JENNY Harrison is the new Mayor of Oldham aiming to spread a message of diversity and inclusion during her year in office.
Councillor Harrison, a retired teacher, succeeds Cllr Ginny Alexander after two years serving as the borough’s deputy mayor.
Her planning succession in 2020 was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is the first time two women have taken the town’s chains of office in successive years.
Cllr Harrison’s big day also marked a family reunion for the first time since December 2019 with her children travelling from Hampshire, Somerset, Lancaster and Royton to share in an outside celebration.
Following the traditional mayor making ceremony, the mum of four and grandmother of six held a garden party at her home of the last 40 years in Moorside.
Elected to the Council in 2011, Cllr Harrison, 73, told the Independent: “I feel very honoured. It is something I never expected to do.
“My late husband (Philip) had been a councillor since 1996 and I always thought one day I might be Mayoress.
“I love this town and the borough,” added Cllr Harrison who has represented Alexandra ward for the last decade.
“I choose to live here even though I could live in other parts of the country nearer to my children.
“But I am rooted here and I am very grateful to serve it in different ways.
“I did a lot of years as a teacher and I wasn’t ready to retire. In fact, I have been busier in the post retirement years than at other times.
“I like being active and being help to people, meet new friends.”
The theme of diversity and inclusion is extended to the organisations she will be raising funds for in the next 12 months.
Cllr Harrison’s chosen charities are AGE UK Oldham, Oldham Street Angels, Andy’s Man Club, POINT, Maggie’s Oldham, Terence O’Grady Social Club, UKEFF and Inspiring Futures Partnership CIC (Inspire Women Oldham).
“They are all local charities or a local branch of a national charity,” she said. “And I took a lot of time choosing to make sure they were the right ones.
“I didn’t go for the obvious ones which are very worthy. I just wanted to spread the net a little bit wider.”
Additionally, the Mayor will support other organisations whose needs become apparent at the time of future visits.
Part of her charity total will be set aside for those groups for whom a donation will make a big difference.
The Mayor’s consorts will be Cllrs Shahid Mushtaq and Zahid Chauhan OBE.
The new deputy mayor is Cllr Elaine Garry and her consorts will be Cllrs Peter Davis and Graham Shuttleworth.