Interview secured By Oliver, 13, and written by Oliver and Jill Dando Journalists
Mayor in Jill Dando’s former town inspires next generation with visit to her old school to meet reporters writing in her memory
Our eager Jill Dando Journalists invited Weston-super-Mare’s mayor for an exclusive interview, giving them an insight in life as mayor.
Ciaran Cronnelly visited Worle Community School Academy in Somerset – home off the first ever Jill Dando News Centre in 2017.
When asked if he had any advice for the young people of the area, he said the most important thing is for them to ‘rate themselves – to build their self-esteem and put themselves forward for opportunities.
He said: “Push yourself towards what you think you might achieve, not what you know you can achieve.”
He hopes young people will spread the word about the Youth Council to increase involvement.
Cllr Cronnelly became a councillor in 2019 and took up being Mayor last May.
He explained how being mayor is a crucial role in the town council, chairing the meetings and making the important decisions that benefit the community. Previously he studied law at the University of Plymouth, where he met his wife the mayoress. He moved to Weston for his and his wife’s work with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
He didn’t initially want to be mayor, but ran to be one of the 31 councillors to make a change with the potholes in his local area, as well as making sure the bins were collected more often.
He joined the race for the mayor’s position at the last minute and “miraculously” attained a unanimous vote.
His ambitions include wanting to add more parks and entertainment venues. He wants to spend more money on the Christmas lights switch-on to bring people together, and bring in more investment to Weston. He wants to challenge the stereotype of Weston’s lack of diversity to highlight religious and LGBTQIA+ diversity.
The mayor’s chain of office dates was first mayor Henry Butt’s in 1937, the links in the chain representing the past mayors of Weston. He liaises with mayors from the greater South-West region on many issues.
WCSA has a wide array of opportunities to improve students’ character, talents and interests with clubs including music, drama, art and sports. They also have a thriving careers programme.
The school was the first to set up a Jill Dando News Centre in 2017 in memory of former student, Jill Dando. The young journalists find, write and publish positive good news as well as modelling kindness, humility and positivity.