New Mayor of Grantham Ian Selby enthuses about our ‘beautiful town’

Mayor of Grantham Ian Selby
Mayor of Grantham Ian Selby
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New Grantham mayor Ian Selby has outlined a five-point plan for his reign and made a plea for people to lend a “helping hand” to others who need assistance.

Speaking at the Guildhall last night (Thursday) minutes after taking office until May next year, the Labour councillor expressed his admiration for the Queen and said he would not preach party politics. He also praised the Journal for being a “marvellous asset for our town since 1854”.

His plans are to:

* Promote Grantham and its organisations and businesses;

* Modernise the workings of the mayor’s office and use social media to communicate with the community;

* Promote the work of the mayor’s office within the town;

* Stay local as much as possible;

* Raise funds for his three “inspirational” charities. His charities for the year are: Kesteven Rideability, the Journal’s Children’s Fund and Gravity FM.

The full account of his speech is: “Honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, friends. Thank you very much again to Bruce and Mike for nominating me for this role and to my fellow charter trustees.

“I am delighted that Coun Mike Cook is the new deputy mayor. Mike is a smashing chap and I have full confidence in him as the deputy mayor and his good lady Midge the deputy mayoress for the year ahead.

“To my predecessor Coun Frank Turner and his good lady Christina. I will always remember them for making me feel so very welcome in the Mayor’s Parlour and at the various functions I have attended. They are lovely people and I thank them sincerely.

“One of the very first things I did over a year ago when it became apparent that I may become the Mayor of Grantham was to contact The Rev Tony Pick and I asked him to keep this evening free in his diary. No disrespect whatsoever is meant to any other members of the Church; instead it is more of a compliment to say there was always only one man for the job of prayers and blessings for this evening for me and that is Rev Tony Pick. I am absolutely delighted that he agreed to come along this evening. Thank you very much Tony.

“I come from a very working class background. You won’t get much more of working class a background than my father’s background. He comes from a long line of village blacksmiths from Skillington, dating back seven generations.

“I can’t tell you how pleased I am that my father Mr John Selby is here this evening to share this moment. I want to take this opportunity to say to my father and to you all here this evening, that my father is the nicest man I have ever known in my life.

“My next thank you goes to my mother and the new Mayoress of Grantham, and mark my words she will make a wonderful mayoress. I say thanks Mum for doing the job.

“So a thank you to my parents for everything they have done for me in the past and I would not be undertaking this role without their support in the past.

“Unfortunately there were some very good friends of mine that were unable to attend this evening. There is one in particular that I wish to give a mention to. My very best mate Les Sheen who so much wanted to be here this evening. I’d known Les for 30 years, and in February last year he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and sadly passed away just four days before Christmas. His widow is here this evening; thank you Janet for coming up from Southend on Sea to be with us this evening.

“In a very cold February 1994 my mate Les was with me the day I made a 36-hour protest in a tree in Parliament Square in Westminster against some rather horrendous government legislation that turned my life upside down. This eventually led to my involvement in politics and then becoming elected to our council in 1995. And now in 2014 becoming the Mayor of my home town Grantham.

“As the Mayor, I have a five-point plan for the year ahead. My goals in a nutshell:

1. To help promote Grantham and its organisations and businesses;

2. To embrace social media, putting the mayor’s office in the 21st Century in order to inform the public about the role of the mayor and my activities;

3. To promote the mayor’s office, (in the best possible light);

4. To focus my activities locally as much as possible, however where an opportunity arises to promote our town by travelling further afield I will embrace a good opportunity;

5. To raise funds for my three nominated charities.

“I want to say a few words about my nominated charities. There are representatives here this evening from the three charities I have chosen, and I thank them for coming this evening. My nominated charities will be;

“First, Kesteven Rideability. They are a wonderful local charity who help people with such a wide variety of disabilities. The good work they do should not be underestimated.

“Second; the Grantham Journal Children’s Fund. The Grantham Journal has been a marvellous asset for our town since 1854. The Journal has a wonderful, local charity that assists local children when they are most in need of help. I recall in recent years two young children that have needed help in our community, one being Christopher Buckingham, another being Christopher Scarlett. It’s our youngsters that are often an inspiration to us, and none more so than can been seen at the Rotary Clubs Annual Children of Courage Awards.

