New mayor Ann promises to ‘mix it up’ in the year ahead

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A MAYOR with a modern twist – this is the aspiration of Worthing’s new mayor.

Ann Barlow became Worthing’s 95th mayor during a ceremony at the town hall.

Ann, a mother of four teenage children and councillor for the Gaisford ward, described becoming mayor as an “honour” and “very humbling”.

She added: “I have always been interested in the community.

“When I was 12 I organised a petition and started a campaign for a new youth club which was opened just six months after.

“I realised very quickly ordinary people can help shape their local community and nothing has stopped me since. I am really looking forward to my year in office and will be proud to carry on with this historic role – but hopefully with a modern twist.”

Ann, 46, is licensed as a reader minister at Broadwater Parish Church and originally hailed from Bramhall in Cheshire before moving to Worthing 15 years ago.

In her seven years as a borough councillor, she has taken on many roles at the council including policy adviser, cabinet member, and deputy leader of the council.

This week, Ann said her two big aims for the year ahead was to shake up the mayor’s role and save public money by cutting on mayoral expenditure.

Ann, who lives in Broadwater, said: “I want to mix it up a bit.

“Tradition is very important but I believe it is vitally important to be out and about so that people do know the mayor and councillors represent them.”

Already, Ann has made savings by replacing expensive flowers at the mayor’s inaugural ceremony with artwork from pupils at Oakgrove College – one of four charities named as the mayor’s charities this year.

The other charities chosen by the mayor include Acorn Pregnancy Counselling Centre, the Lauren Jones Foundation, and Worthing and Arun MIND.

Ann has praised her predecessor, Ann Sayers, adding: “When you see the work Ann did last year you are aware there is a lot of work to do and big footsteps to follow in.”

To mark Ann becoming mayor, councillors and charity representatives went for a meal at Urdu Blue, in Broadwater.

During the evening, £500 was raised for the mayor’s charities.

This year, Charles James will be deputy mayor while youth mayor is Worthing High School student, Liam Mills. St Andrew’s School pupil, Cam Hughes, is Worthing’s first deputy youth mayor.

*WORTHING Lib Dems have accused the Conservatives of breaking a “gentleman’s agreement” over the mayoral selection.

The council’s Lib Dems said: “There was a gentleman’s agreement that one mayor in three would be a Liberal Democrat.

“The last two mayors have been Conservatives, the present one is a Conservative, the original chosen deputy was a Conservative, and the replacement deputy elected at Friday’s annual council was also a Conservative.

“And the reason that the 2012-13 mayor has to be a Conservative? The Tories don’t want a Liberal Democrat cutting the ribbon on the new pool – we’re glad the Tories are keeping up the time-honoured position of the mayoralty being apolitical.”