we will not be holding our Annual “Mayor Making” Meeting this year, which was scheduled for Wednesday 13 May. This means that Cllrs Billington and Moseley will continue as Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Guildford until May 2021 when the next Annual Meeting will be held.

Whilst the Council could hold the Annual Meeting as a virtual meeting, it was felt that it would be unfair on the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor who, because of the lockdown, would be unable to attend the many community events and civic engagements that they would normally attend for a potentially significant part of the mayoral year.  This would have a detrimental impact on fundraising for the new Mayor’s charities and would also prevent the new Deputy Mayor from gaining a practical understanding of the mayoral role before he was scheduled to become Mayor in May 2021.

The Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Richard Billington says:

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time as Mayor and look forward to supporting and helping our communities and charities for another year. I have seen first-hand how difficult it has been for everyone because of the current situation, but it has also been heart-warming to see how community spirit is flourishing throughout our borough. Moving forward, our local charities will need our support more than ever and I look forward to helping with that in whatever way I can. I am delighted to announce that over my 2019-2020 Mayoral year we have raised over £28,000 and I would like to thank all of those who have supported the Mayor’s charities this year. The Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity, The Prostate Project and The Mayor of Guildford’s Local Distress Fund will all benefit from the generosity and kindness of you all.”

During the Mayor’s 2020-2021 year his focus will be to support any local charities that have been hit hard due to the Coronavirus.

The Deputy Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Marsha Moseley says:

“We have seen an incredible response and effort from our communities here in Guildford which has been amazing to see. Our residents have rallied together and shown fantastic community spirit to help one another. I am so proud to see the response that the key workers and people of Guildford have given during this pandemic, keeping us safe and healthy. I am excited to become Mayor in 2021 and carry on the terrific work that the current Mayor and his predecessors have carried out.”

Dr Colin Stokes MBE, co-founder of The Prostate Project, said:

“We were amazed at the diversity of fundraising activity during the year and were bowled over by the sum raised. This will make a big contribution to the Prostate Project activities. Giving men a better chance of beating prostate cancer remains essential. Even in the middle of a coronavirus outbreak, men will still need our continued efforts. This is so true of the whole of the Royal Surrey County Hospital, as well. They are in need of ongoing support and I am sure are just as excited as we are at the input from Richard, his wife and all his team. Thank you so very much.”