Brentwood mayor talks 'honour' of representing borough

Brentwood's new mayor Olivia Sanders

Brentwood's mayor, Cllr Olivia Sanders, discusses her opening months in post. - Credit: Brentwood Borough Council

For most, it would be a huge honour to become mayor of where you grew up.

This feeling is no different for Cllr Olivia Sanders, who is relishing her first few months in post as Brentwood's 29th incumbent.

Elected in May, Cllr Sanders - still a councillor for Hutton East - spoke to the Recorder about her tenure to date: "I am really loving my time as the Mayor of Brentwood, especially emerging from lockdown.

"This has given me an opportunity to get out of the town hall and meet with community groups and residents."

Seven years representing Hutton East has given the mayor "a good grounding" in terms of understanding the needs of those mentioned above - experience she believes is crucial to enjoying a successful stint in office.

Combining this year-long post with continued work as a councillor is one thing; doing both whilst being a radiographer at Queen's Hospital is quite another.

Admitting that she often faces questions about this balancing act, the mayor credits the role played by those around her. 

"I am very lucky that I have a department that is very proud to have the Mayor of Brentwood as one of their team. They are very supportive of what I do.

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"I am very grateful to them for their understanding which allows me to combine both roles, on the NHS frontline and as a community representative too."

Whatever the logistical challenges, the Brentwood native views this opportunity as an "honour".

For Cllr Sanders, it's something of a full circle moment: "When I was ten years old the first Mayor of Brentwood came to visit my primary school St Joseph the Worker.

"I still remember Cllr Liz Bottomly addressing my class and talking about what the role of mayor means.

"Never did I imagine that twenty eight years later that would be me in the red robes."

That sense of honour motivates Cllr Sanders to bring her absolute best to Brentwood.

Beyond hoping to help the borough "return to some semblance of normality as successfully as possible", she wants to raise as much as possible for her four mayoral charities: Cardiomyopathy Association, Parkinson's UK, Saint Francis Hospice and Hopefield Animal Sanctuary.