At the annual meeting of council on 18 May, Cllr Beth Rowland was elected as Wokingham Borough Mayor for the coming year (2023-24). She has taken over the chain of office from Cllr Caroline Smith.
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 His Majesty The King or his representative is in attendance, the Mayor takes precedence over any other dignitaries at events within Wokingham Borough.
Wokingham Borough Mayor Cllr Beth Rowland said: “I am delighted to serve as your Wokingham Borough Mayor and would like to thank people for putting their faith in me for the coming year. I will carry out this position to the best of my ability and hope to live up to the legacy of my predecessor, Cllr Caroline Smith who has been a great example to us all.
“As Mayor I look forward to meeting residents as well as many of the great organisations active across the Borough. It’s an opportunity to show how they are valued as well as shining a spotlight on the fantastic work they are doing to make Wokingham Borough such a wonderful place.”
Cllr Rowland represents the South Lake Ward in Woodley. She has been a resident of South Lake for almost 50 years and has four children who were all educated locally and eight grandchildren. She has been a governor at South Lake Primary School for nearly 40 years and held the same role at Highwood Primary School in Woodley for more than 20 years.
Cllr Rowland has been a councillor for more than twenty-five years and in 2000, she served as Mayor of Woodley. She is also a Woodley Town Councillor, a Trustee at Waingels Academy in Woodley and has worked at Berkshire Credit Union since retiring over ten years ago. She is also a member of Christ Church in Woodley.
Last year, Cllr Rowland raised an incredible £1,250 for Macmillan Cancer Support by having her head shaved in public. She braved the shave after several people in her life were diagnosed with cancer.
The Mayor traditionally chooses a local charity to benefit from fundraising during their year in office. This year, Cllr Beth Rowland has chosen Woodley Foodbank which serves the people of Woodley and the surrounding area, fighting food poverty and ensuring that no one goes hungry. Woodley Foodbank is part of the Pilot Light Trust, a registered charity set up by the churches of Woodley. Established in 1997, Woodley Foodbank has been providing food to the local community for more than 25 years.
About the Deputy Mayor (Cllr Adrian Mather)
Cllr Beth Rowland’s deputy for the year is Cllr Adrian Mather, who represents Evendons Ward in Wokingham. Cllr Mather has been a resident of Wokingham since 1999 and has three grown-up children who were all born and educated locally.
Cllr Mather was previously chair of the Wokingham Borough Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee and also a partner governor of the Royal Berkshire NHS Trust and a representative on the joint Buckinghamshire Oxfordshire and Berkshire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee. It is his intention to continue where possible these or similar roles and therefore represent health aspects of Wokingham Borough residents.
Cllr Mather has been a councillor for four years, representing Wokingham Borough Council and Wokingham Town Council both for Evendons Ward. Since 2005, he has worked for a large software company.
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