A year ago, I wrote about Robert Everitt in this very column.
Prior to his year as St Edmundsbury Mayor, I knew of Robert a little but our paths had rarely crossed.
Due to his support of West Suffolk Hospital Charity, I was delighted – and charmed – to spend a lot of his time in company at fundraising events and charity evenings alike.
Nothing was too much trouble as Robert served the office with hugh aplomb, marrying enthusiasm with respect, passion with dignity.
How do you follow that?
In the case of Patrick Chung, it was precisely more of the same.
Most people knew Patrick, pre-cermonial chains. He was quite simply engrained in Bury St Edmunds life.
He seemed an obvious choice to succeed Robert and to represent the borough and, as his year-long term comes to an end, he has certainly embraced every aspect of mayoral life with that beaming smile and warm personality to match.
I was fortunate to work closely with Patrick on a number of occasions and he was always engaging, always doing whatever he can to improve the life of people living and working in St Edmundsbury.
He chose a number of local charities to support and I know how much each and every one of them appreciated his support.
But he wasn’t just choosing some worthwhile causes. Patrick wanted to get involved in each of them to learn what they do and why their work is so important.
His final total raised over the last 12 months is a closely guarded secret, but knowing Patrick it will be an incredible sum.
Patrick, and Robert before him, have shown how to make the mayoral role both respectful and enjoyable – and I feel honoured to have worked with them in some way.
They will also readily acknowledge the often unsung backroom team who make sure everything ticks with a similar brand of enthusiasm and dedication.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Patrick for all his support, both personal and professional, and for all he has done for our wonderful borough over the last 12 months.
I hope he enjoys a well-earned rest, but I suspect he already has more projects lined up.
I would also like to welcome the forthcoming next mayor Julia Wakelam, who will formally start in office later this month.
Like Robert before, she is someone I don’t know too well, but I only hear positive things.
Previous mayors have shown that this important position can be both enjoyable and impactual.
I am sure Julia will keep up this fine tradition and I wish her well for an enjoyable and worthwhile 12 months ahead.