After a whirlwind year Harrogate’s Mayor Mike Newby will hand over the chains to Coun Jim Clark this evening.
Michael Newby, has served the role of Mayor of the Harrogate District like no other, attending over 500 events and bringing the 130 year old role into the digital age.
He, along with his consort Clive Kirkham, has travelled the length and breadth of the district, meeting thousands of residents during his mayoral year.
Mike said: “It has been a brilliant year, I have really enjoyed going out and meeting folk all over the district.”
During his year in the role Mike has supported countless charity events and praised the hard work of voluntary groups.
He said: “It has been a real eye opener to see how reliant we are on voluntary groups and just how much volunteers give to the community.”
Karen Weaver, chief executive of the Harrogate and Ripon Centre for Voluntary Service presented a certificate of thanks to the Mayor last month.
She said: “Mike has been great, I think he has just been fantastic.
“Him and Clive have really thrown themselves into everything and been to so many events. They have highlighted the work done by volunteers in the district and raised the profile of so many groups.
“They are always so friendly and chatty with people, Mike always makes people feel appreciated for what they do.”
She added: “I have known Mike for years and know how involved he has been with charity groups. His Mayoral year has just given him the opportunity to do more.”
As Mayor Mike selected Supporting Older People as one his charities for the year and has helped to raise the profile of the loneliness elderly people in our area face.
Supporting Older People director Kate Rogata said: “Mike is very accessible to people in the community and to organisations, and not just because we are his charity of the year.
“He has just opened doors for us and that is one of the key things we need. There are lots of charities that he could have chosen and it was lovely that he chose us.”
Supporting Older People, home visiting manager Anne Alblas said: “Mike has been to quite a few of our events. We thought he would just stay for a short while but he stays all day and has lunch with people.
“You can just see that people love him and the warmth from him is very obvious.”
Mike’s first big event as Mayor was opening the Harrogate dog show, he said: “It only seems five minutes and I am now thinking where has it gone?”
Mike has faced some rather unusual challenges in his mayoral role, which he has always tackled head on.
“Abseiling off Brimham Rocks was certainly unusual, as was cutting a ribbon while dangling above How Steen Gorge. I had to try and chop up a giant cabbage at the Autumn flower show, which was one of the strangest things I had to do.
“I have had quite a horticultural year with all the in bloom groups and flower shows. And I have sampled a lot of cakes too, I remember I had to try 15 different cakes at one event. It’s a hard job, but somebody has got to do it!”
Oatlands Gala was lucky enough to have Mayor Mike Newby and Clive attend in both 2013 and 2014.
Organiser Anna Woollven said: “It was one of his first jobs and one of his last. They are so enthusiatic, it was a rainy day but they were such good fun.
“Mike and Clive have been a breath of fresh air, what ever they do they give it their all.”
Fiona Movley, chairman of Harrogate International Festivals agreed, she said: “They have given such support to the arts and charities, they have been just what Harrogate needed.
“Mike and Clive have come as a pair and have done everything with the upmost commitment, enthusiasm and fun.”
She added: “It is apt that Harrogate was voted the happiest place to live while Mike Newby was Mayor!”
After serving 24 years as a councillor in Harrogate, Mike decided to step down this year.
He said: “I was ready to move on. I have done 24 out of the last 30 years as a councillor and it isn’t going to get better than being mayor.”
Coun Jim Clark will take on the role of Mayor with a ceremony tonight (Thursday June 12).
Mike said: “Jim is an experienced councillor and I wish him all the best and hope he has as rewarding a time as I have.”