Eastleigh Bourough Council has a new Mayor. At the annual Mayor-making ceremony this evening, 10th May 2012, Cllr Rupert Kyrle was elected to the position of Mayor with Cllr Malcolm Cross elected as Deputy Mayor.
The Mayor is the Borough of Eastleigh’s ‘First Citizen’ and is elected at the annual meeting of the Council in May. The Mayor chairs the full meetings of the Council and normally takes a non-political role to ensure fair play. The Mayor also acts as the Civic Head of the Borough at official functions, attending approximately 400 events during his term of office.
At this evenings ceremony, Cllr Kyrle was proposed for the position of Mayor by Cllr Cathie Fraser and seconded by Cllr Bruce Tennant. In their speeches we learned of Cllr Kyrle’s passion for heavy metal music and of his upbringing in a politically active family: his parents, Margaret and Martin Kyrle, were formerly Mayors of Eastleigh. The proposal was carried unanimously.
The retiring and incoming Mayors then left the chamber to exchange robes, causing a brief adjournmnet of the meeting. A hundred different conversations broke out in the Council chamber, the most interesting of which was between Cllr House and a Council official. Because the Chief Executive had left a microphone on, every word was audible at the back of the room where Eastleigh News was seated, next to a loudpeaker…!
Once the ceremony resumed, the new Mayor, Cllr Rupert Kyrle, said;
It is a great honour to be elected Mayor of Eastleigh, I am pleased to be following in my parents footsteps and pleased to be the first Mayor from Botley.
My Mother [the late Margaret Kyrle] was the first Liberal elected to the Borough Council. Now, 40 years later, we have 40 Lib Dems on the Council. I am sad that she’s not here to see this, but pleased that my father [Martin Kyrle] is well enough to be here today.
I would like to thank Chris Huhne for his support, and for allowing me time off to carry out these duties [n.b. Cllr Kyrle is Head of Office and a caseworker for Chris Huhne’s Office]
I want to make my Mayoral year one to remember with fondness and am looking forward to the Diamond Jubillee and to meeting our Olympic contenders.
In a well received and very humorous speech, Cllr Peter Wall proposed a vote of thanks to the retiring Mayor, Cllr Wayne Irish, noting in passing that his Mayorship did cause problems in the constituency. Mayoral duties inevitably mean that the Councillor has less time for constituency work. Cllr Chris Thomas seconded the vote of thanks to Cllr Wayne Irish, which again was carried unanimously.
Cllr Wayne Irish, by now the former Mayor of Eastleigh, said;
This has been the quickest year of my life, but it has been a great honour to be Mayor of Eastleigh.
I’ve done some amazing things, visiting local schools and organisations, meeting lots of interesting people and realising there’s a lot of talent in Eastleigh.
I’ve enjoyed chatting to Prince Philip, attending the remembrance service in Villeneuve St Georges and going to 6 pantomimes over the Christmas period…
I’d like to thank my employer, Southampton City Council for letting me have the time off to carry out these duties…
There’s still money to come in, but we’ve raised at least £17k for my Mayoral charities.
Cllr Irish was then presented with a past Mayors badge by the new Mayor, Cllr Kyrle, joining the many past Mayors in the audience who were similarly adorned.
The ceremony then moved on to elect a new Deputy Mayor. Cllr David Airey proposed Cllr Malcolm Cross for the post of Deputy Mayor, which was seconded by Cllr Tonyia Craig. That too was carried unanimously.
Cllr Malcolm Cross was then invested with the robes and badge of office of Deputy Mayor.
Running in parallel with this were exchanges of badges between the retiring and incoming Mayoresses. The new Mayoress, Cllr Karen Kyrle of Botley Parish Council also invested the new Deputy Mayoress with her badge of office. All three ladies were presented with bouquets of flowers.
The ceremony closed with prayers led by Father Stephen Holmes. The Mayors Chaplian for this year, The Reverend Ruth Schofield, curate of All Saints Church in Botley was unable to attend the ceremony this evening.
Interestingly, despite the Agenda for the Mayor-making ceremony making reference to the “election” of Mayor and Deputy Mayor, Eastleigh News were seated at the back of the Council chamber, underneath a seating plan which clearly showed that the new Mayor would be Cllr Kyrle and the Deputy Mayor Cllr Cross. The whole ceremony was pre-ordained. Everybody knew who the Mayor and Deputy Mayor were going to be before the “election” started…
There have recently been referenda in 11 major cities around the country, where citizens were asked if they would like to directly elect their Mayor. Only Bristol and Doncaster voted in favour. Doncaster already has a elected Mayor: the referendum in that town was to decide whether to retain the system of directly electing the Mayor.
Eastleigh has not held a referendum on the question of whether it should have a directly elected Mayor, but it did hold a “Borough wide consultation”, which drew 13 responses, all of them in favour of having a directly elected Mayor.
Because of the small response, the idea of having a directly elected Mayor was rejected by Eastleigh Borough Council.
Photo: Eastleigh Borough Council