Councillor Barry Graves, former deputy leader of Wellingborough Council, has been announced as the new mayor of Wellingborough. His wife Pauline will be his mayoress. He has pledged to use his mayoral year to help promote youth sport in the borough.
Cllr Graves grew up in Mears Ashby and attended the local primary school before moving on to Wellingborough Grammar School. He was a keen sportsman and represented the school at rugby.
After leaving school, Cllr Graves joined the engineers and surveyors department at Wellingborough Urban District Council, which is where he met his future wife Pauline. He left the council to join the army, seeing active duty in Malaya.
Following his army service, Cllr Graves began a 40 year career in the footwear industry, beginning with John White in Higham Ferrers and going on to include roles with the French government, as well as major companies in the UK and America.
More recently, he spent 13 years as chief executive of Serve, a voluntary organisation in Rushden that delivers services and support for older people. During his time there the organisation won several national accolades, including the Big Society Award in 2012.
Cllr Graves has also been president of the Wellingborough Hatton Rotary Club and a member of the management teams of the Wellingborough Volunteer Bureau, Southwood House care home, and Wellingborough Rugby Club. He was instrumental in establishing Nene Valley Community Action, an organisation that supports the voluntary sector.
He first entered politics in 1993 when he won the Queensway division on the county council. He was then elected to represent Great Doddington and Wilby on the borough council in 2007 and has held the seat ever since. He has served on all the major policy committees at the council and, as the lead councillor for older people, he established the older persons’ action group and served on the health and wellbeing board. He was the council’s deputy leader for the past four years.
Cllr Graves has lived in Wilby with Pauline for 44 years and they have two sons and three grandchildren. He is an avid follower of Northampton Saints and interested in all local sports.
Cllr Graves said: "It’s a huge honour to be elected as mayor of the borough that I’ve lived and grown up in. Pauline and I are keen to meet as many people as possible during the year.
"I’ve always been interested in sport, both as a participant and a spectator, and I’d like to use this time to promote sport for the under 18s, getting children involved and benefiting from the health and social rewards it brings.
"I’d also like to support and raise awareness of those involved in improving the lives of others.
"We have so much to be proud of and I’m really looking forward to getting out there, meeting people, and being an ambassador for all the good work that’s being carried out every day in our borough."
Cllr Graves will be officially appointed as mayor for 2015-16 at the annual meeting of the council on Tuesday 19 May.
He will fundraise throughout his mayoral year, with the money being distributed to good causes at the end of his term of office. His main charity will be Northamptonshire Carers, an independent local organisation that offers support, advice and assistance to carers and young carers.