Buckingham inaugurates new mayor

At its annual statutory meeting on Friday 17 May, Buckingham Town Council inaugurated its 254th mayor.
Alexandra and Mark ColeAlexandra and Mark Cole
Alexandra and Mark Cole

Councillor Mark Cole JP, who had been deputy to outgoing mayor Jon Harvey, was elected to the top job in February.

Speaking to this paper, the new mayor said:

“It's something I'm very honoured and humbled by.”

Jon Harvey and Mark ColeJon Harvey and Mark Cole
Jon Harvey and Mark Cole

In his speech at the ceremony on Friday evening, Mr Cole said regarding his aspirations for his new role:

“My mission is to continue the good work which my predecessor Jon Harvey has done in rebuilding the relationship with the University of Buckingham, promoting Town & Gown to the benefit of everyone; to make Buckingham a better place in which to live, work and visit.”

While reflecting on his own time as mayor, Mr Harvey said:

“It's been a fabulous two years but it's time to hand over the chain of office and I'm sure Mark will do a fantastic job.”

Further to this, on his blog Mr Harvey wrote:

“My term as mayor of this wholesome town is now very nearly over. Over the last two years, I have represented our town as mayor on over 330 occasions, many of course with my wonderful wife and consort, Julie. I made a decision, at the beginning of my term, to blog every event I attended. To date that blog has been uploaded nearly a quarter of a million times. I am very happy that I achieved my aim to be a most transparent and accessible mayor.”

The first bailiff in Buckingham was elected in 1554, who like Mark Cole was also a justice of the peace. King Charles II's Charter changed the title to 'mayor' in 1684.

Although the term for a new mayor is only one year, serving for two years is quite common. Thomas Harold Smith has the record as the longest serving mayor, serving five terms between 1937-1942.

It took almost 300 years for Buckingham to elect its first female mayor - Diane Elkerton in 1967. Since then, eight others have followed in Ms Elkerton's trailblazing footsteps.

The new mayor was straight into the thick of it, chairing his first full council meeting on Monday 20 May.