Charlie is our new mayor!

THURROCK’S mayor for the coming year is Cllr Charlie Curtis.

He was elected to the post of Thurrock’s first citizen by the casting vote of outgoing mayor Anne Cheale at Wednesday (25 May) evening’s annual meeting of Thurrock Council.

Mrs Cheale — who stepped down from the council at May’s local elections — was forced to make her decision after the meeting voted equally (24-24) for two candidates, Cllr Curtis and deputy mayor Cllr Tunde Ojetola.

Mayor of Thurrock, Cllr Charlie Curtis, announced that his three charities for the coming year would be the Little Haven’s Children’s Hospice, the Thurrock Community Chest, and the Royal British Legion.

The mayor said: “I am humble, proud, excited and grateful. This is an enormous honour.”

In his acceptance speech, he admitted being a “bit old fashioned”. He said: “I love this country of ours even with all its lumps and bumps it is still the best place in the world.

“I also love living in Thurrock — so many nice people.”

Cllr Curtis spoke of his time in the armed forces and his “support for our service men and women who are at present fighting on our behalf”.

He said: “Today I see in England people from all over the world who have come to live with us and have contributed to making us Great Britain. My feelings are that those who have settled her have helped to make Great Britain great again.”

After admitting to being a Tottenham Hotspur supporter, Cllr Curtis said during the Second World War he had been evacuated three times and went to five different schools.

He said that is why “education is very important to me and why I will give my full support to the Leader, the chief executive and the director of education to make sure that our Key Stage 1 and 2 results improve — I will be watching them!

“The young people of Thurrock are our future and we must ensure they receive the resources and the encouragement they need.”

Mrs Cheale told the meeting that her mayoral charity appeals had raised “considerable sums” for the Thurrock Community Chest, NSPCC Tilbury branch and St Luke’s Hospice.

She said: “It’s been a long year with many ups and downs, but it’s been a privilege to serve the people of Thurrock and to represent Thurrock.”

Council Leader, Cllr John Kent, said: “I want to pay tribute to Anne Cheale, not just for her year as mayor, but for her many years serving the people of Thurrock.

“Before she became an elected member, I knew Anne through her work with the NSPCC in Tilbury; then as a councillor; later as an opposition leader, then Leader or the Council, chair of scrutiny committees and then as mayor.

“I would like to thank her for her many years of service. I’m sure she’ll look back on her years of service with pride,”

Cllr Barry Palmer, Leader of the council’s Independent group, added: “Anne has served this borough well and not just during her year as mayor. I’m sure she’ll have many happy memories and wish her well for the future.”

The Mayoress of Thurrock for the coming year will be Cllr Wendy Curtis. Deputy mayor is Cllr Yash Gupta and deputy mayoress will be Cllr Gupta’s wife Pushpa.

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