Councillor Glen Lambert was officially made Henley Mayor at the Mayor Making ceremony at the Town Hall today.
Glen who works in IT and moved to Henley 10 years ago stood as an Henley Residents Group (HRG) candidate for election in May 2015 and missed out on becoming a Councillor by just 4 votes. Subsequently not deterred he decisively won the South Ward bi-election in May 2017 by over 400 votes. Glen is married to Anna and has two children Syd and Julia.
Councillor Ian Reissmann proposed Glen as the new Mayor, he said, “In politics nowadays, experts who rely on facts and evidence and consider them carefully, are somewhat out of fashion. In that sense (and I mean this as a compliment) Glen is not really a politician in the modern sense. Glen is a logical thinker who looks for evidence and facts before making up his mind. He also listens carefully to others to make sure everything necessary has been considered before making up his mind. There’s also an inner strength to Glen. He is not only passionate but determined and not easily put off. ”
Glen said, “I joined the Henley Residents Group just over 3 years ago because I wanted to put something back into Henley and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with such a strong team of dedicated, diverse, people who genuinely like one another and work so hard for the good of the town we all live in and love. In the year since I became a Councillor, I have got to know another dedicated, hard-working and supportive team, our Town Council Staff, without whom none of our work would be possible.”
“Henley Town Council has a very busy year ahead as we begin our rewrite of the neighbourhood plan, launch the new bus service, produce a new Transport Strategy and launch a number of initiatives to improve air quality. As Mayor, and chair of the Council, I am optimistic that we can work together on these cross-party projects and all benefit from a more harmonious council chamber.”
Glen has chosen to support Henley Music School and Gillotts School as his Mayoral charities and the third is an initiative to start a Dementia club after Bluebells at the Christ Church Centre recently closed its doors due to Oxfordshire County Council funding cuts.
Councillor Ken Arlett was appointed Deputy Mayor and was proposed by Councillor Jane Smewing who said, “As well as former Mayor, Councillor Arlett has served two previous terms as Deputy Mayor – it would be hard to find anyone better qualified to take on the role. He brings long experience as a Councillor – a glutton for punishment, he has served 17 years on Henley Town Council and 12 years as a District Councillor.”
Councillor Ken Arlett gave a vote of thanks to outgoing Mayor, Councillor Kellie Hinton. He said, “It is my pleasure to second the proposal for the ‘vote of thanks for our retiring Mayor’. This is something I have asked to do, rather than been asked to do. Although I attended many Town Council meetings as a member of the public, I have always noticed Kellie’s enthusiasm, especially with items such as Britain in Bloom and the Primary Schools in Henley. Kellie, you have blossomed as Mayor, and have made a lasting impression on the many organisations that you have either attended, or been involved with in the past year.”
Afterwards Kellie said, “At the start of my year I promised to focus on a few things. Firstly local schools. I chose the four local state primary schools as my charity this year – not just to raise much needed funds but also to raise awareness of the increasing struggles they face. Normally the out-going Mayor would be presenting cheques at this point. I have decided to present them individually to each school over the next few weeks.”
“Naturally, after a long time as Chair of Henley in Bloom, the Parks team and our Recreations and Amenities committee are where my skill sets and interest lie within the council. In my acceptance speech last year I mentioned one person in particular – our Parks Services Manager Gareth Bartle. It is with deep personal sadness that I tell you Gareth was diagnosed with terminal cancer some six months ago and on Friday 4th May finished his journey, peacefully at Sue Ryder in Nettlebed. Needless to say this has been a very hard and emotional end to a happy and successful year as Mayor but as a councillor I will continue to do my best by our outdoor staff and all we hold dear in our outdoor and green spaces. ”
Glen ended his acceptance speech by saying, “We have spoken to several former Mayors about their experiences and all have talked fondly of their Mayoral terms. The groups and individuals they met, the new experiences they enjoyed, the stories they’ve been told, the things they were able to achieve and the money they raised for charity – overwhelmingly positive memories. Anna and I are humbled and excited by this opportunity.”
After accepting his Deputy Mayor chain of office, Councillor Ken Arlett said that he hoped that the two political parties would work together better over the next twelve months. This unfortunately didn’t last long as during the final section of the meeting the parties couldn’t agree on the election of the members of Town Council Standing Committees which were voted through at the last Full Council Meeting. The new Mayor, Councillor Glen Lambert at the start of the discussion had to ask Councillor Julian Brookes to sit down as he hadn’t finishing speaking. Julian Brookes, Leader of the Conservatives proposed that Councillor Donna Crook should be moved from the Town & Community Committee to the Recreations & Amenities Committee. The original proposal of 9 councillors on each committee was however voted through.
Not a great ending to what should have been a Mayoral celebration event.
Councillor Julian Brookes commented afterwards, “The motion I raised was to adopt the standing committee composition agreed with HRG on Friday afternoon. The issue is one of integrity.
The Standing Committees are the work horses of the council, and their make-up is important for the progress of the town. Cllr Reissmann and I as the leaders of our respective councillor groups sat down in the Town Clerk’s office Friday afternoon to sort out the standing committee memberships. We came to an agreement which Cllr Reissmann described in his subsequent confirmation email as “fair, reasonable and flexible”. When Henley Conservatives say we want to cooperate – we mean it!
We want to achieve the best for the town by consensus, HRG clearly do not share the Henley Conservative approach. Monday morning HRG reneged on our agreement and sent by email a new list of the Standing Committees. This morning I proposed the motion to adopt the original agreement which HRG declined confirming their lack of integrity.”