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New Mayor champions local volunteers

With the theme of 'Volunteering - for the people, by the people', the new Mayor for 2018-19 is Cllr Mike Parsons.

The new Mayor and Deputy Mayor were appointed at the mayor-making ceremony today.

During his mayoral year, Mike aims to encourage residents, businesses and the local community to acknowledge, recognise and appreciate the many people who volunteer, giving up their time and energy to help others.

Mayor Cllr Mike Parsons

Comments the Mayor: "Volunteering is something to be proud of, and we have many, many volunteers in Surrey. Volunteers contribute significantly to the UK economy each year. Volunteering individuals and groups richly deserve recognition by us all. During my mayoral year I plan to visit as many community groups and organisations as possible to see the work they do and to personally thank volunteers on behalf of all our residents".

The Mayor's chosen charities for the year are a new fund to support young carers in Guildford, Headway Surrey (supporting people with brain injury) and The Mayor of Guildford's Local Distress Fund.

Adds the Mayor: "One of the causes I wanted to support during my mayoral year is young carers. I have worked with the Council and the Community Foundation for Surrey to set up a new charitable fund to support these young people who often find their childhood replaced by caring for a relative in the family. Some never reach their academic potential, and they may suffer mental health issues, bullying and social media abuse. These young people are often unable to access help and many do not even realise that they are acting as carers - it's just what they do.

"The new Guildford Young Carers Fund will award grants to support young carers in the borough by providing services or equipment that will help them with their educational, emotional and social needs. We would love to hear from you if you would be able to support this new initiative in any way or would be prepared to make a donation.

"I very much hope that residents, businesses, and the local community will show their support for these three worthwhile causes - there will be fundraising events and activities for everyone to get involved in!"

Born in Cardiff, Mike has lived in the borough for 13 years. In 2012 he became a Chilworth Parish councillor in Shalford, and in 2015 he was elected Guildford Borough councillor for Shalford ward. Mike has served on a number of Council's committees and groups including the Licensing Committee, Executive Advisory Board, Museum Working Group, and Military Covenant Panel.

Deputy and Mayor 2018-2019 landing page image

Mike completed more than 22 years' service in the British Army, leaving in 1986, and retired in 2010 after a career in logistics in a variety of importing and exporting industries. Married to Jean for 48 years, Mike is an avid beach fisherman, and a keen rugby fan.

The deputy mayor for 2018-19 is Cllr Richard Billington.

For more information on Guildford Young Carers, or to donate, visit our Guildford Young Carers Fund web page.

Published on Wednesday 9 May.