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Mayor's Blog: Looking backward, looking forward

Date: 2 May 2024
Author: Councillor Suzette Nicholson
Title: Mayor of Richmond upon Thames

This is my last Mayoral blog as my term of Mayor finishes on May 14 at our AGM. It has been a privilege and joy to meet so many people around the borough.

With the end of my year in sight it has also made me reflective and I have particularly been thinking about resilience. This is the capacity to bear up against or to recover quickly from difficulties.

Of course, this does not mean that it only takes a short time to recover because some difficulties we encounter are more life-changing than others. However, often, we need help so that we can persevere.

My charities, Age UK Richmond and SEEN, are places you can approach with difficulties you may be having. As an example, Age UK Richmond were able to help me in a practical way recently via their handyman service by mending a light switch! 

Staying connected improves our resilience. Two engagements I have attended recently did this, the Visor Tea Party and Talking News's 45th birthday party. These are examples of charities that help others to stay connected with the wider borough community. 

Staying connected can take courage. But don’t forget while you may be going along to something for your benefit, your company and friendship are helpful to others too. 

Obtaining skills can take time but it develops our self confidence, and helps us with resilience whatever age we are. As my eldest son reminded me recently, education and qualifications need work to achieve good paths in life.

Skills can be helpful in our work but also be a delight to others. This was demonstrated at a concert by the Kew Wind Orchestra at the Barn Church and also by the Q2 Players, an amateur drama group, whose performances I was able to see.

One outstanding pupil of Bhararanatyam (an ancient and divine Indian classical dance) I met was Rhea Pradhan, who has been attending the Upahaar School of Dance at Whitton Community Centre. Rhea showed great discipline of mind as well as skill in her dances. 

Of course, some of our residents have already branched out and the Rotary Clubs in the borough not only give to charities locally but some abroad. One of the Kew Rotary members, Robin Jowit, is leading a project to help school children in Ukraine. A first project has been successful and another is underway.

The Twickenham Sea Cadets that I visited last week are another place where skills that last can be learnt. They certainly had been putting them to good use as Admiral Sir Philip Jones was there to present them with the Canada Trophy which was awarded for being the best Sea Cadet Unit in the UK in 2023.

A sought after sea cadet badge.

Trafalgar School Choir showed me their singing skills on Sunday at their Earth Fair. It was rather cold (but some parts of Earth are) but good fun and lots of effort had been put in by the School PTA, staff and children to hold this event. In the afternoon I attended a competition between the bowling clubs of the borough. This one was held at the Strawberry Hill Club which meets in Radnor Gardens. More skills in evidence here and an invitation to gain them if you join one of the bowling clubs around the borough. 

Hampton Bowling Club were the winners of the Mayoral Cup this year.

So, as I enjoy my last two weeks as Mayor I hope you are able to keep showing resilience but also thank you for the skills you all use to make our borough the best place it can be. The Deputy Mayor ended her last blog quoting the Barnes motto, 'Not for ourselves alone'. I think Twickenham’s, 'Looking backward, looking forward', probably fits the theme of resilience. Somethings are learnt by looking at what has happened and hope can be found in the future.

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Updated: 2 May 2024