Councillor John Skinner 2016-2017
In his address on the occasion of handing over to his successor, Councillor Debbie Pitts as Mayor of Douglas, Councillor Skinner said that it had been 'both an honour and a privilege to serve this town and its people as “First Citizen”' and he paid tribute to his wife, Gill, who had served as mayoress, saying: 'I could not have even contemplated accepting the role of Mayor without the support of Gill, my mayoress, and I thank her for all she has done throughout the year.
'We both agreed at the outset that we would approach and could only get through the 2016-2017 municipal year working as a partnership. Although mindful that the Mayoress’s role is not constitutional I cannot thank Gill enough for her constant support and encouragement, particularly during some difficult times and for being ever present at my side during the year. She worked tirelessly and relentlessly over the 12 months and both represented and served this town and this Council well.
'It was due mainly to Gill’s organising of various fund raising events that I was pleased that over the year we raised £19,500 for our chosen charities: Anthony Nolan Isle of Man, Naseem’s Brain Tumour Charity and ManxDeCaf.
'The many mayoral events and engagements we attended totalled more than 400. They were wide ranging and took up a tremendous amount of time. In between them, however, we enjoyed some family time, including the wedding of a daughter, an engagement and the birth of our first granddaughter, Eliza.
'There were many enjoyable engagements both in the Town Hall and at various venues both on and off the Island, including a full programme of events packed into a three-day civic visit to Monaghan for St Patrick’s Day – all of which were punctuated with the usual schedule of Council and committee meetings, as well as a number of Special Council meetings and school council meetings held in the Council chamber, along with numerous bye elections
'With the moving of the “swearing-in” of the Island’s Governor from Castletown to Douglas it was both a privilege and an honour for us to have been in office for only a little over a week and be the first Mayor and Mayoress of Douglas to be involved in the ceremony and I should like to place on record our thanks to Sir Richard and Lady Gozney for their constant support, friendship and, above all, their companionship throughout our term in office.
'During that term we were privileged on occasions and indeed humbled to meet many dedicated men, women and young people contributing so positively to the community, not only in Douglas but also across the Island. A good number of these people were working tirelessly - and voluntarily - to transform people’s lives and we both applauded their selfless efforts. I thank all those groups, organisations and individuals who sent us invitations to come and see them and the work that they do.
'We particularly enjoyed our visits to Ballakermeen High School's special unit and to the Annie Gill Wing at University College Isle of Man where we performed our last engagement before stepping down as Mayhor and Mayoress.
'We were also able to witness first-hand the work of the Douglas Lifeboat and coastguards, ventured underground into the Laxey Mines and were delighted to judge the brilliant Manx Young Farmers' concert.
'On a personal level the laying of the wreath at the Summerland Memorial was a particularly poignant moment which evoked many memories from that fateful August night 43 years ago.
Reflecting on our year, the support of our family and friends was all important. That support was steadfast and true and we were deeply grateful to them for fully supporting us in accepting the role of Mayor and Mayoress and for standing by us at all times throughout our term.'
Among the list of engagements for the year were:
- Mayor welcomes North One TV commentators
- Treasure hunt marks 2016-2017 charity appeal debut
- 123 young readers complete Big Friendly Read challenge
- Signing of the Armed Forces Community Covenant
- BHS Learning Support Unit student visit town hall
- Stepping out 'Strictly' for charity
- Mayoral visit to Annie Gill Unit
- 'On Air' at the town hall
- Welcome extended to Sierra Leone parliament officers
- Douglas remembers Summerland tragedy
- Mayor and Mayoress have fundraising down to a 'tea'
- Making waves: Mayoral visit to Douglas lifeboat station
- Mayoral visit to the House of Keys
- Mayoral welcome extended to officers of 103rd Royal Artillery
- Welcome extended to Douglas Live at Home Scheme members
- Century of Song boosts Mayoress's charity appeal fund
- Mayor and Mayoress join Mardi Gras activity session at the library
- Boots' employee has right prescription to win Douglas Customer Service Champion award
- Women in the House charity lunch
- Welcome extended to retired fire service officers
- Meeting the entrepreneurs of tomorrow
- Defibrillator training with St John Ambulance
- Douglas supports Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth 2017
- Little Ness holds little fear for the Mayor and Mayoress
- Mayor and Mayoress visit Ellan Vannin Care Home
- Monaghan welcomes Mayor and Mayoress
- Salvation Army captains welcomed to the Mayor's parlour
- President of Tynwald welcomed to the Mayor's parlour
- Shore thing: Library hosts seaside-themed craft session
- Mayor and Mayoress head north to Jurby Transport Museum
- Business lunch sees Mayor call for 'an inclusive Douglas'
- Mayor and Mayoress to the fore at Douglas Golf Course
- Ballaughton in Bloom: Mayoral visit to nursery
- 'Next-generation councillors' meet at town hall
- A Mini gathering at the town hall
- 2016-2017 charity appeal raises £19,500
- The importance of family support in the mayoral year