Mayor among men and women
DON Smith's diary is already jam-packed – and tonight it will get even busier as he takes on the role of Felixstowe's first citizen.They say if you want a job doing well, then give it to a busy man, and the Labour county and town councillor is already heavily involved in a long list of organisations that would prove a daunting workload for many others.
DON Smith's diary is already jam-packed – and tonight it will get even busier as he takes on the role of Felixstowe's first citizen.
They say if you want a job doing well, then give it to a busy man, and the Labour county and town councillor is already heavily involved in a long list of organisations that would prove a daunting workload for many others.
Tonight Mr Smith is set to add the job of Mayor of Felixstowe to that list when he receives the chain of office from outgoing mayor Doreen Savage.
He plans to focus on the job fully in the next 12 months, putting his heart and soul into it and enjoying every minute.
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"I have never had an ambition to be mayor – it's not something you strive for, thinking one day I will be the town's first citizen – but I am very privileged to be offered the chance to do it," he said.
"I look on the job as quite a serious one and I will be doing my best to represent the whole town and work for everybody."
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Retired civil servant Mr Smith, of Roman Way, Old Felixstowe, who will be accompanied by his wife Jean as mayoress, is a well respected figure in local politics and a greatly experienced councillor.
He was first elected to County Hall in 1980 and has been a county councillor for 20 of the past 24 years, serving as chairman for two years running, 1997-99.
His second year of chairmanship – a crucial period for the county council as it moved over to executive-style government – meant he had to forego a chance to be Felixstowe Mayor.
He has been a town councillor for most of the past decade, and now after a second time as deputy mayor steps up to become mayor.
His political career also included losing his town council seat on one occasion by the drawing straws after he tied on votes with another candidate.
Then in 2001, he was co-opted as a councillor – the first time it had happened in the town council's history – with Conservative support, showing the respect he has from all sides of the chamber.
Mr Smith, who moved to Felixstowe in 1970 when working for Customs and Excise, said young people would the focus of his mayoral year, and also the necessity to raise the rest of the money for the town's all-weather sports pitch.
"I would like to improve facilities for young people and I think that means arguing the case at the town council on their behalf," he said.
His many other roles include school governor, member of the advisory council on Religious Education, chairman of the development control sub committee at County Hall, magistrates' court observer, member of Felixstowe highways advisory and libraries and heritage groups, and the Suffolk Association of Volunteer Organisation Trustees.