Guildford has a new mayor, Nikki Nelson-Smith, a Conservative councillor who represents and lives in the Christchurch ward of Guildford.
She was installed as Mayor last night at the annual Mayor Making ceremony at the Guildhall. She takes over from Cllr David Elms (Con, Worplesdon) who said that his year as mayor, during which he had raised £30,000 for the Army Benevolent Fund, had been: “Truly memorable and fantastic – I met so many people and saw places in the borough that I had no idea existed.”
Cllr Billington (Con, Tillingbourne) proposing Cllr Nelson-Smith as the new mayor recalled his first meeting with her when they were two new councillors. He offered to employ her in his business but she had immediately responded, “I wouldn’t work for you if you were the last man on earth.” He concluded that she was obviously a lady of “exquisite judgement and good taste who possessed real analytical ability. She will make a very fine Mayor.”
An enthusiastic supporter of the science and technology sector. Nikki’s mayoral theme is ‘Inspiring Guildford’s Future Innovators’, recognising the illustrious history of Guildford as a notable centre of innovation.
She said in her address: “Guildford’s future clearly lies in its young people so my aim is to help those between 15 and 25, to raise their aspirations and inspire them to be the best they can be, to learn the skills needed in today’s world and to chase their dreams.”
The new mayor’s chosen charity is SATRO (the name does not stand for anything) which was founded in Guildford 30 years ago, and aims to inspire Surrey’s young people to take up careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Nikki worked as an economist for many years and retains a strong interest in economic affairs. For three years she was a Trustee of Guildford Citizens Advice Bureau and she was a member of the Management Committee of the Guildford Job Club for its four years of operation.
The club helped people back into work during the recession; its model was a world leader and visitors came to study it from far and wide including Reykjavik, Iceland.
On the educational front she was a trustee of a charity for six years, teaching life skills and the dangers of drug abuse to young people.
As a borough councillor the new Mayor has been a member of all the formal committees and been involved in a number of working groups.
In her spare time Nikki has sung in various choirs since her school days and enjoys supporting our local entertainment venues and artists. She chaired the working group looking at the arts in Guildford Borough and devised an action plan that is being implemented to continue to support the arts.