At the Town Hall this morning over 200 invited guests saw Stefan Gawrysiak officially be elected Mayor of Henley for 2013-2014.
Councillor Kellie Hinton nominated Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak to be Mayor by saying, “Stefan has been an active member of the community, helping both the young and old people of Henley and has been a great support to the Mayor over the last year in his role as Deputy Mayor. Councillor Ian Reismann seconded this nomination and added, “Stefan cares a lot about Henley and is a ‘true’ Henley Councillor and resident.”
Stefan then went on to thank the retiring Mayor, Councillor Liz Hodgkin for all the fantastic work she has done over the last year. He said, “I would like to be able to emulate Liz’s energy that she has shown, she’s like a double strength Duracell battery.” Councillor Pam Phillips also gave a vote of thanks to the retiring Mayor, “Liz has had an exciting and eventful year which included the Queen’s Visit and the Olympic events. She is a fantastic Ambassador for Henley and her passion and enthusiasm are infectious.” She added that Liz was like a stick of rock, “She has Henley-on-Thames all the way through her.” Liz Hodgkin then went on to say that she would like to thank everybody for their support over the last year and made special mentions of Hannah Fearn, a Henley Army Cadet who has been her escort at events during the year and to her husband Richard who she celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary with last year.
Stefan’s family and partner Catherine were at the ceremony and he thanked them for their support. He said that his father Joseph, who was a Polish Prisoner of War, would have been very proud of him today.
As the new Mayor, Stefan is looking forward to his next year in office. He said, “Henley is very special with its natural beauty and the river but what makes it really special is the people of Henley who get involved in the community. There are over 200 voluntary organisations in and around Henley. There are lots of people who start something and really make the difference.” Stefan made a special mention to Liz Smith who founded Henley Good Neighbours in 2011 which helps and supports isolated older people. Stefan’s plans for the year draw on Henley’s town motto which is “Always Community”. The Mayor also said that there were lots of young people in Henley doing some great things and he announced that he would be presenting a Mayor’s Youth Award for Excellence in the Community at next year’s Mayor Making ceremony.
He then went on to highlight some of the events and plans for the next year which include the National in Bloom competition, the 50th anniversary of Keep Britain Tidy, the Henley and Harpsden Neighbourhood Plan, Music on the Meadows on 1 June, the Coronation River Pageant on 2 June and the installation of the Mermaid statue on Red Lion lawn on 6 June. He hopes to see the first digger arrive to start the building of the new Townlands hospital and the building of the new Skatepark on Makins Recreation Ground which he said “the young people of Henley really deserve this new facility.” He encouraged everyone to get involve and ‘Make a Difference’.
The Mayor’s charities for this year are Sue Ryder, Age UK, Chiltern Centre for Disabled Children, Headway and Riverside Counselling. He said, “I chose these charities because I have a personal connection with them and these charities provide a wonderful support network for families.”
The Deputy Mayor was also elected this morning; Councillor Martin Akehurst who was nominated by Councillor Jeni Wood and seconded by Councillor Dieter Hinke.