Report by Jan Collier
On Friday 3rd March, EETN’s President, the Mayor of Epsom and Ewell, Counsellor George Crawford, was in his element as the only male attending a Ladies Lunch at the Chalk Lane Hotel with his partner the Mayoress Jackie Hennings.
Warmly greeting more than fifty-five ladies who were there to support his charity and raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support, the Mayor admitted the lunch had been Mayoress Jackie’s idea and he was enjoying the event very much.
Volunteers, charity workers, local business women and Mayors from neighbouring boroughs chatted over lunch, which was followed by a fascinating talk by guest of honour Lynne Owens CBE QPM, Director General of the National Crime Agency.
One of the three most senior law enforcement officers in the UK, Lynne Owens described how complex law enforcement has become, saying: ‘‘When I was a child it was ‘stranger danger’ don’t to talk to strangers in the park. Now in many instances, children may be more at risk at the computer than in the park.’’ She explained that whilst new technology, particularly the internet, can be a good thing, it has made crime much more complicated. Giving a brief insight into modern law enforcement, she gave sound advice about monitoring children on the internet. “We can all play a part in safety,” she told us, “by installing anti-virus protection on computers, and in many other simple ways such as calling 999 when necessary, or by being a witness and by fitting locks to our homes.’’
During the lunch, I caught up with the Mayor of Elmbridge, Councillor Mrs. Tannia Shipley, who told me how much she admires the work done by volunteers at her local Elmbridge and Runnymede Talking Newspaper. Comparing notes on our respective Talking Newspapers, she said: ‘‘My local TN operates from Weybridge Hospital and their little studio looks remarkably like yours in Epsom! I was most impressed when I visited them last year to record a Christmas message. I was greeted very warmly by the two volunteers who were recording the message on that day and they explained that some 50 volunteers help to run the TN. Like Epsom and Ewell TN, they have around 130 or so listeners and the service the volunteers provide is invaluable. I am looking forward to my next visit, when I will be discussing my incredible year as Mayor of Elmbridge. I have been staggered by the amount of volunteering that goes on in the Borough. I am reminded of a quote that I read some time ago “Volunteers are not paid, not because they’re worthless but because they’re priceless!”
The Ladies Lunch was a huge success and raised around £1100 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
*Credit: Picture of Epsom’s Mayor with Lynne Owens by Mike Sampson.