Sunday, 29 November 2020

New Henley mayor urges town to unite

THE new Mayor of Henley says the theme for his year will be ?Making a difference?.

THE new Mayor of Henley says the theme for his year will be ?Making a difference?.

Stefan Gawrysiak was speaking at the Mayor-making ceremony held at the town hall on Monday, when more than 200 people saw him voted into office.

The former assistant head of Gillotts School said he felt honoured that Henley Town Council had placed its trust in him just two years after he became a councillor.

Councillor Gawrysiak said: ?Henley is special because of its natural beauty ? it is nestled in a valley with stunning parkland and an awesome river.

?It is vibrant because of its festivals, businesses and independent retailers. ?That is only a small part of the story. There are 200 voluntary organisations in Henley. All these organisations started by somebody saying, ?let?s make a difference?. That is what makes Henley a special place.

?The Henley-on-Thames coat of arms contains elements that go back to 1241 and the town motto is ?semper communitas?, which is ?always community? and I think that the current residents of Henley fully live up to this.?

Cllr Gawrysiak, 59, of Elizabeth Road, Henley, thanked his partner Catherine Notaras, daughter Ayskha and her husband Pete Sene, and Catherine?s son Mark and his girlfriend Izabela Swistak for their support.

He added: ?My father Jozef, a Polish prisoner of war who settled in Redditch and married my mother Muriel, would have been really happy for me on this day.

?I will, of course, during my mayoral year rely heavily on Catherine. Both of us are determined to work hard for Henley. For the last five years we have had female mayors. All of them have worked tirelessly for Henley and have worked hard to put their own charismatic stamp on the mayoral role. They are tough acts to follow.?

Cllr Gawrysiak?s charities for this year will be Sue Ryder, Age UK, the Chiltern Centre for disabled children Headway and Riverside Counselling.

He said: ?I have chosen these charities because I have a personal connection with them.

?The other reason is they provide wonderful care for their clients and, of equal importance, respite for the carers.If people are to be cared for in their homes then it is vital that respite care is provided. Carers need a break and all of these fantastic charities do that.?

He also announced that he would present the Mayor?s youth awards for exceptional service to the community at next year?s mayor-making ceremony.

?Henley is a great place to be,? he concluded. ?I will work hard for Henley. Let us together make an impact and also let?s make a difference.?

The new Deputy Mayor is 64-year-old Martin Akehurst, an IT design engineer-turned actor, who lives in Two Tree Hill and is married to Glynnis with two children and two grandchildren.

He is a member of Henley Residents? Group and was elected in 2011.

Councillor Akehurst said: ?The reason I joined HRG was basically that I wanted to preserve Henley. It is known worldwide ? even my sister in Arizona has a picture of Henley behind the bar in her nearby pub.

?I think we owe it to the town to try to preserve the character, although that is a difficult concept.

?I am very much looking forward to the next couple of years. I have known Stefan a long time and I think we will work well together.

?He feels the same about Henley as I do and with the neighbourhood plan coming up it is a tremendous opportunity to preserve the town for years to come.?

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