The new Mayor of Crawley has chosen the Alzheimer’s Society’s Crawley services as her chosen charity.
Cllr Brenda Smith was elected at the Annual Crawley Borough Council meeting on Friday (June 13).
She said: “I feel very honoured and privileged to be elected to the position of Mayor of Crawley again. I have spent my whole adult life living and working in Crawley and am proud of all that our town and community has achieved.
“Crawley never stands still and is always changing and reinventing itself to keep abreast of the global and national changes that our diverse community bring to us. I am looking forward to meeting and understanding the people of our town in all its sectors.
“My chosen charity reflects my commitment to raise the profile of dementia, increase services and remove the stigma associated with this disease and mental health.”
Brenda Smith (then Brenda Innes) was elected to represent the Ifield ward in 1978 and retained that seat until 1984 when she stood down to spend time with her young family.
She was elected to the Langley Green ward in 1988 and stood down in 1992 but was re-elected in a by-election in 1996 and has been successful in every election since.
She was born in 1945 in Kingston-upon-Thames and moved to Gossops Green in 1958 with her parents, brother and sister.
She went to Sarah Robinson Secondary School in Ifield and had a passion for athletics and sport.
Leaving school in 1960, she trained as a GPO telephonist and spent her working life in various occupations including local banks and solicitors. In 1988 she made a major career change and retrained as a road safety officer working for West Sussex County Council in Crawley. She retired in 2006.
Brenda is married to Jim, an Honorary Alderman and Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Crawley as well as a four-time mayor of Crawley and Langley Green councillor for 22 years.
He was also a councillor in Ifield and Gossops Green, completing 39 years before he retired in 2010.
They have four adult children, seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Brenda’s interests include Crawley’s Dementia Alliance, her home, garden and family.
As a member of the Crawley Town Twinning Association she regularly visits Dorsten and hosts visitors.
This is her second term as Mayor of Crawley, following her previous year in office in 1990/91.
Cllr Chris Cheshire was elected Deputy Mayor at the Annual Council meeting.