new mayor

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - 24 -

The last mayor, Irene Walsh, was in­volved with that, and she in­vited me to be part of it.

“It’s some­thing that we want to in­tro­duce into the city. There’s a me­mo­rial at the side of the cathe­dral, but we want some­thing more pub­lic, where peo­ple can go and pay their re­spects.”

This too has a per­sonal sig­nif­i­cance for Keith, as his fa­ther Bill was in the Ter­ri­to­rial Army.

“He was called up at 12pm, an hour af­ter war had been de­clared and was in France that evening,” Keith said. “He was in Dunkirk and was awarded the mil­i­tary cross.”

As mayor, Keith’s role this year is non-po­lit­i­cal. How­ever, he in­sists this won’t bother him, as this is not nec­es­sar­ily how he sees him­self any­way.

“I don’t see my­self as a politician,” he said. “I see my­self as in­de­pen­dent, rep­re­sent­ing the vot­ers of north ward and sub­se­quently the city. “They are the most im­por­tant peo­ple.”

Ear­lier this year, how­ever, Keith was mak­ing head­lines for his po­lit­i­cal ac­tivism.

He and fel­low councillor Charles Swift wrote to the Prime Min­is­ter and lead­ers of the ma­jor par­ties about the prob­lems caused by mass mi­gra­tion in Peter­bor­ough, and the let­ter, and the is­sue of im­mi­gra­tion into Peter­bor­ough, made the na­tional me­dia.

How­ever, Keith be­lieves that his po­si­tion and be­liefs on this is­sue are sim­ple, and less con­tro­ver­sial than peo­ple may think.

“I’ve had all na­tion­al­i­ties sup­port­ing me,” he said. “I have had Asian and Lithua­nian res­i­dents say to me they be­lieve that the Govern­ment should have tighter con­trols on im­mi­gra­tion.

“Ev­ery­body is say­ing that im­mi­gra­tion is an is­sue. All we’re say­ing is that the Govern­ment, hav­ing said we’ve got more mi­grant work­ers, should sit down and dis­cuss how we’re go­ing to deal with that, and make sure that we are funded cor­rectly.”

Such is­sues will take a back­seat for Keith for the next year, how­ever, as he will spend his time in a more cer­e­mo­nial role, out meet­ing and greet­ing and at­tend­ing dif­fer­ent func­tions.

He has a very clear vi­sion of what kind of mayor he wants to be, hop­ing to spend as much time as pos­si­ble away from the town hall and get out and about in the com­mu­nity.

“I want to be a hands-on mayor,” he said. “Doris and I want to be mix­ing in the com­mu­nity. We want to be part of the com­mu­nity, we want com­mu­nity groups to write to us and in­vite us.

“We want to be more in­volved, to be out there in the streets with the peo­ple, so please can they get in touch.

“I’m ea­ger to be meet­ing peo­ple and be part of the com­mu­nity. Let’s ed­u­cate peo­ple about what the role of the councillor is and hope­fully we’ll get peo­ple vot­ing.”

MAK­ING A SPLASH: City Mayor Cllr Keith Sharp of­fi­cially opens the Lido pool for the sum­mer sea­son.

OF­FI­CIAL: Keith takes his seat as mayor at the may­or­mak­ing cer­e­mony.

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