Rory is Appointed New Mayor of Henley

Councillor Rory Hunt was invested as Henley Mayor today at a Mayor Making ceremony at the Town Hall.

Rory aged 30 and now the youngest ever Henley Mayor was elected to the Council last May.  He grew up in between Sussex and London and moved to Henley in 2019.  He studied Accountancy and Finance at Bangor University specialising in government and law particularly within the EU.  After leaving university, he was offered a place on the Civil Service’s Fast Stream four-year programme with secondments in the Cabinet, Foreign and Commonwealth Offices and Ministry of Justice.  During Covid he worked in the Cabinet Office in the civil contingency secretariat.  He now works in the Cabinet Office in a commercial crisis management role.  He is a life member of the Henley Women’s Regatta and volunteers at Henley and Leander Rowing Clubs.  In his spare time, Rory likes to go and watch the Hawks play rugby and spending time on his boat on the river.   His Mum and Dad, Lindsay and Ian Hunt will Rory’s consorts.

Councillor Glen Lambert proposed Councillor Hunt as Mayor, he said, “When I met Rory it was clear that he shared the same passion for Henley as we all do with a particularly fondness for our river, the Regatta and our rowing clubs.  I met Rory first at the rowing club and just after a few months, Rory’s infectious positivity and enthusiasm for the sport convinced me to go out on the water and try sculling.  Since joining Henley Town Council Rory has proved that he is hard working volunteer, engaging wherever he feels his skills and experience will help the Council and worked hard to plug the gaps of his knowledge.  Rory’s same dedication, once again at very short notice stepped up to be Deputy Mayor.  I have no doubt that he will work tirelessly to the role of Mayor and make the most of his year to support the things he is passionate about.  Rory is a man of exceptional character, he is warm, approachable, devoted to his friends and family, passionate about sport and generous to a fault and wise beyond his years.”

In his speech, new Mayor Rory said, “I would like the theme of my year as Mayor to be a year of service. It is the 80th anniversary of D-Day this year; we are only here today due to the sacrifices of those on that fateful day, as well as many others. We all owe so much to those in the military, but also to those in other areas of public service. We owe a debt to those in the NHS who sacrifice so much to keep us well, those who educate our children, those in the emergency services who keep us safe and, of course, to all those volunteers in the town who selflessly give up their time to make our town a better place. We are all blessed to live in such a beautiful, historic place with a great community. However, this would all be lost without those willing to serve. One of the great features of Henley is that it is very much a community town, with over 200 service organisations and charities present, from Rotary to Lions, Nomad, the over 60’s club, all the churches and many more. Thank you for all your great service and I will also endeavour to help where I can.”

“I am looking forward to leading the first full year of our strategic plan. There are plenty of excellent projects that will be worked on this year, too many to list now in full. Highlights will include the extension of our bus service to 5 days, our new tourism strategy, keeping our streets clean and our council assets free of graffiti and, of course, the opening of our excellent new playgrounds and basketball court. I will also work hard alongside my colleagues on the council to ensure that we maintain prudence with public funds and avoid the fate of other councils whose finances are suffering.”

“Furthermore, I will also do all I can to try and pressure Thames Water and the Environment Agency to stop polluting the river Thames. The river having become an open sewer is appalling and not something we should tolerate. Sewage being dumped untreated should be a last resort – if allowed at all – and it has become routine. Thames Water have failed us all with their illegal actions, putting profits above communities, and the EA has woefully failed to hold them to account. I call upon this Council to pass a motion of no confidence in Thames Water and call for its renationalisation. I will table this at the next full council meeting, and I have every confidence this Council will support me doing so.”

Rory announced that his Mayoral charities would be the RAF Benevolent Fund, Bluebells Dementia Care Centre and the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary.

Councillor Ian Reissmann, gave a vote of thanks to outgoing Mayor, Councillor Kellie Hinton, he said, “I’m delighted to give a vote of thanks to Councillor Kellie Hinton as outgoing Mayor.  Kellie’s has the enthusiasm of youth, despite that she is a very experienced Councillor and she combines her youthful enthusiasm with a major voice of experience so much so she is going to have the great honour of becoming Chair of South Oxfordshire District Council in the forthcoming year.  In the theory the Mayor’s have very few prowess but in practice many responsibilities.  At every Council meeting the list of Kellie’s activities is a tribute to her energy and commitments to the role of Mayor.”

Councillor Kellie Hinton became Henley Mayor in October last year after Councillor Sarah Miller had to step down after being diagnosed with breast cancer and Councillor Hunt became Deputy Mayor.

Councillor Kellie Hinton said, “Firstly I would like to pay tribute to Sarah.  When I was here last year I nominated Sarah and I really truly believed that she would be best for the role and I was excited to be her Deputy.  The year started strong, Sarah in all her fabulousness turned to everything.  As you know she was diagnosed with cancer last summer.  At first we thought this was fine. We got on with it and I thought I can cover for Sarah as when needed but the time came for Sarah to quite rightly focus on her health and her family.  Wow what a seven months it has been.  There has been so much going on and so much to be proud of I don’t want to miss anything out.  I enjoyed everything.  I spoke to so many young people and it has touched my heart to get to know them again.  The young children I met last time I was Mayor are now older children at Gillotts.  They have inspired me in so many ways and I am grateful for the letters, cards and the artwork that has been sent to the Council.  We have so many organisations in Henley all doing amazing and tremendous work but perhaps the most peaceful moments of this year I have found in our church, St Mary’s.  For a non-religious person, this may seem strange, but whether it is attending a concert, a church service, I found real peace and tranquillity within those walls.”

Afterwards Kellie presented two cheques of £1913 to Laura Reineke from the Henley Community Hub and Terry Dudeney of Henley Branch of Parkinson’s UK.  The money was raised from the Living Advent Calendar, Santa Fun Run, Santa Grotto and Civic Dinner.

Councillor Tom Buckley was voted as Deputy Mayor.



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