We have a new Mayor!
Last week, Councillor Neil Dallen became Mayor of Epsom & Ewell.
Neil was proposed by Councillor Clive Woodbridge (Residents Association) and seconded by Councillor Alex Clarke (Conservative). His term will last for a year.
Speaking at the Annual Council meeting, Neil said, “I am deeply honoured to have been chosen as your Mayor and I am looking forward to meeting many of you as I travel round the borough fulfilling my mayoral duties.
“My theme is hope and I aim to give hope to many youth and disadvantaged individuals and organisations in the borough during my mayoral year. I hope you will be able to come along and join me at my various fundraising events to help raise much needed funds for my chosen charities."
Neil first got heavily involved in local politics when he joined the Town Ward Residents Association in the early 1990s, becoming chairman in 1998. Neil stood as candidate in the 1999 elections and on the fourth attempt in 2007 became a Councillor, with a majority of just two! He has served on most borough council and joint Surrey County Council committees and working groups. From 2011 to 2016 he was chair of the Strategy and Resources committee.
A resident of the borough for over 50 years, Neil was born in Bournemouth and spent his formative years growing up in a council estate in Hayes, Middlesex (North London). The family moved to Epsom when Neil was 13. Neil joined the scouts and was a student at Glyn School in Ewell, where, he says, chess was probably more important to him than his studies!
Leaving school at 18, Neil’s first full time job was at WH Smith in Epsom. After a year he switched his career path to become a trainee computer programmer, in the days when computers were large and the industry young. Working for various different companies, he gradually progressed into senior management. His varied career included giving a four week intensive software course in Iraq and lecturing at a local prison. Neil has been made redundant twice. This led, in 1993, to him starting up his own computer services consultancy and project management business. One of the highpoints of the business was the contract to provide hardware, software and networks to the whole of the MoD. Neil retired in 2017.
Neil married Ann in 1983 and the couple have six grown up children and four grandsons. Scouting has been a large part of his life and many highlights include running a group of 250 plus Scouts, taking groups to Sweden and Uganda, leading a contingent at the 21st World Jamboree, producing local gang shows at the Epsom Playhouse, overseeing the Epsom Fireworks display and the Community Christmas Post scheme. In 2017, after over 50 years of Scouting, he decided to take a break.
The Mayor is the first citizen of the Borough of Epsom & Ewell and has several specific roles during their one-year term of office. These include representing the Council and the local community at formal and ceremonial occasions, both within the borough and elsewhere, and chairing full meetings of the Council.
For his mayoral year, Neil has selected three local organisations to help as his chosen charities:
- Girl Guiding UK (Epsom Division), specifically for projects in the borough to improve facilities for both Guides and other youth activities, including Duke of Edinburgh expeditions.
- Epsom and Ewell Talking Newspapers based at Swail House, Epsom providing a ‘lifeline’ service to those blind or partially sighted.
- Work Stress Solutions who support a wide range of disadvantaged people, young and old, by improving their self-esteem, providing training and offering employment opportunities both within and outside their organisation.
For information on all the mayor's charities fundraising events visit www.mayorscharitiesepsom.org.uk