The new mayor of St Neots, Cllr Richard Slade, writes his first column for The Hunts Post.

I’m proud to say that I have been elected as mayor of St Neots for the new civic year 2024/25.

Over the last two years I have supported two great mayors — Ben Pitt and Rob Simonis in their roles in what felt like the longest interview ever and finally made it, largely with the support and confidence of my fellow councillors.

I am joined by my wife Clair Slade who takes up the role of mayoress and who has supported me as a councillor over the last few years.

It’s a pleasure to be working with Rob again after we elected him as my deputy. We basically swapped roles and it seemed appropriate as there are so many crucial projects that we’ve been working on over the last few years — the High Street, Market Square, Priory Centre and splash park to name a few.

They are all at crucial stages in their development so a level of continuity was vital to help the council to deliver on these projects.

Our priorities for the year are to continue moving these key projects along, as well as some new and exciting ones yet to announce.

Over the last few years I’ve had the honour of representing the council at a range of public and private events and will continue to do the same in my term. I have a few extra ideas of my own in how we can further bring our community together.

I have been a town and district councillor for two years alongside my district ward colleagues and good friends Ben Pitt and Stephen Ferguson and we take our roles as independent politicians very seriously.

Alongside this, I am a social entrepreneur who champions arts and culture and co-founded Neotists — a not-for-profit arts organisation and we are the people behind the St Neots Festival.

I support youth and education organisations in the region and am a governor at Longsands Academy. I am active resident and member of various sports clubs in St Neots and get involved in some usual challenges for charity such as last year’s mayor vs deputy triathlon and this year’s tandem skydive.

As a way to bring all this together for my mayoral year I have chosen the theme of sports and culture and will showcase, promote and support the many amazing clubs and societies we have in the town. We have a lot to celebrate in St Neots and I want to be its champion.