Getting to know the Lord Mayor of Canterbury

This May, it was confirmed that Cllr Pat Todd will be kept on as Lord Mayor of Canterbury for another year with Cllr Anne Dekker also serving as Sheriff of Canterbury.


For both Pat and Anne, their mayoral and sheriff reigns have been massively curtailed by COVID-19 which is why it was an absolute pleasure to catch up with the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Cllr Pat Todd to find out more about his background, the role itself and future aims he has for the district…


Can you tell us a bit more about your own background and how you became Lord Mayor of Canterbury?

My own background is one of being a Kent Police Officer for over 30 years before retiring in 1998 and working for 16 years at a local high school as a Student Welfare Manager which was a role I had honed during my time in the service. I have lived and worked in the district for over fifty years and have two grown up children and five grandchildren.

I was asked to run for the Canterbury City Council in 1999, was successful in a by-election and have been fortunate to have been successful in every election since. The civic team of Lord Mayor and Sheriff is chosen from the incumbent councillors and the vote takes place annually at the council AGM in May. I have been fortunate to have received that honour in 2006, 2010, 2020 and 2021.


Although you wouldn’t have been able to attend many events last year, were there any major highlights for you as Lord Mayor in 2020?

I was elected Lord Mayor in September 2020, the first event was on the 12th in the Cathedral at Hop Hoddening before things were very much curtailed. However, the Christmas Light switch on took place in a novel way engineered by the Canterbury Bid Team which resulted in a much-publicised video featuring The Lord Mayor, Nurse Nellie aided by a Christmas single by local musicians The Kids of Yesterday. A brilliant production!


Has your reign as Lord Mayor brought more awareness and shone a different light in how you view, not only Canterbury, but the entire district?

I have to say that the role is absolutely unique especially getting an insight into the people and the workings of the whole district from the youngest to the eldest, the businesses, charities and above all the volunteers who never cease to astound me with their selflessness and generosity.


What do you enjoy most about being Lord Mayor of Canterbury?

Serving, which sounds a bit trite but sincerely meant. I am there to attend whatever I can and am invited to, as well as greeting dignitaries to our city.  Maintaining liaison with the Cathedral, youth and education establishments is also a priority. I also chair the Full Council meeting.


Can you inform readers about your charities for 2020/21 and why you chose them?

The Lord Mayor has one charity, The Lord Mayor’s Gift Fund which was started in 1952 to supply Food Parcels and Gifts to the needy of the city. This costs about £15,000 a year and is led by a charity committee which incidentally is chaired by Mrs Sheila Cragg, a former Lady Mayoress, and whose father founded the charity.

The Lady Mayoress, however, chooses her own charities and fundraises for them during her year. This year’s Lady Mayoress, Dr Liz McGown, has chosen three charities close to her heart. Multiple Sclerosis Canterbury, Breast Cancer through the League of Friends at Canterbury Hospital, and The Royal Lifeboat Institution at Whitstable. Expect announcements with regard to the first events in the not-too-distant future!


What do you enjoy most about living in Canterbury?

The area is so unique with so many facets. Two thriving coastal towns, an expanse of rural areas and villages and of course a city which is, in my opinion, a world heritage centre and definitely the Centre of the Anglican Church.


Away from your Lord Mayoral/Sheriff duties, what are your hobbies and interests?

If I answered this in full, I would send your readers to sleep! I have many interests; my family would say too many!

Sport is and always has been a passion both playing, coaching and spectating. I am the president of Whitstable Rugby Club and the upper tier manager of Twickenham Stadium. Working with youth has always been an interest through many mediums. My active sport is coarse angling especially with the grandchildren and I hold a level 2 coaching award.

As for interests, live theatre and music and of course my work as a councillor.


What aims do you have for 2021?

To engage the community and assist to lead us out of this pandemic which we have all had to endure and get back to a place we would all want to be.


You can find updates from the Lord Mayor of Canterbury on the official Lord Mayor of Canterbury Facebook page.

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