New Royal Borough mayor 'honoured' to take up position

The Royal Borough’s new mayor says it is a ‘very special honour’ to take on the position as she became the first citizen of the borough at an annual council meeting this week.

Councillor Christine Bateson (Con, Sunningdale and Cheapside) took over from former mayor Cllr John Story (Con, Ascot & Sunninghill) at the Desborough Suite meeting on Tuesday night.

Originally from Prestbury in Cheshire, Cllr Bateson and her late husband Peter lived in Canada for 10 years, where she worked as a dietician, before they returned to the UK in 1979.

First moving to Crowthorne, she became a parish councillor for Wokingham, and then in 1984 they moved with their three children to Ascot where she became a parish councillor for Sunninghill for 10 years.

Cllr Bateson was first elected to the Royal Borough in 1995 and over the past 27 years has held roles including 10 years as a cabinet member and deputy leader from 2000 to 2003.

“In my 27 years with the council I have held many different positions, and loved every single minute,” she told Tuesday’s meeting. “However, being elected mayor is a very special honour and indeed a privilege.”

Cllr Bateson – who will be retiring from the council at the next election in May 2023 – added that she looks forward to work with her chosen charities, which includes Ascot Day Centre for the Elderly.

“I hope to use my last year as a councillor, and as mayor, to meet as many residents as I can and to give back to the place so dear to my heart,” she added.

“I would also like to pay tribute to Cllr Story for his outstanding service and example.”

Cllr Story had earlier made a speech at annual council reflecting on his time as mayor during a period which involved a two-year pandemic.

“It’s been a genuine privilege to serve and represent the wonderful people of the Royal Borough as mayor. During my extended mayoral term, I have been fortunate to meet so many inspirational people from across our community.

“I have particularly enjoyed representing the borough during this Royal Jubilee year, which has really brought the whole community together, and I very much look forward to joining in with further celebrations later this year marking Her Majesty’s 70 years.”

Cllr Bateson will be accompanied by her son Richard Bateson as mayor’s consort, while Cllr Gary Muir (Con, Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury), will continue as deputy mayor.

One of her first jobs will be to represent the borough at the various Platinum Jubilee celebrations next weekend.

Leader of the council, Cllr Andrew Johnson, praised Cllr Bateson for her public service and updated members on chairman appointments to the council’s various meetings for 2022/23.

The leader added that a few ‘last minute’ changes had been made to the report, including Cllr John Bowden (Con, Eton and Castle) losing his chairmanship at the Windsor Town Forum, and aviation forum.

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