THE new Mayor of Lyme Regis, Councillor Brian Larcombe MBE, was officially installed at the traditional mayor making ceremony this week, where focus was placed on looking to the future.
Councillor Larcombe said Lyme must “respect its past but recognise its future” as he addressed 90 guests in a packed Guildhall on Wednesday evening.
Among those attending were many of Councillor Larcombe’s family, as well as fellow councillors and representatives from local organisations.
Outgoing mayor Councillor Michaela Ellis thanked her family, former deputy mayor and mayoress, Steve and Heather Miller, and the council’s senior administrative assistant Elaine Pawsey for overseeing her diary as she handed the mayoral chains to Councillor Larcombe.
His wife Wendy was then installed as mayoress, Councillor Jeff Scowen as deputy mayor and Councillor Belinda Bawden – one of six new members of the council – as deputy mayoress.
Councillor Graham Turner proposed a toast to the new mayor, saying he brought a wealth of experience in business and local government to the role.
In his response, Councillor Larcombe said that, following the recent local elections, all councillors must now be given the chance to perform in roles important to the town and to themselves.
He thanked Councillor Ellis and her husband Alan for their two years as mayor and consort, and said he would do his best to do justice to the position.
Local resident Nigel Ball proposed the toast to the town council, thanking members and staff for their hard work and adding: “We will all work together to make Lyme a happier and more positive place.”
In his response, Councillor John Broom said it was heartening to hear that the work of the council was appreciated.
He recognised that there had been some “colourful episodes” in the Guildhall in recent years, but said this was inevitable when a group of passionate people came together.
Despite these difficulties, Councillor Broom said that the council had achieved a great deal and he hoped business would continue to be carried out with “courtesy and respect” in the future.
Councillor Richard Doney proposed a toast to the council’s officers and staff, asking councillors to help them by being clear, consistent and thinking about the consequences of their decisions.
He added that he hoped for a more cohesive relationship between councillors and staff in the future and they should work as a team.
His comments were reflected in town clerk John Wright’s response, in which he emphasised that the councillors and staff were “one organisation”.
He added that the council was in a very healthy financial position and it needed to use these recourses to make the best decisions on behalf of the town.
Local journalist Philip Evans MBE then proposed the toast to the town of Lyme Regis. He asked residents to take time to appreciate the beauty of the town and, addressing councillors, added: “You are the guardians of that beauty and we trust you to look after it.”
Mr Evans also praised the passion of volunteers from Lyme’s numerous organisations and called for more young people to step up and support local clubs and associations.
He praised the two new young members of the town council – 19-year-old Kelsey Ellis and 20-year-old Leon Howe – describing them as “the beacon of our future”.
On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, Mr Evans also asked those attending to remember the men from Lyme who fought in the Second World War, and the American GIs that were stationed in the town in the run up to D-Day.
In his response, local resident Ken Gollop said: “We are lucky to live in a place like Lyme but it’s the people who make a town, and we are very lucky to have the people who run all our organisations.”
He added that Lyme did have its problems – including traffic, housing and the pressure the large number of visitors to the town placed on local infrastructure – but he wished the council the best of luck in trying to overcome these.
Closing the ceremony, Councillor Larcombe commented: “Lyme has to respect its past but recognise its future, and we need to hold those two things in balance and understand the consequences of what we do.”
The mayor making ceremony was followed by a reception at Lyme Regis Football Club.