Wednesday, August 18, 2004

"Where there is a will, there is a way"

To pass the time during the recess, we set ourselves the task of tracking down SG's earliest appearance in the press. The farthest back we've found is an article the oddly-named journal Chemist & Druggist from 1997, marking the investiture of Romsey's favourite elected pharmacist as mayor of the town.

For your enjoyment, some excerpts from Chemist & Druggist, p34, 30 August 1997.

Gold chain of office
Although Sandra Gidley believes that pharmacists do not make good politicians, she does not practise what she preaches. She is the 390th and youngest-ever woman mayor of Romsey.

Sandra graduated from Bath University in 1978 and did her pre- registration at R Gordon Drummonds in Pontypridd the following year.

After positions in and around the Cheltenham and Gloucester area, she moved to Romsey ten years ago. She is now pharmacy manager at Safeways in Bitterne, near Southampton, where she has been for five years.
After some persuasion, she stood for the position of mayor this year. Initially, she had doubts about her suitability because she thought she lacked experience - and former mayors were all retired and male.

At the investiture ceremony on May 20, which she considers the worst moment of her career, she was dressed in her hat and robes of office on a very hot day, thinking, "What have I done?"

She describes the role of mayor as being the number one citizen and a figurehead. "I get treated like minor royalty and that's fine, as long as they don't treat me like Fergie!" she says.
She is the type of person who finds time to do things, and her motto is: 'Where there is a will, there is a way'.

She is visibly pleased when she talks about her achievements. She thinks that although many of the changes made are small, they do have an impact on the quality of people's lives in the long run.

She is fighting housing allocation plans, which, she says, will urbanise the south coast, and lead to Romsey, a town a few miles north west of Southampton with a population of about 18,000, becoming a suburb of the port. "In another life, I think that I would have become a town planner," she says.
After being a councillor, becoming apolitical is one of the harder aspects of the mayor's job to master, she has found. The world of local politics is a strange one and she caused quite a stir by changing the deputy mayor's ribbon from blue to gold.

Her singing has come on since taking office, she has noted. She has been surprised by the number of times she has been to church. "I'm relearning all the hymns that I used to sing as a child," she says.

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