Keswick’s new mayor joked that he “might not be a lucky charm” after starting his second spell in the role in the midst of the 2020 coronavirus lockdown.
Cllr Paul Titley recalled how his only previous 12-month stint as the town’s mayor back in 2015-16 saw Keswick suffer terrible flood damage after being hit by Storm Desmond.
However, he is looking forward optimistically to Keswick emerging from Covid-19 shutdown as soon as possible this year after being elected mayor as the only candidate at Thursday evening’s annual town council meeting held online.
“It is a huge honour to be the mayor of this town. My family chose to live here. We could have lived anywhere in the world and we decided to live in Keswick and we haven’t regretted it,” said Cllr Titley, a retired businessman who comes from Dartford in Kent.
He succeeds Cllr David Burn, who became deputy mayor after beating the only other candidate – Cllr Allan Daniels – by a narrow but undisclosed email vote among fellow councillors. It was a second setback for Cllr Daniels, who as deputy mayor in 2018-19 had been due to step up before the death of Cllr Martin Pugmire resulted in a delayed by-election which ruled out Cllr Daniels last May.
By contrast, Cllr Burn is now in line to next year become the first person to be mayor of Keswick four times, having filled the role in three of the last four years. He congratulated Cllr Titley on becoming mayor and chairman of the town council for 2020-21 as he handed over to him..
Cllr Titley forecast a “very peculiar year” because of the effects of coronavirus, adding: “I don’t think there will ever be a year like it. Hopefully not.”
He is entitled to receive an annual chairman’s allowance of £2,000 to cover travel and other costs during the 12-month period in office but Cllr Titley has offered not to claim it, instead suggesting it could go back into the town council’s coffers to possibly help fund a post-coronavirus project. Cllr Alan Dunn said it was a “lovely gesture.”