Historic Mayor Making Ceremony
Written by Martin Steers on May 21, 2021
The very first Mayor Making Ceremony of the newly established Northampton town council was held Monday, 17th May, in The Guildhall, an important and historic stage in the Northampton Mayoralty.
“We are at the beginning of a journey to establish the largest town council in the country. The mayoralty if Northampton is an ancient and a long tradition” Cllr. Jane Birch.
“Local government may change, County Borough, Borough, town but the mayoralty will continue.” Cllr. Lane
Northampton was the third mayoralty ever to be established, 800 years ago, following London as the first and Norwich as the second. The first recorded Mayor of Northampton was Walter Tilley, in 1215.
During the ceremony, Cllr. Rufia Ashraf, the 781st Mayor, was sworn in for her first full year, following the local elections on 6th May.
Not only is Cllr Ashraf the first Bangladeshi Mayor in the country, but the first woman to hold such accolade.
Cllr. Ashraf was raised in St. James, the ward she now represents and has lived there all her life, which has seen the birth of her three children and her marriage to her husband Abu, who will be acting as her consort.
Rufia is a remarkable community activist renowned for her work supporting local charities, advocating on behalf of local residents and supporting voluntary organisations. The mayor’s charity will continue to raise money for NDAS – the Northampton Domestic Abuse support service, of which Rufia is a trustee.
Cllr. Ashraf has had a long, illustrious career with the former Northampton Borough Council, with parking and anti-social behaviour amongst just a few of her many successful campaigns, as well as being part of the homelessness and sexual exploitation strategy.
Cllr. Ashraf welcomed the newly appointed Town Clerk Stuart Carter and bid a fond farewell to Richard Walden, the acting Town Clerk who worked tirelessly to establish the Town Council. Rufia personally thanked Richard for the “seamless support’.
Cllr. Denis Meredith who was appointed as the Deputy Mayor, is revered for his robust and outspoken support of residents, always putting people before party politics. Not only is Denis a political fighter, he also fought a battle with Covid-19 last year. Cllr. Meredith resides in Southfields, in the heart of the ward he represents with his wife Rhona, with whom he has just celebrated his golden wedding anniversary.
Although on the 7th May, the High Court ruled that council meetings must take place in person, the national social distancing measures that must be observed during the Covid-19 pandemic have prevented the council from receiving the wide range of community representatives they usually would. Due to limited public access, the ceremony was a Hybrid meeting and was professionally filmed by the NN1 Audio team and broadcast to YouTube.