The Mayoress of Worthing talks charity and discusses why she and the Mayor took their roles.

I spoke to Fran Harman, the Mayoress of Worthing, about the work she and her husband Alex are doing in the community. The youngest ever Mayor took the role after becoming a local councillor, and “the first meeting that any councillor goes to is mayor making.” From there, Fran suggested to Alex that he run for Mayor, to which he said no. However, after thinking and talking it over with Fran, they decided “why not?”. Soon after, Alex put himself forward, and became deputy Mayor last year after a near unanimous vote, with he himself abstaining, and then this year was “unanimously voted” into the role of Mayor, the youngest ever. He then chose Fran as his Mayoress, and the rest is history.

One of the many roles of the Mayor is to choose and fundraise for the Mayor's charities, and this time they chose Ashdown Centre, Worthing Mencap and the Alzheimer’s society. These were chosen after they requested information from local charities, and the Ashdown Centre was one of the first to reply, and requested to be made a Mayor's charity. After seeing the Ashdown Centre, it was an “easy option”. Worthing Mencap has been in Worthing for many years and “has never been a Mayor’s charity”, and so they wanted to make aware the great work they’ve done and will continue to do. Finally, the Alzheimer’s society has a personal link to Alex, whose Grandfather sadly passed away eleven years ago after suffering from dementia, so he has seen first hand the great work they do for people. The Mayor and Mayoress have run many events for the charities this year, with a car wash at the Guildbourne Centre raising “£350”, the car washing itself done by the youth council, which is made up of young people looking to make a difference. There has also been a fish and chip evening, which was a big event including a quiz and magic show, which “raised again around £300”. In addition, coming up there is the annual charity swim. Fran is also looking to do a “birthday bash” for the Mayor, among other events. The work Fran and Alex do is done out of love for the town. Fran said the work is a “fantastic experience for anyone if they get the chance” and the experiences she’s had and the people she’s met have been amazing. Also, she said it has changed her perspective of the town and her “eyes are completely open to what Worthing actually has to offer”. She would also recommend to others this role, as “not only does it improve your confidence”, it “really is just a complete other world”.

Alex and Fran’s work for the charities is impressive, and the role is still such an important and interesting one, even today. May they long continue their work to help the town to become a better place!

By Josh Farley, Worthing High School.