Merton swears in new mayor

Councillor Mary Curtin was officially elected Mayor of Merton 2018-2019 at the annual council meeting last night (23 May 2018).

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Mayor of Merton, Councillor Mary Curtin

Following Councillor Marsie Skeete’s year as Mayor for 2017-2018, Councillor Curtin has been appointed First Citizen of the Borough after being a councillor for Lower Morden ward since 2014. She will be the first Irish born mayor in Merton, who moved to the UK as a nurse from Tipperary in 1960.

The Mayor’s chosen charities for her tenure reflect her aim to shine a light on the younger and older generations of the borough: The Colour House Theatre, a children’s theatre based in Merton Abbey Mills and Morden based charity, the Friends in St Helier known as FISH. FISH is particularly important to the Mayor as it is a charity she started 30 years ago for the over 50’s which organises lunch clubs, befriending sessions and holidays.

Councillor Curtin will be supported by three consorts during her mayoral year including her son, William and two long standing residents of the borough, Marie Bateman and Delores Bisnouth.

Long standing councillor, Cllr Geraldine Stanford from Figge’s Marsh, will support the Mayor in her duties as Deputy Mayor over the coming year. Councillor Stanford will be supported by her consort, Roger Norman.

The annual council meeting also recognised the work completed by Councillor Marsie Skeete during her year in office, including more than £25,000 she raised for her charities, Merton Mencap and Commonside Community Development Trust.

It was also agreed that former Ravensbury ward councillor, Philip Jones will be awarded the Freedom of the Borough in recognition for his long service to the borough at a special council meeting on 12 July.

The Cabinet for the coming year were also officially elected with two new appointments, Councillor Kelly Braund who will take up the position as Cabinet Member for Children’s Services as well as Councillor Mike Brunt, who takes on the role of Cabinet Member for the Environment and Street Cleanliness.

Following being officially elected at the Mayor Making ceremony, Mayor of Merton, Councillor Mary Curtin said: “It is an incredible privilege to stand before you as the new Mayor of Merton. I promise that, at all times, I will honour the great responsibility you have given me and represent our wonderful borough, and its people, with energy, dedication, and humanity. I’m looking forward to an exciting, engaging, and memorable year as I get the privilege of meeting with so many of the people who make this part of London such a great place to live. I can’t wait to hear the stories, witness the activities, and celebrate all that’s good about our lovely borough.”

Outgoing Mayor, Councillor Marsie Skeet said: “I have hugely enjoyed my year as Mayor of Merton. It was an honour to represent this great borough at so many wide and varied events. I have met so many inspirational residents who do such great work for Merton and the wellbeing of the people who live and work here. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and helped me raise money for my chosen charities during my Mayoral Year including my family and friends for their love and patience as well as the Mayoral staff for the excellent work they do. Councillor Curtin will do an excellent job as Mayor and I wish her the very best for her mayoralty.”

Ends

Notes to editor

About the Mayor

The Mayor of Merton came to England aged 18 from Tipperary, Ireland as a mental health nurse. She married in 1972 and has 2 grown up children and 3 grandchildren. She loves music and dancing and is thrilled that her children and grandchildren have taken after her in their love of Irish music and dance. She hopes to bring that fun to her year as mayor. She moved to Morden in 1984 and set up a charity due to the lack of community places to go with her husband following his stroke, other than the local pub. This prompted her to start the charity FISH (Friends In St Helier) 30 years ago.

About FISH: Friends in St Helier

Friends in St Helier aims to provide support, dignity, respect, health and wellbeing to active seniors within Merton. FISH engages the over 50’s in all aspects of life and prevent isolation by organising lunch clubs, befriending sessions and holidays and now runs six clubs across Morden each week providing companionship, activities and holidays as well as cooking 535 lunches each year, reaching out to over 131 families every week.

About The Colour House Theatre

The Colour House opened as a theatre in the summer of 1995. The Grade II listed building stands in the picturesque riverside setting of Merton Abbey Mills and has a history of over 500 years, which includes being used by Arthur Liberty to mix his fabric dyes in the early 1900’s.  Today the venue is open for a variety of theatre shows, events, music gigs and comedy. It has become best known for its weekend Children’s Theatre which specialises in producing original musical adaptions of famous fairy tales. Over 20 years the theatre has entertained over 100,000 children, receiving charitable status over 10 years ago.