Brentwood’s new Mayor Olivia Saunders has lived in Brentwood all of her life and has been a councillor for 8 years; she is incredibly excited to be taking on her role as Mayor.
How does it feel to be Mayor?
It still feels surreal. When I was 10 years old the first Mayor of Brentwood came to my primary school for a visit, I was a very shy and quiet child so I never imagined that one day that would be me wearing the robes and chain as the Mayor of Brentwood.
I’ve read that you have worked as a Radiographer for 17 years at Queen’s Hospital and that you worked as a front-line worker throughout the pandemic. Can you tell us more about that?
I started work back in 2004 at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford before moving to Queens Hospital, Romford in 2008. It’s been an incredibly difficult year but I am so proud of my colleagues and all the staff in the NHS for their amazing team work, resilience and hard work during the pandemic.
What charities are you going to be supporting as Mayor in 2021/22 and why have you chosen them?
I am going big this year and have chosen four charities.
- Parkinson’s UK; this is in memory of two people close to me. The first is my grandfather who sadly suffered from this disease before he passed away and the second was my dear friend Cllr John Kerslake who also suffered from Parkinson’s before his passing last year. I have chosen this charity to honour them both.
- Cardiomyopathy UK; this is a relatively unknown disease which sadly took the life of a Brentwood resident called Michael when he was only 21 years old. His family have been raising money and awareness ever since.
- St Francis Hospice; we all know people whose lives have been lost to cancer and terminal disease and the St Francis Hospice team give the most incredible support and care to their patients and their families. It is an honour to be able support them.
- Hopefield Animal Sanctuary; I love animals and the team at Hopefield give the most amazing care to abandoned and mistreated animals.
What are you hoping to achieve in 2021/22?
I served as the Deputy Mayor last year but that office was clearly constrained by the pandemic. Sadly, it was practically impossible to carry out the kinds of visits and functions that make up a large part of the Mayoralty. However, as we emerge from lockdown, I hope to have an active year as the Mayor of Brentwood and to meet as many community groups and organisations as possible. We need to revive a whole range of community activities post lockdown and I want to be a positive part of that process.