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Councillor Mrs S. Harper-O'Neill

2009-10 - read about her year.

Councillor Mrs S. Harper-O’Neill

It was a wonderful year, full of new experiences, pleasant surprises. First lesson all new Mayor's learn is that every event comes with food, but of course the most enduring memories have to be the people one meets, not just residents from the area you serve as a Ward Councillor but from every corner of Hillingdon. The relationships that we make with other London Mayors as Hillingdon's Ambassador mean we get to experience what is going on in the whole of the 32 boroughs that make up London. Visiting the schools gives one liners that you never forget and one learns from the children by the questions they ask; at one school a boy asked how much the mace weighed. We didn't know so the school provided a set of weighing scales - 7lb 5oz, about the same as a baby.

The 63 Squadron Home Coming Parade from Afghanistan was an extremely memorable occasion. 22,000 residents came out onto the streets of Uxbridge to cheer them home. The ceremony was very emotional, but the privilege of speaking with the lads one to one and also to the families at the celebrations held at RAF Uxbridge was a wonderful experience.

Other memorable occasions include the closing ceremony at RAF Uxbridge in 2010 which was marked by spitfires flying over the RAF Uxbridge Base. The standard was taken down, folded and handed to the then Commanding Officer Tom Barrett, a great friend to Hillingdon. Sadly Commanding Officer Tom Barrett was killed in a cycling accident. It was a great loss to everyone that had contact with him.

Also, I had the pleasure of making friendships with the Normandy Veterans Association, travelling with them to Holland, France, Belgium taking part in the Mein Gate Ceremony, laying a wreath to honour the dead on behalf of Hillingdon at this great place of respect and honour. As Mayor I also accepted the Normandy Veteran's Standard into the Mayor's Parlour where it will stay until needed for future ceremonies.

During my mayoral year I supported three charities - Age UK, EAR 4U, and P3. These charities were chosen as they offer support to Hillingdon communities in diversely different ways, the aged community, so resilient and worth our praises. EAR4U help residents that experience the hardships with friendship and helpful fact. P3 Navigator help the youth in our borough with job advice/housing advice/friendship, helping them to cope in difficult situations that life throws at them.

As Mayor I would host the Citizenship Ceremony, meeting the new citizens, explaining that the Mayor represents Her Majesty the Queen in that ceremony, after the Citizenship ceremony welcoming them to the borough of Hillingdon, giving a short talk on the Borough, informing them of the local amenities, Brunel University, local schools, theatres, art centres, libraries, parks, 800 acres of protected green belt land all make up Hillingdon, of which I am very proud.

Visiting Buckingham Palace, meeting Her Majesty and the Royal Family, if at a distance, and of course the chance to view the history of the Palace was a memorable occasion.

I formed a committee to prepare a float to enter into the Lord Mayor of London's New Year's Day Parade. Hillingdon came 11th winning £2,500 for my charities. This was hard work but well worth the efforts involved. Our theme was "Hillingdon the Gateway to the World". Local schools, musicians, winners of Hillingdon's Got Talent Competition, local dance groups, family and friends all helped to make this a successful day.

I would struggle to name one venue or event as an outstanding memory, I have never known a year to go so fast, packed with lovely memories.

Photograph of Normandy Veterens Standard and Plaque Presentation to Past Mayor Cllr Shirley Harper-O'Neill and the Leader of the Council, Cllr Raymond Puddifoot

Photograph of Normandy Veterens Standard and Plaque Presentation to Past Mayor Cllr Shirley Harper-O'Neill and the Leader of the Council, Cllr Raymond Puddifoot.

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 22 Aug 2016 at 14:06