Mr Mayor is on cue with the young

PUBLISHED: 07:05 25 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:21 24 May 2010

AFTER representing Weston at over 350 presentations, parties and events, Councillor Charles Heard has hung up his chains and robes as the town's mayor. In a ceremony at the Town Hall on May 11, Cllr Paula Howell was formally declared the mayor for 2006/0

AFTER representing Weston at over 350 presentations, parties and events, Councillor Charles Heard has hung up his chains and robes as the town's mayor. In a ceremony at the Town Hall on May 11, Cllr Paula Howell was formally declared the mayor for 2006/07.During the hand-over Cllr Heard's time as mayor was described as 'the year of the young'.One perk the 65-year-old intends to continue with is his honorary membership of Barcode Youth Cafe. A firm favourite with the under 18s who use the facilities in South Parade, Cllr Heard remains the venue's unbeaten pool champion.One of his favourite memories came during a visit to Mendip Green Preschool. The visit was organised after it became the only preschool in North Somerset to achieve a level three award.Cllr Heard said: "Being my usual daft self, when we were all told to go into the garden I said I couldn't find my way outside on my own, so a little three-year-old boy took my hand and said 'it's okay Mr Mayor I'll show you'."Attending Wyvern Community School for a special assembly, Cllr Heard and his wife Gillian could not understand why everyone was surprised to see him. The headteacher quickly organised an impromptu assembly and it was only half an hour later that members of the mayor's party realised they were supposed to be at St Martin's Junior School in Worle.Cllr Heard said: "We rushed off to the right school and discovered the poor little children had been sat in the hall waiting for us all that time, guessing what kind of car we would arrive in to keep themselves occupied. They didn't seem that upset we were late but were terribly disappointed my Rover 75 wasn't a posh green Bentley. It was the only time we got something wrong."Ceremonies marking the opening of revamped play areas all over town have also proved popular with Cllr Heard. He said: "I know I'm too old to be hanging from ropes but I can't resist. At the opening of the Ashcombe Park play area I used the zip wire and could barely get up off the floor."I've met so many wonderful people, particularly children, and now I often get stopped in the street by youngsters who drag their parents over saying 'come and say hello to Mr Mayor'."One of the strangest events Cllr Heard recalls is the 75th anniversary of Gandhi's Salt March, when a group of dignitaries walked down to the water's edge at Weston and threw salt from India into the sea. Cllr Heard said: "It was a gale force nine and the tide was miles out. When I threw the salt it flew straight back into my face. We ended up with salt all down us."During his year in office Cllr Heard has been photographed countless times, and there is only one snap which does not feature his trademark smile. It turned to a frown when he was asked to hold Noah the Boa at the opening of a pet centre. He said: "Gillian held most of the snake. I just had the tail but it wrapped itself round my little finger and I just froze. I now have the picture as the screensaver on my computer to try to get over my fear of snakes."In between official engagements the busy couple spent many hours showing groups around the Mayor's Parlour at Grove House and playing cards with homeless people at the Salvation Army.As a rest Cllr Heard and Gillian are off on holiday. Having worked as a flight director for 39 years and a cabin purser for 28 years for British Airways they get four free flights anywhere in the world annually. But they said: "We never use them because we like to go on cruises.

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