The Mayor of Islington: a year in review
Councillor Dave Poyser has, for the last year, held the ceremonial and historic title of Mayor of Islington. During this time he’s helped raise money for his chosen charities, Freightliner’s Farm and Caris Homeless cold weather shelter, attended hundreds of community events and been generally ‘larking about’. Find out more about the man who still loves to make his mum feel proud.
What were some of the highlights of your year in office as Mayor of Islington?
“I feel very passionately about climate change, so when some Islington Primary Schools took a Friday off to protest, I was able to lead the enthusiastic chanting of a group of primary schools on Highbury Fields.
“It’s particularly great when the Mayor can help make a community event fun (I went to hundreds all over the borough in the course of the year!), by larking about. For example, when I was clinging on to a ‘bucking bronco’ (before, inevitably I fell off!), which went on to be voted ‘National Civic Photo of the Week’!
“It was a great honour to be a professional London guide showing off Islington’s history, when all the other Mayors from London boroughs joined me in the Whittington Walk, from Whittington Hospital to lunch at Mansion House in The City, with the Lord Mayor.
“I was seriously chuffed to be able to wear my grandad’s Military Cross medal (from service in the First World War) during our many centenary civic remembrance ceremonies honouring Islington’s 1914-1918 war dead. My grandad’s daughter, my mum, is alive in her 90s and I still love to make her feel proud of me if I possibly can.”
The Mayor of Islington with the Honourable Artillery Company at their annual open day
Could you tell us a little more about the charities you supported while in office?
“Freightliners is an urban farm near Highbury Roundabout. I have been there a lot as a parent and also, more formally in my role as Mayor of Islington. They help a lot of people with learning disabilities, mental health issues and difficulties dealing with loss and isolation. There’s loads of animals and also arable farming. A few years ago a few councillors dressed up as cows to raise money for them on a sponsored run!
“The Caris Homeless cold weather shelter is a group of Islington churches who open their doors to the homeless in the freezing winter months. There’s a different church for each day of the week. A lot of volunteers are involved in cooking evening meals for them and giving them a good breakfast before they leave. I’ve volunteered to sleep overnight in St Andrews (N19, also in Christ Church in Highbury) for some years now so I know first-hand how valuable the organisation is. The money raised will go to help the homeless guests – for example pack lunches, or money to go to job interviews. It’s also a great use for the church buildings.”
The Mayor of Islington joins the Mayor of Camden to honour the War Dead during the centenary of the end of the First World War
What’s the thing you love most about Islington?
“Diversity and creativity. I think they are linked. Going back hundreds of years, as Finsbury was outside the historic London Wall, surrounding The City of London, this area is where theatre, entertainment, and radicalism has always thrived. Islington still continues this ancient tradition – where Islington leads, the rest of the country follows. Camden is very similar, so the Mayor of Camden and I were often together, celebrating LGBTIQ events across the boroughs.”
If you could change one thing about the borough, what would it be?
“More social housing. The many emails I get as a local Councillor from teenagers who are sharing bedrooms makes me feel awful when I can’t help.”