Re-elected Mayor of Marlow Suzanne Brown ready for public weigh-in

Re-elected Mayor of Marlow Suzanne Brown ready for public weigh-in

Lucy Golding

Re-elected Mayor of Marlow Suzanne Brown ready for public weigh-in

A public weigh-in will be one of the first annual duties undertaken by Suzanne Brown, re-elected as the mayor of Marlow for the second year.

The tradition, unique to the Wycombe District, spans back to medieval times and will compare Suzanne's weight to what it was this time last year.

Suzanne was re-elected for the position on Tuesday, May 6 at the Marlow annual parish meeting which she says she is once again 'wowed' to be chosen for, despite the occasional bizarre engagement.

Carried out in front of a crowd, the weigh-in is one of six appointments Suzanne will attend on Saturday alone (which also includes opening the Marlow May Fayre), and she's remarkably high-spirited about it.

"It's to see if you have lived off the fat of the land, it is a bit of a pantomime," said the South Place resident, who doesn't get as many free lunches as people think a mayor does.

She added: "If you haven't put on weight they take their hats off and if you have they all boo and jeer."

Saturday's engagements are just the first of what Suzanne estimates to be more than 300 duties she will carry out in a year in addition to chairing more than 25 Marlow Town Council meetings.

And it isn't even her full-time job, in fact it isn't even paid although expenses are provided. 

The 50-year-old makes a living running a lettings agency and also spends three hours a day managing Age Concern in Glade Road, where she works to co-ordinate its 110 volunteers.

With a background in IT, local government was hardly something of a childhood dream.

"I had not aspirations whatsoever to get into the council," said Suzanne, who grew up near Great Missenden.

She added: "I was persuaded by Richard Scott, who was then mayor, it was at a dinner and he said I was a good organiser and that I should be a councillor."

"I thought he meant counsellor, because I am quite mad."

After observing her first council meeting where she couldn't believe how quiet everyone was, Suzanne thought she might be able to liven things up and in 2007 took up a seat herself.

Six years later she was first elected as mayor, which so far she has described as being 'the experience of a lifetime.'

During her first year in the position, in which she took over from Jocelyn Towns, Suzanne has worked with the council on projects including a joint scheme with Marlow supermarkets to reduce plastic bag usage and has helped police by implementing anti-shoplifting initiative 'Shop Watch'.

She has also raised thousands of pounds for her chosen charities which last year were Marlow Age Concern and Marlow Rowing Club.

This year's charities are yet to be announced.

And the real perks of the job?

Apart from getting to kiss Tom Chambers on the top of a double decker bus as part of the Christmas Switch-on and Shop event, swan-upping in July will always be remembered as her favourite day out. 

"It was the most incredible experience," said Suzanne, whose hobbies include golf and spending time on the river.

"You don't normally get the opportunity to be that close."

And the mayor certainly could not fish signets out of the Thames without sporting one of her 22 decadent hats, which she always selects before co-ordinating her outfits and never vice-versa.

She said: "Hats have been my signature ."

"Everywhere I go if I am not wearing my hat people ask where it is," added Suzanne who often feels like the public is hoping either her hat will blow off or that she will 'fall in the river'.

Over the next year Suzanne's vision for the town is greater still, with her key goal to establish a 'looking after your neighbour scheme,' in every Marlow road.

"The main concern is that a lot of people are getting missed.

"If you have people in a street looking after and watching out for each other that is far better - so you know if your neighbour has lost their job or had an accident or a fall.

"It will take some doing because we will need a volunteer in every road."

She is also in the early stages of working with a group of volunteers to set up a food bank, to save Marlow families in need from travelling to High Wycombe.

"Just because this is an affluent town doesn't mean everyone can afford food."

The annual meeting, held on Tuesday, May 6 at Court Garden House in Pound Lane and attended by more than 50 members of the public, also saw Cllr Bob Johnson re-elected as deputy mayor.

Suzanne thanked the public and fellow councillors for their support during the winter floods and has asked residents to put forward their views with suggestions for how Marlow could be improved.

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