Mayor

Councillor Penny Rivers

Penny was born in Jamaica and came to Godalming in 1974. She is married to Paul and they are due to celebrate their Ruby wedding anniversary this year in September. Penny is the proud mother of George, Robert, Edith and Edward, who all attended local schools and are now living and working in London and Osaka. Family is very important to Penny and since the death of her father in 2011, she has been a carer for her mother, Pamela.

Penny traces her interest in politics to her roots in Jamaica, where, when she was 11, she met Sir Alexander Bustamante who was the first Prime Minister of independent Jamaica and Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party. She remembers sitting beside him and listening to him for what seemed to her like hours. She had the great privilege to be a guest at his state funeral in Westminster Abbey in 1977 accompanying the then Minister for Tourism, Dr H. A. A. (Marco) Brown.

Penny is a Liberal Democrat and was first elected to Godalming Town Council in 1995, serving for the next 16 years during which time she was elected Mayor twice. She is currently serving on Surrey County Council for Godalming North and Waverley Borough Council for Farncombe & Catteshall Ward.

Penny’s Acceptance Speech

Thank you, Cllr Follows and Cllr Williams for your kind and supportive words.

Fellow Councillors, Town Clerk, honoured guests.

It is a surprise to be Mayor again!  But, as your Mayor, I will do my best to fulfil the duty of this office.

These are surprising days too for Godalming Town Council.  This is a new administration and a very different one.  We represent multicoloured political parties: yellow, green, red, blue and white – very nearly a rainbow; a spectrum of colours and of opinions.  Maybe unprecedented in the history of Godalming Town Council?

It is oft reported that people are fed up with politics, but this new council of many colours, elected by the people, brings new energy, change and hope.

Our Town Clerk calls us “Team Godalming”.  Cllr Williams identified just now that I am Jamaican born.  The Jamaican national motto is “Out of many, one”.  How appropriate, for we  are many Councillors, but we are one Town Council.  We must not be the Councillors we want to be, but the Councillors our Town wants us to be.  Let us work together, for the Town and with the Town, for the common good.

To my mind, difference, diversity, is good – it is a strength.  Together we can represent more fully all the residents of Godalming and Farncombe.  We represent everyone in our community no matter their age, creed, ability, gender, ethnicity or sexuality.  And, especially now, we must take on the challenge of representing the needs of our natural world which is in crisis.  Transformative change is needed at every level from local to global.  We all need to change of our lifestyle – to live more simply that our shared home planet may simply live.

In the words of Barack Obama – we must constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding.  With this in mind, the charities that I will support this year are The Meath, Skillway and the Trinity Trust Team.

  • The Meath supports, cares for and protects the physical and mental health of those who live with epilepsy and associated learning and physical disabilities.
  • Skillway motivates and instils confidence in disadvantaged and disengaged young people by teaching practical workshop skills.
  • The Trinity Trust Team work with young people in schools and the community helping them to realise their full potential.

I look forward to your support in the fundraising activities for these three most worthwhile charities.

Find out about the current Godalming Town Mayor, past Mayors and how to invite the Mayor to your event.

The role and duty of the Deputy Mayor is to deputise, as required, for the Mayor.  When chairing Full Council the Deputy Mayor assumes the Mayor’s role and powers in relation to that meeting.

In undertaking engagements the Deputy Mayor’s role is to act as the Mayor’s representative.

Except for civic occasions and Full Council meetings, the Deputy Mayor has no role when the Mayor is present ie. if the Mayor attends an event as Mayor the Deputy Mayor may only attend the same function as a Councillor.  Except for the aforementioned occasions, the Deputy Mayor must not wear chains of office whenever the Mayor is present.

If you wish to invite the Mayor to your event please click here to complete a request form.

If you have a more specific enquiry regarding the Mayor please contact the Support Services Executive, Lynne Purnell.

Please Note

  • In speeches the Mayor is referred to as ‘Madam Mayor’ or ‘Mr Mayor’.
  • The Mayoress is the courtesy title for the wife of the Mayor, when the Mayor is a male. The partner of a female Mayor is a Consort.
  • If formal photographs are taken at the event, a copy would be appreciated for the Mayor’s portfolio.
  • Please note the Mayor will normally wear the chain of office unless your event is informal and you specifically request “no chain of office”.

The Mayoralty in Godalming has a long history, below you can view the photographs/images (that we have) of Town Mayors going back to 1786.