BELLA BARTOCK, our resident culture vulture, slipped on her best frock and sling-backs for a night on the town with a motley crew of councillors
Some of the world’s best-paid leaflet deliverers took the night off yesterday, as Croydon’s councillors were out in force in the midst of the General Election campaign to attend the annual inaugural dinner for the Mayor of Croydon.
Toni Letts, the councillor for Selhurst ward, is to serve a second term in the ermine and chains of mayor, when as well as cutting ribbons to open new supermarkets or school fetes, she will also have to preside over the handful of Town Hall meetings which may get a little heated in the run-up to the council elections in 12 months’ time.
At 35 quid a head, the event at the Croydon Hilton was hardly a massive extravagance, but it was good to see Tim “Austerity Begins At Home” Pollard, the leader of the Croydon Tories, treating his wife, Helen, also a councillor, for their 26th wedding anniversary.
Fears that the food might be rubbish were unfounded, even though the evening was sponsored by Veolia, the borough’s street cleaners and bin-collectors. The company’s senior execs were probably just glad of a night on this side of the Purley Way, away from the on-going chaos of the #SuttonBinShame. Buttering up the council by subsidising this grand dinner surely can’t do any harm the next time their contract’s up for renewal, after all.
And nor were the plates cleared away by staff wearing hi-vis jackets, so that was a bit of a relief all-round.
Auctioning off a football signed by the Crystal Palace squad raised £1,000 towards the victims of Monday’s bombing in Manchester, and there was musical entertainment provided by CODA, the Croydon Operatic and Dramatic Association.
Together with the Croydon and Sutton branch of Samaritans, CODA, , the borough’s leading am-dram group, has been named as Mayor Letts’ designated charities for 2017-2018.
It just so happens that the chairman of CODA is Michael Trakas, who has just spent the past year as the consort of the previous Mayor, Councillor Wayne Trakas-Lawlor. Is CODA’s choice as a mayoral charity more than a happy coincidence?
The direction that Croydon’s Labour-run council is going was signalled, perhaps, by the choice of proposers for toasts: one was Katherine Glass, who owns the PR agency Grey Label, whose offices currently have lodgers from the Guildford Advertiser, which cannot afford to house its staff anywhere else in the borough.
Another was Tim Wates, a director of the family firm, Wates, “One of the largest privately-owned construction, development and property services companies in the UK”, apparently.
Some drink may have been taken, because Wates was heard to spout something about Croydon being “the greatest city in the world” (Note to Tim: Croydon is a borough in the greatest city in the world).
No doubt there will be Wates logos appearing on building sites all around the borough very soon. Chin-chin!
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