A year of great pride and sorrow

White Ribbon Day outside Hastings Town Hall.'Mayor Bruce Dowling. SUS-151125-130936001
White Ribbon Day outside Hastings Town Hall.'Mayor Bruce Dowling. SUS-151125-130936001

It’s that time of the year again, when thoughts turn to family and friends, and I realise just how lucky I am to be Mayor of such a fantastic town, and its strong community.

I meet lots of people as Mayor, and I never cease to be amazed at the incredible work so many people do, much of which is voluntary. There is passion and commitment, and I am humbled by the extraordinary work that so many apparently ordinary people in our town do.

One of the saddest things I had to do this year was attend the memorial service of a very dear friend, our former leader Jeremy Birch, whose sudden death in May shocked not just me but the whole community. He was passionate about Hastings and its people, and he embodied the community spirit, and commitment to change, that I see throughout the town.

I know Jeremy was very excited about the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings – ROOT1066, our contemporary arts festival to mark it, was his idea – and he would have been very pleased with the many events that are being planned. Again, many of them are community-led, and I am so looking forward to what promises to be an incredible year.

I will be standing down as Mayor during 2016, and would like to thank you all for the tremendous support you have given me over my time in office :- I am proud to be part of this town.