Mayor set to tackle ‘hidden illnesses’

By Ian Dipple Friday 13 June 2014 Updated: 13/06 09:23

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Buy photos » Coun Wanda King hands over the mayoral chain to Coun Pat Witherspoon. Story and picture by Ian Dipple (s).

REDDITCH’S new mayor has vowed to use her time in office to raise awareness of ‘hidden illnesses’ and counter claims Redditch lacks musical talent.

Coun Pat Witherspoon received the mayoral chain during Monday’s annual council meeting (June 9) and said it was a special honour to undertake the role during the 50th anniversary of Redditch’s designation as a new town.

Her first official duty was to accept the So Redditch 50th Anniversary pledge from the Town Centre Partnership, setting out a vision for Redditch over the next half a century.

Her charities for the year will be Redditch Mental Health Action Group and Redditch Friends Together, which campaigns to raise awareness of people suffering with dementia.

Coun Witherspoon pledged to be an ambassador for both causes which she said were hidden from society.

“During my life I have experienced many times when I wish someone would really listen and ease my pain,” she said.

“We have to stop hiding these huge issues that affect so many of us of all ages.”

All mayoral events will also include music by local artists in response to research claiming Redditch was the least musically sophisticated place in the UK.

“That’s something Redditch does not have, so they tell us. We will prove them wrong, we have an abundance of it in this town.”

Coun Witherspoon was born into a mining family in 1941 in Hamstead Birmingham, the eldest of six children. She attended

West Bromwich Grammar School and in 1961 married Brian having two children Lesley and Richard.

The 73-year-old has had a variety of jobs ranging from a childminder to a florist and several roles in local government including a housing assistant, education welfare officer and a social worker.

She met her current husband and mayoral consort John in 1991 and they moved to Redditch on June 10, 1994. Coun Witherspoon is involved in the Friends of Gruchet and Auxerre – two of the borough’s twin towns – is chair of Redditch Older

People’s Forum and is currently a councillor for Church Hill. She has a love of parties and West Bromwich Albion.

She replaces Coun Wanda King who has held the office for the last 12 months raising more than £4,300 for her charities

Myeloma UK, Redditch Special Olympics and the Primrose Hospice.

“I take away so many wonderful memories from the last 12 months,” she said.

“I have met so many lovely people and these are the special things that have made my mayoral year such a big part of my life.”

Her final act was to present the outstanding community contribution award to Ron and Elaine Daykin, who run Redditch Special Olympics.

Coun Pattie Hill has been elected as deputy mayor for the year.

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