Blind councillor will be next Kingston Mayor

9:55am Thursday 26th April 2012

By Tom Barnes

A councillor whose tireless work with the disabled helped earn her an OBE has spoken of the privilege of becoming the new mayor of Kingston.

Mary Heathcote, councillor for the St Marks ward in Surbiton, was nominated by fellow Liberal Democrats and will take over for the year 2012-13.

Coun Heathcote, who was first elected in 2010, will officially take over from councillor Patrick Codd at a ceremony on May 9.

The former civil servant, who is registered blind and sits on the board of Kingston Centre for Independent Living, said she will continue to champion the rights of the disabled.

She said: "I feel very privileged to have been given this honour by my fellow councillors. It is extremely humbling to be given this opportunity and I look forward to working with different groups of people who work tirelessly in the community in the year ahead."

Coun Heathcote said she is looking forward to representing the Royal borough at the Olympics with the help of her new deputy fellow Lib Dem Barry O’Mahony.

She said: "Barry and I complement each other well because my disability does restrict how much I can be involved in sporting activities which is something Barry can help with as he is a big sports fan and very keen golfer.

"Whereas I am very keen on the arts projects for the Cultural Olympiad so between us I think we have got this summer covered."

Coun Heathcote will not have much time to settle into her new role as she is expected to perform a citizenship ceremony at the Guildhall on the weekend following her induction.

She said: "I am being thrust in at the deep end but that’s fine by me as I am very much looking forward to it."

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