District councillor Frank Turner became the new Mayor of Grantham last week.
Coun Turner, who represents the Green Hill ward, took over the role from Coun Ian Stokes and announced his charities for the coming year will be the Journal’s Children’s Fund, Belvoir Castle Cricket Trust and Grantham Hospice.
The Journal caught up with the new Mayor and Mayoress at the Mayor’s Parlour in the Guildhall, St Peter’s Hill, to find out what they have planned for the coming year.
For how long have you been a councillor on South Kesteven District Council?
Frank: This is my third term and I have been a councillor for 11 years.
Is this your first time as Mayor of Grantham?
Frank: No, I was Mayor in 2005 which I very much enjoyed. It just so happened it was the 25th anniversary of the twinning in 2005 so I was invited out to Germany by the Burgermeister of Sankt Augustin. That was a highlight. So I have that experience but there are things I would like to do differently.
Christina: Frank was a fairly new councillor then and we were a bit raw so this is why we want to give it another go. We want to bring the office of Mayor to the Grantham people. Sometimes it seems a bit elitist but we should be more open.
What are your priorities for your term in office?
Christina: The major role of the Mayor is to raise as much money for the town as we can.
Frank: It’s also about instilling a pride in the town in people from a young age - then it’s up to them to carry that on. Our three charities are very much geared towards children because that’s where we think it should be and they are always so delighted when they come in and see the robes and the office. We are going to visit a school and the children have specifically asked that I will wear the robes. They are really excited about it.
Christina: We want to keep that enthusiasm going because enthusiastic youngsters become enthusiastic adults.
What do you see as being the role of the Mayor of Grantham?
Frank: It’s being at the forefront of talking to other towns and places...
Cristina: And representing the town in other towns. Our main function will be to raise money and publicise the town. Grantham has an awful lot going for it so we see our role as being the town’s PR, if you like.
Frank: We certainly see this as being a very, very viable town in the future.
Other towns in South Kesteven like Stamford and Bourne have town councils. Grantham doesn’t. Does that make it more important for the Mayor to be a voice for Grantham?
Frank: Grantham doesn’t have a town council but we had a vote some years ago - very badly organised - and consequently it fell by the wayside. It was very badly explained. But there’s always the chance a town council may come up again - there’s always rumblings. You hear all these things but nothing is set in stone.
Christina: If ever another referendum comes all the councillors would make sure the town was informed enough to make a decision.