Wandsworth's New Mayor Uses Sign Language In Speech

Councillor for Roehampton & Putney Heath for the past six years

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Mayor Knowles signs his acceptance speech


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Wandsworth’s new Mayor entered the history books on Thursday, May 17, as he used sign language to formally accept his new role.

Councillor Adrian Knowles, who has represented Roehampton and Putney Heath on Wandsworth Council for the past six years, had an interpreter by his side while he used sign to open his speech - before swapping roles and speaking to gathered councillors and guests while the interpreter signed to deaf members of the audience.

The new Mayor, whose parents were deaf, used the occasion to reveal his chosen two charities for his year in office - one of which is the Oak Lodge School for the Deaf in Nightingale Lane, Balham.  Cllr Knowles, who has sat on various committees during his time on the council including adult care and health, named the Royal Marsden Hospital as his other charity having undergone radiotherapy there for a sarcoma in his leg last year.

Breaking with tradition, Cllr Knowles paused during his speech to award a Wandsworth Pin to Battersea resident Lynn Barka, who began volunteering at the Royal Marsden to say thank you to the staff that helped her daughter beat cancer.

New Mayor and  the Deputy

He said:"These pins recognise the selflessness of Wandsworth residents who volunteer. The last Mayor instituted these pins and has made them very much sought after.  I will continue to award these pins as I travel around the borough over the coming year.  But I want to change them a bit - I intend to set up a Roll of Honour on the council's website so that everyone can see who has been awarded a pin. I want to shout out for our volunteers and sing their praises."

The borough's new mayor acknowledged his predecessor, Councillor Jane Cooper, for her hard work and dedication while in office.  He said:
"I will continue to follow her lead of visiting as many schools as possible. I will continue her work in forging links with businesses and encouraging them to create apprenticeships for our young people.  I am humbled by the trust my fellow councillors have placed in me by voting for me - and I am very excited at what lies before me in the year ahead."

Cllr Knowles introduced his Mayoral Consort, Chris Mayhew, before pledging £1,000 to his chosen charities and promising to do his best in his new role.

The mayor-making ceremony also saw Queenstown Councillor Nicola Nardelli selected as the Deputy Mayor of Wandsworth.

Welcoming the new appointments, council leader, Councillor Ravi Govindia, said: "I am sure both Coun Knowles and Coun Nardelli will work just as hard as their predecessors did representing the borough.  I look forward to seeing their contribution in a year which features the Queen's Jubilee and the London Olympics and wish them all the best in everything they do."


May 21, 2012