From The Hastings and St Leonard’s Observer, 21 May 2010 (story by Richard Gladstone)
A packed ceremony saw the unveiling of the borough’s new mayor. Councillor Kim Forward, an ex-teacher and chairman of governors at Filsham Valley School, took up her post at the annual mayor-making ceremony at the White Rock Theatre on Wednesday.
Outgoing mayor Maureen Charlesworth stepped down after four years in the role and thanked fellow councillors and the public at large for supporting her.
She said: “I have supported many clubs and charitable organisations and met so many volunteers, all helping those less fortunate. This is truly a most generous town with wonderful residents, old and young alike.
“It has been such an honour to have been elected on four separate occasions. Many of my engagements have filled my memory with happy and warm thoughts. My deputies and I have covered 2,300 engagements between us in these four years and I sincerely thank them for their tremendous support when I could not divide myself into any more pieces.”
Dignitaries were treated to entertainment from Filsham Valley, Churchwood School choir and members of the White Rock Youth Theatre.
Cllr Jeremy Birch was chosen as the new council leader with Cllr Jay Kramer as deputy.
After taking the oath, newly-appointed mayor Cllr Forward said: “I hope to bring energy and enthusiasm during my role. Hastings and St Leonards are beautiful places which have so much to offer and I will strive to promote the interests of the borough and its residents.”
Cllr Forward has chosen three charities to support this year, namely the NSPCC, Care for the Carers and ME Research UK.
She said: “My 14-year-old son has had ME for for two-and-a-half years. His recovery from this debilitating illness has been slow but he is now able to walk again.”
Cllr Forward paid tribute to Cllr Charlesworth, saying she had been ‘magnificent’ over the past four years and had worked ‘tirelessly’ for Hastings.
She also announced the council intended to award former MP Michael Foster the Freedom of the Borough.
Cllr Forward’s appointment was proposed by Cllr Kramer.She said: “Kim is a very friendly, conscientious and caring person who will be an excellent ambassador for the town.
“She is a qualified teacher who has taught in a variety of local primary schools for more than 20 years and I have personal experience of her being warmly greeted throughout the town by former students of hers and their parents. Kim relates to all the people she meets with warmth and genuine interest in their well-being. These qualities will be invaluable in her civic role as mayor.”
The deputy mayor is Cllr Alan Roberts, who takes over from Cllr Eve Martin.