“My third charity is Gravity FM. Our local radio station is at the heart of our community doing a fabulous job, run by volunteers, that does superb work promoting local worthy causes, supporting the business community, promoting community events, helping give youngsters an opportunity to pursue a career in the radio industry and that includes the young man who is commentating this evening on this ceremony. It’s the first time that this ceremony has been broadcast live on the radio, so thank you to Ross Garrigan. And Ross before you ask, NO I’m not wearing my sandals this evening, mate. Comment has been made in the past about my dress sense, especially my cap and also my ties, my shorts, even my socks. Well, I guess when you are a trend setter you also become a fashion guru...

“Also a thank you to Mr Doug Hough for helping to set up the live broadcast this evening. So I will say a very good evening to all of the listeners on Gravity FM. I am aware that we have listeners from overseas listening online via the internet.

“My three charities will be my inspiration in the coming year.

“We have some guests with a birthday today. Mr Trevor Wainwright, Mrs Karen Thompson Kesteven Rideabilty. Also Flight Lieutenant Paul James OIC 47F, who could not be with us this evening but I understand he may be listening via Gravity FM. Happy Birthday to you all, I hope you are having an excellent day.

“Thank you to my cadets and all the staff and cadets of our four cadet forces; thank you so much for all the good work that you do, and I wish you all every success with your future careers.

“To my knowledge we have four younger members of our community here in the audience. I’d like to present a small gift to them all.

“Thank you to my new staff, the mayor’s officer Peter and mayor’s clerk Ann, to Taff and to Robert.

“I’d also like to say a special thank you to Mrs Alison Rowley and her team for the buffet that awaits us in the ballroom for the reception.

“I’m delighted that two directors from Grantham Town FC are with us this evening. Good evening to Barrie and Simon from the football club, who are doing some great work putting our football club at the heart of the community. It should be noted that Harrowby Utd have also had an excellent year.

“This year is a very poignant year. It’s the 100th year since the beginning of the First World War, and locally it is 100 years since Grantham’s very own Edith Smith became the first ever policewoman.

“We also have the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The ultimate sacrifices have been made by Armed Forces personnel, we will remember them. Thank you very much indeed to our guests from Her Majesty’s Armed Forces for attending this evening. Also to the police and fire service.

“A thank you in advance to Major Dennis Hannant who will be singing for us at the reception, an excellent singer as well. Also to a marvellous local musician, singer and entertainer Mr Trevor Leeson who will shortly be playing the National Anthem for us and also entertaining us at the reception. Trevor has dashed back from a gig this afternoon in Solihull. Thank you very much to Trevor.

“Although I am a left of centre politician, all my life there is one person whom I have always admired. That is Her Majesty the Queen. Someone who has given her life to the service of her country. The Queen works unbelievably long hours and has done so for many years, and she knows far more about politics than all the top politicians and from all of the political parties put together. So I have therefore included the National Anthem into this evening’s ceremony.

“I’d like to say a brief word about some forthcoming events I have planned for the year ahead, and all in aid of my nominated charities. A diary date for you is 4th December. I have a traditional Christmas show planned in our arts centre theatre.

“At the Grantham carnival on 14th and 15th June we will have a tombola stall; if anyone has anything they would like to donate for our stall please let me know, items gratefully received.

“Talking of the carnival on 14th and 15th June, I will have the opportunity to promote the Shire horse. The Shire Horse is an endangered breed, and I hope to ride one in the Carnival parade, and this is kindly been arranged by the Shire Horse Society.

“I have many other charity fund-raising events planned for the year ahead, so please do feel free to come and get involved.

“The Mayor of Grantham is a non-party political role. There is a big difference between politics and party politics. The people I admire most in politics are those who will put the people and the interests of our town first and foremost. Those who do the right thing in a selfless manner.

“I won’t hesitate to talk politics if it’s for the benefit of our town and its people, whether it’s speaking up for our ambulance station, our hospital, our shops, businesses etc.

“Finally, for me, local politics is about people. It’s the people that we live with in our town and the surrounding area, and it’s also the environment, it’s the bricks and mortar of some of the wonderful buildings we have, it’s the parks, it’s our wildlife and also our domestic animals that make up our community.

“Time goes by so very quickly, so I say embrace our community and all its wonderful assets, but most importantly, most VERY importantly, try and embrace a helping hand to those in our community that are most in need of some assistance, so then we can all share in the pleasures of our beautiful town.

“Thank you, and God bless.”