The new Mayor of Wolverhampton will be going back to the future in his year in office. Councillor Barry Findlay, who was elected the 158th Mayor of Wolverhampton, says he wants to champion the history of the city – and look towards exciting times head. He said: "It is customary for the Mayor to choose a theme for their year in office, and I wish to continue that tradition by choosing the theme of Preserving the Past, Building the Future.
"I hope throughout the year to recognise how we are revitalising buildings across the city, bringing many back into use and giving others a new lease of life for the years ahead.
"There are many exciting investments taking place in Wolverhampton, such as the redevelopment of the Mander Centre, offering customers a much better shopping experience, and improvements to the Civic Hall, Wulfrun Hall and Grand Theatre which will maintain our city's strong leisure and cultural offering.
"At the same time, work is progressing on the development of the city's new Interchange, the creation of the new West Midlands Construction UTC and further investment at Wolverhampton Science Park.
"These are just some of the major developments underway in Wolverhampton which are good for our city and its people, are boosting our local economy and are both preserving our past and building our future."
Mayor Councillor Findlay was educated at Rakegate Infant and Junior school and later went onto Pendeford High school. The new Mayoress Margaret Findlay was a pupil at Whitgreave Infant and Junior School and Northicote Secondary School.
The pair have lived in Wolverhampton all their lives. Barry has worked for more than 27 years in the rail industry based at Oxley sidings, while Margaret worked for more than 30 years for Boots the Chemist.
They married at St Mary’s Church, Bushbury, in 1985, the church where, in his younger years, Barry was a member of the choir.
He has been a Conservative councillor for 24 years, representing firstly Fallings Park and latterly Tettenhall Regis, which he still represents today, and has also served as Deputy Leader of the Council from 2008-2010. The Mayoress was a councillor for eight years, representing Fallings Park and Heath Town.
During his year in office, the Mayor will be raising money for three charities. They include the MS Society, which provides help and support for around 100,000 people in the UK who have the neurological condition, Wolverhampton Samaritans, which marks its 50th anniversary this year, and Help For Heroes, which supports serving and reservist personnel and veterans who have suffered injuries or illness.
He said: "The people of Wolverhampton have always shown their great generosity in supporting the Mayoral charities over the years.
“We will be staging a series of events throughout the next 12 months and I'm hoping as many people as possible will show their support as we seek to raise thousands of pounds for these very good causes.
"Also over the coming year, there will be many important celebrations, anniversaries and acts of remembrance which I will be attending and I look forward to joining and meeting the people of Wolverhampton at them.
"They begin next month with a special Civic Sunday Service taking place in Wolverhampton on 12 June as we mark the Queen’s 90th birthday, and the annual Armed Forces Day parade and service on Saturday 25 June.
"In July we will commemorate 100 years since the Battle of the Somme in the First World War, and we will hold the annual Service of Remembrance at St Peters Church in November to mark Armistice Day.
“Also that month we will be marking the 150th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s visit to Wolverhampton in 1866, famously her first official public duty since the death of her beloved consort Albert.
"During her visit to Wolverhampton, she unveiled the Prince Albert memorial. Like most people I affectionately know this statue as 'the man on the 'oss'. The Queen was so pleased with the statue that she knighted the then mayor on the spot!"
The Mayor was elected to office during last night’s meeting of the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Full Council. Councillor Elias Mattu was elected Deputy Mayor with Asha Mattu elected Deputy Mayoress.
Outgoing Mayor and Mayoress Councillor Ian Brookfield and Councillor Paula Brookfield were thanked for their service to the city and for raising thousands of pounds for their chosen charities, including local food banks and soup kitchens, the Physiotherapy department at West Park Rehabilitation Hospital, the Kingswood Trust, Bilston Remembered and the Interfaith Network.