The start of a new role
7 June 2023
Author: Councillor Fiona Sacks
Title: Deputy Mayor of Richmond upon Thames
I feel honoured and privileged to be able to support our Mayor, Councillor Suzette Nicholson.
My new role as Deputy Mayor began rather appropriately with a visit to Arts Richmond’s Turning Point Photographic Exhibition at The Exchange, Twickenham. Arts Richmond offered photographers from across London, whatever their background or experience, the chance to answer an open call on the theme Turning Point. How differently and evocatively the photographers, some of whom were completely self-taught, interpreted that theme - I was humbled by their skill and imagination and thoroughly enjoyed talking to them about what inspired each photograph.
Hot on the heels of the photographic exhibition came Arts Richmond’s wonderful celebration of literary talent, with the Roger McGough Poetry Competition. Focused on the same theme, we were treated to an afternoon of uplifting poetry, including Roger reading a couple of his own. The turning point in people’s lives often occurs after the loss of a loved one, felt poignantly in the swimming pool by the mother to be in Love Goggles by Lucy Payne (1st prize), in finding love as in Coming Out by Vera Meister (2nd prize), or in the care home/classroom of Five Foot in her Slippers by Judith Wozniak (3rd prize). An anthology of shortlisted entries is available from Arts Richmond.
Thankfully, the weather was kind for the beautifully scenic but challenging Richmond Park Full Marathon where I was delighted to present medals to the early runners crossing the finishing line including Lee Rogers, who completed the course in a staggering 02:56:33 and Alice Robinson in 03:29:03. Congratulations to all participants and many thanks to the volunteers who made the race possible. Volunteers are the ties that bind us and help make our community tick as I’m sure the Mayor will also attest, having visited the Rotary Fair last week in Twickenham and spoken to some of the brilliant charities we are lucky enough to have in the Borough.
One of the most pleasurable mayoral commitments is the Citizenship Ceremony which regularly takes place at York House. We are delighted that people chose to make their lifelong commitment to the UK here in Richmond. We are a historic borough but also a modern, cosmopolitan place to live within a vibrant world city, where people of many nationalities and faiths have made their home and contribute hugely to our local community.
When I attended my first ceremony, I found that each person had made a different citizenship journey. Some had arrived quite recently; others had been here for years. Some had applied for citizenship for work-related or family reasons, or even because they had fallen in love. No matter how or why they had come, I quickly realized how much bravery and determination it takes to uproot yourself and move to a new country with a distinct culture and possibly different language. I salute their courage.
At our last ceremony, we had 31 people who became British citizens from 26 different countries, bringing with them a wealth of experience and expertise plus fresh thinking and diversity. I felt deeply honoured to welcome them into our community and I look forward to seeing all they are going to achieve.
Up to: Council blog 2023
Updated: 22 June 2023