OUTGOING Mayor of Oldham Councillor Ginny Alexander said she will ‘cherish this journey forever’ as she handed over the chains and robes of office.
Cllr Alexander’s time in the role came to a close on May 19 after two years as the borough’s first citizen.
Usually a mayor serves for one year but Cllr Alexander was invited by Oldham Council to continue for a second after her tenure was disrupted by coronavirus.
As she hands over the reins to Cllr Jenny Harrison, is it the first time two women have taken the town’s chains of office in successive years.
Cllr Alexander, who has lived in the St James ward for more than 20 years and has represented the area since 2014, said: “My husband Adrian and I want to thank all of you for your support and kindness and your generosity.
“It has been an honour and a privilege being your Mayor and I will cherish this journey forever.
“We wanted to take you on our journey from day one so we put our heads together with Karen Jakeman and Joe Wheeler who set up the Mayor of Oldham Facebook Page to keep you informed of where we visited and what we had done on that day.
“The page has gone from strength to strength – it has been viewed over 1.5 million times in over 50 countries worldwide.
“Thank you Karen and Joe for your support and time that you have given to us to let people know the role of Mayor and Consort, with attention to detail and the brilliant photos.
“We would like to thank everyone for the lovely comments made on the posts, and for following us on our journey.
“We visited so many amazing places and met so many wonderful people. I didn’t realise we have so many wonderful organisations, fantastic charities, businesses and so many gifted children and people. Oldham is truly amazing, simply the best.
“Never did we imagine that the Covid-19 pandemic would come and stop us all in our tracks. Events postponed, holidays cancelled, not being able to see loved ones and restrictions put in place. It truly has been an awful time for us all.
“Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to those who have lost loved ones during this pandemic.
“We were asked to continue for another year as we should have finished in May 2020.
“So, we continued to think of what we could do to cheer people up. We started sending out bouquets of flowers and cards to people celebrating a special birthday or anniversary.
“We put their stories on our Facebook Page so everyone could join in the celebration on their special day.
“We would like to thank the Parks Team and Dale Robinson at Bloomingdales for over 50 beautiful bouquets that were made to send to people who were celebrating.
“We also started to give out the monies raised through the Mayor’s Appeal Fund. The money was desperately needed now everything was closed, charities could not do their usual fundraising and foodbanks needed to buy items for those in need.
“I was so proud to be able to donate to over 34 charities each so deserving of our support.
“We also decided to give out the Mayor’s Appreciation Awards to people and groups that have gone above and beyond to help the community.
“I gave out 27 Mayors Awards and two Civic Appreciation Awards. I am so proud of each and every one of you.
“It has been a pleasure working with the Youth Mayor Samah Kahlil and we wish her all the very best for the future.
“We are very proud and honoured to have served you the people of Oldham. We sincerely hope that you also have enjoyed the journey with us it has been truly amazing.
“There are too many good people to mention so I will just say a very big thank you to all the volunteers, those who have supported us and donated to the Mayors Appeal Fund over these past two years.”
Cllr Harrison took over officially at the Annual Council and Mayor Making ceremony.