Councillor Beverley Harding was chosen as the 41st Mayor of Surrey Heath at the Surrey Heath Borough Council Annual Meeting on 15 May.
Cllr Beverley Harding has lived in the borough of Surrey Heath for 28 years, 22 years in Camberley and six in Bisley. She and her husband Malcolm have run their own independent garage and MOT testing station for the past 34 years. Beverley has looked after all the finances, sales and marketing of the business. She gained her accountancy qualifications whilst working for various local authorities including Surrey County Council. She has served on the External Partnerships Committee, Leisure and Environment Committee, Joint Staff Committee, Licensing Committee and Planning Committee, where she has been Vice Chairman.
Beverley and Malcolm have three children; two girls and a boy and three young granddaughters. Malcolm will be supporting Beverley as her Consort during her Mayoral year and will be using his vintage 1932 Riley Stelvio at some Mayoral occasions.
The Mayor will be raising money for The Lisa May Foundation Opens in a new window as her chosen charity. This charity was founded by fellow Councillor John May, whose daughter Lisa tragically lost her life in the Thailand Tsunami in 2004. It began as a charity to help victims of natural disasters and has now extended to become an 'umbrella organisation' for local smaller charities.
The new mayor said: "I feel very honoured and privileged to be elected as the Mayor of Surrey Heath. I hope to be of service to the people of the borough, including community groups, voluntary services, schools and colleges and the business sector. My aim will be to contribute to the borough wherever I can and I will try my very best to be a good ambassador for Surrey Heath!"
The deputy Mayor this year will be Councillor Bob Paton.
The word "Mayor" and "Major" derive from the same Latin word, Magnus, meaning great. The office of Mayor, together with the Domesday Book and the feudal system, were brought to this country by the Normans as such an office had existed on the continent at least since the fifth century.
The office of Head of the Corporation is as old as the particular Borough itself, but in many towns the name of "Mayor" for this official is, comparatively speaking, an innovation which was introduced by the Municipal Corporation Act 1835.
1199 The first "Mayor Town" in England, Thetford, established (although the City of London Mayoralty dates from 1192).
Middle Ages Position similar in many ways to that of today, ie acknowledged as "First Citizen" of the town. The Mayor would normally preside in the Borough's civil and criminal courts.
Tudor The powers of the Mayor as Chief Magistrate (sometimes the sole Magistrate) greatly increased. Magistrates in this period were the "maids of all work" and, as a result, their personal importance was expanded.
17th Century In many Boroughs the Mayor had become all-powerful.
19th Century The Mayor could be the centre of all political activity with the terms of office lasting often two to four years. The political role of the Mayor, rather than the social and ceremonial role, was more important in this era than it is today.
20th Century The political role of the Mayor diminishes and the social and ceremonial role becomes more emphasised.
It was not until 1974 that it became compulsory for Mayors to be selected from members of the Council.