The new mayor of Launceston has been announced, with Cllr Helen Bailey at the helm as the first female mayor since 2019.
Launceston Life caught up with Cllr Bailey - known as Helen to friends, family and colleagues - ahead of the Mayor Choosing Ceremony on Thursday 11th May, where she officially received her new title.
“I’m really honoured and feel privileged to do it,” she said. Having joined Launceston Town Council five years ago, Helen has held chair of the finance committee, and was previously deputy mayor to outgoing mayor Leighton Penhale for two years.
Helen is not shy of getting ‘stuck in’. Having moved to Cornwall 19 years ago from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, with her husband Adrian, she made sure to start volunteering in her new community as soon as possible. She was a founding member of Launceston Foodbank, and is currently a member of Lions International, president of the Helen Keller Internet Lions Club, and a member of Launceston Inner Wheel Club.
Having been elected as mayor during the full meeting of the council earlier in the spring, Helen is now looking forward to serving a year - and hopefully more.
Speaking of her vision for the town for the next 12 months, she said: “I would like us (the town council) to be building closer bonds with community organisations, and to build on what we’ve already got to make it stronger. I also want to promote the good things that the council does, because we do a lot of things that people aren’t aware of.”
There is plenty for Helen to get stuck into as mayor. She would like to see Lawrence House Museum open again once works to the building have been completed, and hopes that Launceston’s brand new library and the skatepark will also arrive within her term. She is also excited to see the launch of the town brand, which is set to be a fantastic way to promote Launceston.
“I would like to think that we can build on the successes that we’ve got, and I would like to see the play park at Priory up and running with new equipment, as children learn through play,” she continued. “It would be nice to get more funding for that, and the council is always looking at new funding opportunities.”
Launceston has a special place in Helen’s heart: “I’ve adopted this town as my home town; I’ve lived here for 19 years now. I feel this is more home to me, than where I was born.
“I feel I’ve got involved as a volunteer, so I’ve been able to meet all sorts of people. Volunteering is something I’ve done since moving here and I will continue to do so. I just don’t know how to say ‘no’!”
Helen is available at council surgeries as mayor, along with other cllrs. The community is able to access the town council on the second Saturday of each month during council surgeries at Launceston Library, allowing a range of people from the community to give their thoughts and ideas to their town councillors.
She is also looking forward to seeing how other projects such as Safer Greener Streets will progress in the town, and help bring footfall into the area. Helen said: “Safer Greener Streets is helping to increase the safety for people walking in the town, with the introduction of bollards in a number of streets. Some of the streets are so old, and pavements so small, that people find themselves stepping into the roads to look in different shops, so the bollards are helping to make it safer for everybody. We need to utilise and change how we see the town centre.
“We’re also looking at how to draw people into the town with feasibility money, and the town council is working with the Town Plan Group on all those things.
“Everyone has their own thoughts and it’s about finding a balance between old and new, and making sure that doesn’t change the ancient capital status of the town.”
Cllr Bailey was sworn in as mayor at the official Mayor Choosing Ceremony in May. For more information about Launceston Town Council, visit www.launceston-tc.gov.uk
Pictures by Mark Theisinger