Saturday, 3 September 2011

CITIZEN NOTTINGHAM The Lord Mayor Of Nottingham Councillor Michael Wildgust

My Nottingham Day

The Lord Mayor Of Nottingham Councillor Michael
Wildgust by Gary Hope Photography
I wake up between five o'clock and a quarter past five every morning. I get up, take the dog for a walk, come back and have a drink of tea and Carol, my wife, will have one if she's up too. The dog will lie at the side of us on the floor whilst we have our tea and we have a little bit of a chat about what's going to happen today and we'll probably have a little bit of toast. I don't always have breakfast, it all depends how I feel and Carol is just the same. At half past seven the paper shop opens so I will fetch the papers for myself and I also bring the papers for five other people who are senior citizens and can't get about so that's not a problem for me, I get them a paper in the morning and push it through their letterbox and that's one of my good deeds of the day. And then I will always look to see what I am doing for the day. I do have a preview the previous night to see what I am doing, but I don't look days ahead, I take it day by day.

Then my day will start, I will go into the bathroom, have a shave, do the normal things, wash my teeth, shower and get my clothes ready and put my gown on. While I'm having a shower Carol will make another drink because I love tea, and then we'll take if from there. The chauffeur picks me up at 10 o'clock and he is always punctual, you can set your watch by him, to the second he is! And he'll drive me to my first engagement. Being Lord Mayor is very, very interesting, something that I am proud of, and I'm proud of the people of Nottingham, I'm a fanatic of our city,  I think Nottingham has something that suits everyone from teenagers up to senior citizens. I was born in Nottingham in 1943 and I've lived here all my life and I've always said that I would never, ever leave Nottingham as it's very dear to my heart. Wherever I go I always mention Nottingham and people who come and visit think it's a fantastic city and they always mention how friendly the people are and how generous they are and they always talk about the local expression 'are you all right me duck?'. We have buildings and architects in our Nottingham city centre that are out of this world and I always say to people who visit the city to have a look at them, if you go around the Lace Market it's unbelievable the buildings that we've got.

We have fifty-five councillors, at the present time we have fifty Labour councillors, five Conservative councillors and no Liberal councillors. So out of the 55 the main majority is the Labour party who will run the council. They elect the Mayor every year, who has to be proposed and seconded. This year I was proposed by the leader Jon Collins and seconded by Graham Chapman, the deputy leader. Also it goes to a vote, the group pass it, then it goes to full council, which is on the second Monday of every month barring August because of holiday time, they then have a vote on who the Lord Mayor will be and also who the Sheriff will be. And I was fortunate this time that I got the vote to be the Lord Mayor, and that's how the Lord Mayor is elected in our city.

So from my first engagement of the day possibly we'll go to another one. Sometimes there are a few hours spare, if there are I will go home, get unchanged again, have a drink, take the dog out and then we'll have a bit of something to eat and ready to go out again. And that goes on all day that does, never stops. Some days I will come into the Council House if there's an hour or so to spare to meet people who are visiting, I do a lot of that and I enjoy that. And I think the people of Nottingham have the right to see the Lord Mayor as they elected me and have put me where I am and I appreciate that.

During my year so far I've been in different communities throughout the city, including deprived areas and we do have a lot of deprived areas and the people who are living there are absolutely fantastic, they don't moan, they don't groan, they get on with life. So this year I'd like to do something special, something a little but different. Goose Fair is coming up shortly, and a lot of families will be taking the kids down to go on the rides, but the deprived kids probably won't even see Goose Fair. I don't think it's right in my own heart that a family can go down and little Jimmy and Mary can go on every ride and have candy floss and ice cream and anything they want and yet there's another Jimmy and Mary who come down to Goose Fair and mum and dad will only be able to afford one ride. So at the end of my year in office I'm going to arrange to have a fun day and everything will be free for the kids so anybody that lives in the city can bring their children down and have a really good day. There will be indoor and outdoor events and all the rides, everything will be free and that's my way of saying thank you to the people of Nottingham.

The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress
by Gary Hope Photography

When I get home at night it's more or less the same thing, undress, wind down a little bit, have a read of the paper, put the text on to see what news I've been missing and what's been happening in our city. If it's a slack night I love to go to bed at 9pm, and when I get into bed I always put country music on because I'm a big country fan, particularly Ann Breen and Tammy Wynette. Music is very important in my life and the first record I ever bought was Jerry Lee Lewis, Great Balls of Fire when I was 14. I can remember going down to Simpsons, a very small record shop in Arnold to buy it. When I went to school I loved sport and still do today, I went to Redhill school and I ran for the school, I was captain of the school football team I played cricket and basketball for the school, I represented Notts in athletics and I won the All England Schools' Cross Country Championship. I'd had trials with Aston Villa and Wolverhampton and they were prepared to take me on but I got injured unfortunately and wasn't able to play football. But I enjoy watching sport in Nottingham, we have great teams and I love going to Trent Bridge to watch the cricket. So at the end of the day I always listen to one of my CDs, mostly I get through three parts of it then I've flagged out, I've gone for the night and that's it till next morning.

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