Cllr Fletcher’s Year as Mayor
On May 11, 2017, Islington Mayor Kat Fletcher will give up her robes and her Deputy, Cllr Una O’Halloran, will take over. As her time as mayor draws to a close, Kat reflects on what she says have been “an extraordinary 12 months”.
“This is the best job in the borough and I absolutely mean it,” she says. “You see aspects of Islington life that no one else has the privilege to see and people react to you and engage with you in a way that is so magical and special.”
Kat’s year has involved attending around 500 events in Islington, from switching on the Christmas lights to royal engagements.
“I was recently involved in the re-opening of the Charterhouse to the public, and one of my duties was to greet the Queen and Prince Philip into the borough – which was obviously amazing. But it’s also amazing when you’re at a school sports day or doing tea dances with some of the older citizens. I’ve had a number of marriage proposals from older gentlemen in their 80s!”
“When you are mayor, the sense of pride in Islington is so apparent. This special role, which comes with these special chains and special robes, matters to people so much, in a way that I don’t think I realised”, she says. “I’ve learnt so many things. It transforms your relationships with the community – it’s made me appreciate even more what a wonderful, diverse and energetic borough Islington is.”
Is there anything that Kat doesn’t enjoy about being mayor?
“The hardest thing about being Mayor is probably the amount of Christmas dinners you’re expected to eat in the month of December!” she claims. “The company’s delightful, but when you’re on your third turkey dinner of the day, it can get a little tiresome.”
Each year the new mayor chooses a specific charity to support throughout their time in office. Kat’s choice was the Ben Kinsella Trust, which raises awareness of youth knife crime and its devastating consequences.
“I wanted to do something that would try and combat the awful epidemic of knife crime. We’ve done primarily fundraising for them over the year, but also a lot of work to raise their profile across the borough, in schools and other projects. One of my very last engagements in one of my final weeks in office, I’m doing a joint knife sweep with the metropolitan police and Kinsella volunteers, as a last act to boost their profile and tackle this huge problem.”
Whilst being a rewarding experience, taking on the role of mayor is a big time commitment. Now that Kat has her weekends back, what will she be doing?
“It’ll be nice to be back and rooted in my individual patch,” she says, “And then throw myself back into the challenges of Islington life and council life. I can’t really remember what spare time is! If anyone’s got any exciting invitations they’re more than welcome to send them my way.”
And how would she describe her year as mayor in three words?
“A joyful priviledge.”