On Monday May 11, Cllr Mark Cooper will become Marlborough’s 710th Town Mayor in a streamlined virtual mayor making ceremony. Cllr Andy Wilson will become Deputy Mayor. It is hoped that there will be a traditional mayor making ceremonial event, with full speeches when it is safe to do so.
Becoming Marlborough’s Mayor in these unprecedented times will, Mark agreed, be a challenge. “It’s a challenge and unique. This is probably the biggest problem the country has had to deal with in peacetime. I want to do the best that I can to help Marlborough to get through this crisis which has had such an impact on lots of people’s lives.
It’s an honour and a privilege to become Mayor of the town I love and adore. I grew up here, I was educated here, I work here and I have strong family links here. Marlborough is in my blood, my DNA.”
Becoming mayor is something of a family tradition. Mark won’t be the first from his family to represent the town as Mayor. Three members of his family have twice been Marlborough’s Mayor. His father, Maurice was Mayor in 1989/90 and again 2000/01. His uncle, Stewart Dobson, between 1986/87 and then again over the millennium 1999/20000. He is still the Wiltshire Councillor for Marlborough East. Mark’s great uncle, Henry Cooper, was Mayor, Mark believes, in 1933 and again at the end of the Second World War in 1945.
Mark’s family even have a piece of land named after them. Cooper’s Meadow opposite Town Mill was so named because Mark’s grandfather grazed animals destined for the family’s butcher’s shop on this meadow land.
Mark has been Town Councillor for West Ward, which includes Manton, where he lives, since 2017. “Growing up I developed an interest in local politics and then my interest deepened when I read politics and modern history at university. I wanted to play a small part in the town I grew up in and to play a part in the future of the town. I have loved being a councillor. It is really rewarding and you meet a lot of interesting people.”
Community is very important to Mark. He enjoys his job as cover supervisor/classroom manager at St John’s Academy because he says, “It’s a community within a community. I particularly like the atmosphere and camaraderie and I feel very comfortable working with teenagers.”
Another local close knit community that Mark is a part of is Marlborough Cricket Club. Although he no longer plays regularly he has been a member since 1990.
Mark paid tribute to the Town Council, who have set up volunteer support networks and helped set up a scheme of delegation to ensure that Town Council business continues. “The staff at the Town Council have been incredible. The situation unfolds daily.”
He also acknowledged the amazing organisation and support offered in Manton by the Manton Residents Association, the Village Hall Committee and Manton Grange.
“It’s incredible the way people have helped, and the kindness that has been shown. I hope that what comes out of a really awful situation is community spirit and looking out for each other – I hope it continues when this crisis is over.”
(Footnote: From Sue Round at Marlborough.news – “Mark was a pupil in one of my GCSE English classes at St John’s in the 90’s. Mark still has his school report where I have written – “Mark was a pleasure to teach !”)