It’s been a busy and exciting month for newly elected Wokingham Borough Mayor, Cllr Caroline Smith, who has met and socialised with many local people at a variety of events, the first of many engagements she will undertake in her civic year.
At the annual meeting of council on 19 May, Cllr Caroline Smith was elected as Wokingham Borough Mayor for the coming year (2022-23). She has taken over the chain of office from Cllr Keith Baker MBE.
The Mayor is officially the ‘first citizen’ of the borough with a civic role, representing the council and the people of the borough as well as presiding over borough council meetings. Unless Her Majesty The Queen or her representative is in attendance, the Mayor takes precedence over any other dignitaries at events.
First series of engagements
During her first month as borough Mayor, Cllr Caroline Smith has attended a series of engagements including her first ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil a commemorative bench and a renamed walking route at Dinton Pastures Country Park to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Other engagements have included a jubilee celebration garden party in Wokingham, a carers lunch which took place at the Bradbury Centre in Wokingham, a jubilee refugee picnic at Forbury Gardens in Reading, an open evening at Camp Mohawk in Wargrave and a citizenship ceremony at Wokingham Town Hall.
Wokingham Borough Mayor Cllr Caroline Smith said: “It is a real honour and privilege to be elected as Borough Mayor. I am very much looking forward to my year in office, especially during this historic year as we celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Our borough is a fantastic place to live, work and grow and I am very much looking forward to meeting as many local people as possible during the next 12 months.”
About the Mayor
Since 2019, Cllr Caroline Smith has represented the Hillside Ward and the Radstock Ward under Earley Town Council. She was born in Reading and moved to Earley thirty-four years ago. She is married to Cllr Mike Smith and they have three children and six grandchildren with another due soon.
After working in a Wokingham charity shop for 23 years, Cllr Caroline Smith retired in December 2021 and now volunteers at a charity shop in Reading in her spare time.
The Mayor's chosen charity for the year
The Mayor traditionally chooses a local charity to benefit from fundraising during their year in office. This year, Cllr Caroline Smith has chosen the Wokingham Foodbank. Based in Wokingham town, The Wokingham Foodbank is a project founded by local churches and community groups, working together to stop hunger in the borough. Staffed mostly by volunteers, the foodbank relies on donations of food, supplies and cash by local residents to deliver food and care packages to people in need.
Cllr Smith added: “I have worked for twenty years in the voluntary sector and know first-hand that we have amazing residents in Wokingham Borough with many stepping forward to volunteer, keeping the vulnerable safe and fed. Whilst we are regarded as affluent in the borough, there are many residents who will be worried about inflation, the rising cost of living and the horrendous situation in Ukraine and will need support by many sectors of our great community. One of my favourable parts of being Mayor is choosing a charity to support and my obvious choice of charity is the Wokingham Foodbank. I will be counting on all borough residents for your generous support for this very local cause.”
About the Deputy Mayor
Cllr Caroline Smith’s deputy for the year is Cllr Beth Rowland, who represents South Lake Ward in Woodley. Cllr Rowland has been a resident of South Lake for almost 50 years and has four children who were all educated locally and has eight grandchildren. She has been a governor at South Lake Primary School for nearly 40 years. She has also been a governor at Highwood Primary School in Woodley in Woodley for over 20 years and will be retiring at the end of the academic year to fulfil her duties as a councillor for South Lake.
She has been a councillor for more than twenty-five years and in 2000, she served as Mayor of Woodley. Cllr Rowland is a Woodley Town Councillor, a member at Waingels Academy in Woodley and has worked at Berkshire Credit Union since retiring over ten years ago. She is also a member of Christchurch in Woodley.
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