My Account

Meet the new Mayor of Richmond upon Thames

Date: 2 August 2022
Author: Cllr Julia Cambridge
Title: Mayor Richmond upon Thames

There is one question that I can guarantee will be asked when I am out doing an engagement as Mayor of Richmond. Can you guess what it might be?

Before my appointment as Mayor of Richmond upon Thames on 24 May 2022, little did I know that I would become a member of the 'Chain Gang' and, as the people I meet come to grips with the vast amount of gold around my neck, 'is that heavy?' inevitably follows.

And to put that question to bed right here and now, here's my answer: yes, it is heavy, and yes, I do fiddle a lot hoisting it back or centering it… but it is an honour to wear this symbol of Office and be an Ambassador for the Borough I love.

The history of the Richmond chain is interesting. Named after the first Mayor, it's called the Whittaker Ellis Chain. It's 18 carat gold and made up of 15 Tudor roses alternating with the letters RS signifying Richmond, Surrey. The badge represents an amalgamation of the three boroughs. Above the coat of arms is a swan symbolising the Thames with an eel in its mouth recognising Twickenham’s lamprey fishing industry. The more you know!

Sometimes I get asked what the Mayor does. In this nonpolitical Civic role, it is varied: one day I will be watching a performance from some of our talented musicians, and another day meeting members of one of our wonderful civic societies. Lots of speeches, planting trees, fairs and fetes, cutting cake, and celebrating and supporting schools, places of worship, people, organisations and charities. But it's that final point I would like to talk more about.

Within days of becoming Mayor, I had an important decision to make on who would be my chosen charity for the next year. This wasn’t going to be easy as we have a range of excellent charities all needing extra support as a result of the COVID‐19 pandemic.

It was important to me, having been the former Vice Chair of Education and Children’s Services, that my year away from the Education Committee was, in part, spent giving back to the Borough's young people. And in our Borough, we are lucky to be served by a charity which seems to be the gold standard: Ruils.

RUILS is a charity that supports disabled children and adults with long term health and mental health conditions. They provide services from befriending to advocacy and everything in between, as part of their mission to assist people with additional needs to live independently and play a vital part in the community. Having talked to the Ruils CEO, the enigmatic and tireless Cathy Maker, I decided to concentrate efforts on the Bright Futures program which aims to help parents and young people from aged 16.

I am proud to be supporting the work of RUILS ‐‐ and you can too, by coming along to or participating in the upcoming Mayor’s events. From our famous Fish and Chip Cruise on Wednesday 5 October to our Halloween Quiz on Friday 28 October 2022, there's something for everyone to enjoy, and all benefiting a fantastic cause.

I’ve been inspired by our past Mayors to be creative and, along with Asgill House, Richmond, I have launched an art prize. As Asgill House was built for the first Lord Mayor of London in 1757/8, it only seemed fitting that the inaugural art prize should be created with the house and gardens as the backdrop. With a £500 prize donated by the Asgill House trust and a chance for the winning work to be displayed in the Mayor’s Parlour in York House, I hope we have many submissions before the deadline Wednesday 21 September 2022. Find out more about the Mayor's Art Competition.

I feel enormously grateful for the chance I’ve been given to represent Richmond Borough as Mayor until May 2023. I entered politics to make a positive difference and, weekly, I have the privilege to learn about how our Borough’s residents give back through their tireless work for others. I'm lucky enough to meet and chat with inspirational people everyday and learn about the rich tapestry of vibrant personalities which make up our local borough at all levels. If you'd like to learn more about getting involved, please come along to any of the upcoming Mayor’s events in aid of Ruils. I'd love to see you there!

Find out more about the Mayors Charity Ruils

Enter the Mayor's Art Competition.

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Updated: 9 August 2023