MALVERN Mayor Julian Roskams writes for the Observer, reflecting on his year as Mayor.
AS I COMPLETE a year in which I have been greatly honoured to serve Malvern as its Mayor, I have had much cause to reflect on Malvern – its essence and what it means to its people.
Malvern really does have it all – it is one of England’s hidden gems. There is the history and the heritage. There has been a settlement here for over 3,000 years and the Priory remains a fantastic monument to a permanent presence dating back a millennium. The architectural legacy is one that includes the Georgian through to the Victorian and Edwardian – and beyond into the later 20th and 21st centuries. It is one of the privileges of mayor that I get to experience these treasures first hand at the many events I attend.
And we are a town that never stands still – starting as a largely agricultural community and in modern times becoming a hub for high-tech and other world-leading industries, both large and small.
But what really makes Malvern the place it is are its people. I have been fortunate to be invited to a diverse range of events for organisations and groups catering for every conceivable interest. None of this just happens on their own – they all need people to make them work. And this is perfectly demonstrated by Malvern Special Families, my chosen charity for the year, a group that works tirelessly for others. They have been an absolute joy to be associated with.
Of course Malvern faces challenges. There is a crisis in housing that threatens to consume our open spaces, while failing to deliver the affordable housing that would allow our younger people to remain here. As the profit motive has become our master, public services have come under intolerable strain, and our transport infrastructure is at breaking point. But our human capital is so rich that there is every reason to believe that working together we can not only meet but overcome these challenges.
Malvern Town Council makes its own contribution to the vibrant life of our town. But as with so much else in Malvern, much of the work goes on quietly and often unseen behind the scenes by people determined not to be deflected by any obstacles put in their way and dedicated to making this a safe and secure place in which to live.
I have met so many people who devote their own time to the service of others, and in doing so set the most remarkable example for the generations that are to follow. Often they are not well paid – if they are paid at all. They prove that you do not need to be in public service to serve the public and that we all work at our best when we work as a community. I thank every one of you for making Malvern what it is today – a community I am so proud to represent and to be a part of.