Mayor reflects on a corker of a year

Mayor reflects on a corker of a year

Katherine Denham

Mayor reflects on a corker of a year

The Mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead, Cllr Andrew Jenner, is reaching the end of his year in office. Reporter KATHERINE DENHAM asked him about his year as the borough's first citizen.

WHAT has been the funniest moment while you have been mayor?

"Usually the funniest moments are with children. We often hold question-and-answer sessions with schools.

"In one session a young boy asked if I had slaves. Another funny moment was when a group of elderly people at a tea party thought my wife was Theresa May."

WHAT has been the scariest moment?

"There are moments that have been more apprehensive than scary. Sometimes organisers don’t tell me I'm expected to give a speech before the event, so I don’t have a speech prepared. It's fortunate that I’ve got a good memory because there have been numerous times when I’ve had to learn as much as I can about an organisation before I get on stage. That can get quite scary, particularly when there are hundreds of people waiting to hear you speak.

"But I’ve learnt to listen to people intently and ask them numerous questions."

HOW many ribbons to you think you have cut?

"I have about 900 engagements a year so I must have cut hundreds. I have developed a ribbon-cutting skill now though so I know how to hold the ribbon for the photographers and snip it in one cut."

WHO gave you the best cake?

"We went to a church event held to encourage elderly people out of their home as they can get quite lonely. They all made their own cakes and they were delicious. I have eaten so much cake over the past year.

"I’m not suggesting they do it here but in some places they hold a 'weigh the mayor' event where they do a weigh-in at the beginning and the end of a councillor’s year as mayor. I think I've put on about half a stone while I've been mayor."

WHAT has been the most memorable event?

"I had lunch in the Queen’s quarters. There were only about 40 people there, including the Queen, so it was quite intimate.

"There were about 14 sets of knives and forks laid out in a semi-circle because they wouldn't all fit in a row on the table. I was a bit baffled about which to use so I thought the best thing to do was to copy the Queen, but she only nibbles at her food!"

WHAT did you learn about Windsor and Maidenhead that you didn’t know before?

"Even though I have been a councillor since 2000 and I have been raising money for charity for 22 years, during my time as mayor I have visited so many other charities that I didn’t even know existed and they have opened my eyes to the number of volunteers in our borough.

"They are truly unsung heroes that do so much for the homeless, old people and young people. None of them want the limelight, but sometimes I wish these people would get more recognition."

WHAT has been your highlight?

"There was a man whose 100th birthday it was. He was so chuffed when I put my mayor’s chains over his shoulders. I said to him 'I bet you never thought you’d be mayor?' He kept saying thank you for coming, but I told him I should be thanking him for sharing his birthday with me."

WHAT has your experience as mayor been like overall?

"It has been an absolute honour and privilege to be first citizen of the Royal Borough. "When I look at the list of mayors and I’m on that list I feel like I’ve left my mark in some way."

HOW would you like your time as mayor to be remembered?

"I just hope people thought I was approachable, friendly, and a ‘mayor of the people’. One woman who reads the paper a lot said I was the face of Maidenhead, which made me laugh."

Cllr Jenner's last weekend as mayor will see him officially open the 30th Lions Club of Maidenhead Duck Derby on Sunday, May 18.

The new mayor, Cllr Cllr Richard Kellaway (Con, Bisham and Cookham), will be formally appointed at a borough meeting on Tuesday, May 20.

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