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Mayor rallies public's support for Chesterfield retailers and hospitality businesses

June 22, 2021 7:53 PM
By Gay Bolton, in Derbyshire Times

Mayor

Coun Glenys Falconer said: "I encourage the residents of Chesterfield to shop locally where they are able to, and pop into the town's cafes and restaurants for a cup of coffee, a bun or a meal. Chesterfield Borough Council is trying to encourage this message through our current 'Love Chesterfield' campaign, which aims to promote the incredible businesses that we have here and show everyone that the town centre is a fantastic place to visit."Nobody likes to see empty shops in the town centre, but if people don't come into town and make use of the shops, cafes and restaurants then they can't keep going without the support of regular customers."

Glenys has been made mayor for the second year, retaining the chain of office which she received in October 2020 when the traditional May ceremony was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. She said: "At the mayor-making, there was me, my husband Keith and the borough council's chief executive Dr Huw Bowen sat socially distanced on the mayoral bench, and the councillors and my family and friends were invited to watch the meeting virtually."

While mayors typically attend hundreds of events during the year, the pandemic resulted in a relatively quiet time for the 380th mayor. Meetings with dignitaries such as the High Sheriff of Derbyshire were conducted online, while fundraising for the mayor's chosen charities, the Samaritans and The Volunteer Centre, took the form of a virtual quiz and poetry evening to celebrate Glenys' 77th birthday.

It's a far cry from when Glenys' husband, Keith, was mayor and she was mayoress in 2005/2006. Glenys said: "It was a very full-on year. Keith was at work at the time, working at Worcester Heat Systems at Danesmoor. He accrued lots of hours by working extra time and clawed them back when he'd got a mayoral engagement. The car would pick me up, we'd go to Danesmoor to pick Keith up and after the engagement had finished, the car would drop me off and take Keith back to work."Glenys and her husband raised £30,000 for the Alzheimer's Society during Keith's year as mayor. "We worked very hard to raise such an amount," she said. "I am hoping to raise as much as I am able to during my mayoral year and am looking forward to hosting my charity gala dinner in March 2022."Her favourite memories as mayoress included dressing up in medieval costume to run a stall for the Alzheimer's Society at the medieval market and the day when a magician chained her husband up in a box outside the tourist information centre to publicise a magic show at the Winding Wheel.The highlight of that year was a trip to Buckingham Palace. Glenys said: "The Queen invites all the mayors and mayoresses to thank them for their service. When you arrive, there are about 2,000 other people and the Queen is a distant figure, although if you are lucky, you will get a glimpse of her walking past."

As the country heads closer to a return to normal life, Glenys is setting her sights on physically connecting with the community that she serves. "I am looking forward to getting out and about meeting people and visiting various organisations within the Chesterfield borough so I can get to know them more," she said."I am hoping that Chesterfield will become more affluent by people using the shops more, and I hope to see more little businesses pop up in the town centre. Hopefully the market too will become more vibrant. "We are lucky to have a fantastic museum, theatres and leisure centre for both residents and tourists to enjoy."

Glenys has spent most of her life living in Chesterfield where she says: "People are always friendly and down to earth and really care about the environment we live in - please let's keep it tidy for everyone to enjoy. It would make a huge difference if everyone would be more responsible for their rubbish. It is unpleasant to see rubbish lying around when you're aware that the day before the area was perfectly clean and tidy."Born in Chesterfield and raised in North Wingfield, Glenys remembers visiting the town as a teenager when the in-places were Jimmy's dance hall on Fridays and Saturdays and the Vic Club on Sunday nights.She said: "I'm a Sixties girl and I love rock and roll." Her favourite artists included Elvis and The Beatles and she recalls going to Boots to listen to records in booths before buying them.Her first job on leaving Deincourt School at 15 was to work in the weaving sheds at Robinsons which caused permanent damage to her hearing. Glenys said: "The looms were incredibly noisy, and you could only lip read across them to your friends."Throughout her working life Glenys was employed as a waitress at the Aquarius nightclub, where she served customers with the legendary chicken in a basket, and prepared and served meals at the Civil Service Club.

She spent a busy decade minding children in her home, during which time she chaired the Chesterfield and District Childminders Association.Glenys and Keith have lived in the same house in Walton Drive, Boythorpe, during their 41 years of marriage.With four children between them, they were both single parents when they met after their first marriages had broken down. Glenys said: "Keith moved into my house in Hipper Street, a two up and two down with a tin bath on the wall. The only form of hot water was an Ascot wall heater over the sink, and we used to fill the bath up from there - the oldest child would be bathed first and the youngest last. We put our name down for a council house but we had to wait a year for a house on Walton Drive - it had four bedrooms, a lounge, a toilet upstairs and a toilet downstairs...we were in seventh heaven."Glenys followed Keith into local politics when their children left home. She was elected as Liberal Democrat councillor for Holmebrook in 1999, a ward which her husband also represents on the borough council.The couple's family now extends to 16 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.In her spare time Glenys enjoys singing with The Choir at the Royal, painting in oils, sewing, knitting, gardening and keep-fit. Both Keith and Glenys are elders at Rose Hill United Reformed Church.