New Mayor of Surrey Heath elected

Date: 

Thursday, 20 May, 2021
Surrey Heath Mayor Cllr Sarah Jane CrokeCouncillor Sarah Jane Croke was chosen as the 49th Mayor of Surrey Heath at the Annual Meeting of Surrey Heath Borough Council yesterday.   
 
Cllr Croke has been a councillor for Frimley ward since 2019. 
 
At the Mayor-making ceremony, Cllr Croke was sworn in as Mayor of Surrey Heath for the forthcoming year, receiving the Mayoral chain of office.    
 
Cllr Croke succeeds the previous Surrey Heath Mayor, Cllr Pat Tedder.   
 
Cllr Helen Whitcroft, who represents Mytchett and Deepcut ward, was elected Deputy Mayor.   
 
Originally from Newcastle upon Tyne, Cllr Croke is passionate about the arts – a varied career has included being a Butlins Redcoat and working alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber on West End musical Cats. 
 
Sarah Jane moved to Frimley 10 years ago with her family. She started her own award-winning wedding & events business from a small shop on Frimley High Street.  
 
Sarah Jane helped set up the Frimley Business Association to support and encourage other small local businesses, and this desire to help her local community led to Sarah Jane becoming a Borough Councillor. 
 
Since her election in 2019, Cllr Croke has served on various committees including the External Partnerships Select Committee and Performance and Finance Scrutiny Committee. 
 
She has also represented the Council on a number of Outside Bodies including Basingstoke Canal Joint Management Committee and Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership. She is a trustee of Frimley Fuel Allotments Charity, Henry Smith Charity, Surrey Heath Age Concern and Camfest. 
 
Cllr Croke runs Frimley Community Matters, a group set up at the beginning of lockdown in March 2020. Local residents came together to volunteer their time to support the Frimley community through the pandemic, wherever it was needed.  
 
She is also helping to set up a local community garden at Frimley Lodge Park, to help with mental health and wellbeing, and is supporting Complete Coaching Football Academy with their local youth hub project.  
 
Cllr Croke lives in Frimley with her husband James and three children Ellie, Emerald and Kobi. James will be accompanying her during her Mayoral term of office. 
 
During her Mayoral year, Cllr Croke would like to give thanks to all the incredible community organisations that have stepped up to support our Borough through the extremely difficult year we have all faced.   
 
She is keen to reach out to all sectors of the community and emphasise how proud we are of our Borough, and all the people that live and work in it.   
 
Cllr Croke said: “It is an absolute honour and a huge privilege to be elected as the 49th Mayor to represent our amazing borough, and I look forward to meeting and greeting our community now that we are coming out the other side of Covid.   
 
“I am looking forward to being able to thank all those that carried on through Covid and did not stop!   
 
“I believe Surrey Heath has become a closer and stronger community because of Covid, and this is one good thing to come out of it. This needs to be recognised, celebrated, and supported going forward.” 
  
Cllr Croke has chosen three charities to support during the year: 
  
Surrey’s leading charity providing respite breaks for carers, CCS ease the strain on those who care for loved ones 24/7. Their main goal is to improve the quality of life of these unpaid carers. 
 
The NSPCC is the UK's leading children's charity, preventing abuse and helping those affected to recover. They provide therapeutic services to help children move on from abuse, as well as supporting parents and families in caring for their children.  
 
Emerge Advocacy are a youth work charity who support young people aged 10-25 years old who have attended A&E at local hospitals with self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and attempted suicide. 
 
Outgoing Mayor Cllr Pat Tedder said: “When I had the honour and privilege of being elected Mayor in May 2020 no one could have envisaged what the next 12 months would bring.   
 
“Mayoral duties were virtually non-existent due to lockdown, which was disappointing as I had hoped to get out and about the Borough.  
 
“However this disappointment was short-lived as I was filled with great pride to witness the efforts made not only by the NHS but by the residents of our Borough who came forward in their hundreds to help and assist the vulnerable.   
 
“The huge amount of extra work put in by the staff of SHBC. The councillors, the businesses, local charities and churches who all worked so hard for our Borough during the pandemic. To you all I would like to say ‘Thank You’. 
 
“It is with regret that I have not been able to raise a great deal of money for my chosen charities, so to them I apologise. I hope that I have raised awareness of the isolation which often goes together with deafness and homelessness.   
 
“During my term of office I asked that all videos put out by the Council on my behalf would carry subtitles, and I hope that this continues. Let Surrey Heath be the hard of hearing champion! 
 
“I would like to take this opportunity to wish the incoming Mayor, Cllr Sarah Jane Croke, an exciting and prosperous year as she leads us into a new normal. Also to thank her for her generosity in allowing me to have one last fundraising effort in the early months of her term of office.” 
 
Further information on the Mayor of Surrey Heath can be found at surreyheath.gov.uk/mayor.    
 
Pic credit: Laura Woodrow