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Being Mayor

For eight months, Pauline Ranson has been Mayor of Charnwood and has been to many events throughout the borough. But whatbrought her to this area in the first place and what is being Mayor actually like?

Mayor Ranson relocated from Ireland to London in the late sixties to train as a nurse. She spent 48 years working in the NHS, in a variety of fields, but eventually settled as a theatre nurse. After retiring from nursing in 2009, she continued to contribute to the community by serving on the governing bodies of Rawlins Academy and Hall Orchard Primary School. Mayor Ranson moved from Burton on the Wolds into Barrow mainly for convenience after serving as, in her words, a ‘human taxi’ for her family. She has lived in Barrow for sixteen years and frequently visits local restaurants with her husband. She enjoys living in the village as, although Barrow has grown a lot since she first moved, everything is within walking distance.

Fifteen years ago, Councillor Ranson first became involved with local government. She smiles, recounting the moment. “I was actually asked if I would stand as Parish Councillor and I just went, ‘Oh okay’, and didn’t think anything more of it. The next thing I knew I was a Parish Councillor!” Later, in 2007, she became a Borough Councillor.

Mayor Ranson finds she has a diverse role with a large variety of opportunities, which very much lends itself to her positive attitude and outlook on life. “Although nothing has gone wrong so far” she says with a broad smile, “ask me in five months, and I’ll let you know.” As Mayor, her days can be quite busy and can vary, so having a good support system helps. Mayor Ranson works alongside her husband and mayoral officers in order to prepare speeches and to deal with the press. Charnwood is lucky in that it has a Media Office which, for the Mayor, is useful in preparing speeches and conveying important information in the correct manner.

In general, Mayor Ranson’s responsibilities are to visit, and occasionally make speeches at, charity and community events and to be pleasant, which, in my opinion, she does very well. She has visited Charnwood’s Twinning Towns of Epinal in France and Zamosc in Poland and is hoping to visit Schwäbisch Hall and Gembloux in Germany and Belgium respectively. However, Mayor Ranson tells me some of the best opportunities she’s had are to visit 100th birthdays, as she says, laughingly, “It is a feat in itself to get to 100”. She often does presentations at schools and to children’s groups, which she very much enjoys as she finds they are often in awe, due to the prestigious golden chains. The robe and chains themselves are 129 years old and Mayor Ranson says that it is a great privilege to be able to wear them. She maintains that although time is not your own, and every day has to be a good day, it is a pleasure and an honour to represent the people of Charnwood and a privilege to have the role.

During her year as Mayor, Mrs Ranson is working with two charities – The Loughborough Wellbeing Cafe and Myaware. The Loughborough Wellbeing Cafe allows people of all ages struggling with mental health issues in Charnwood to access help within the local area. Mayor Ranson believes that it is necessary for mental health issues to be addressed now, as they have been swept under the rug for so long. They are working together to make the service more accessible to residents within the villages and more available during the week.

Myaware is a national charity that supports those living with myasthenia, a neurological condition that causes weakness in the muscles, typically the face. Mayor Ranson was encouraged to support this charity as her husband suffers with myasthenia. They are working with the charity to expand their support system and create a more local support base to help sufferers within the area.

Rachel Perry