Croydon has a new Mayor, and she is determined to use her year in office to raise the borough’s profile and celebrate its rich heritage.
Councillor Patricia Hay-Justice was elected to represent Addiscombe ward in 2010, and has been a member of council committees dealing with crime prevention, licensing, scrutiny, housing and planning, in addition to community groups within her ward.
Born in Birmingham, she had a successful career in facilities and property management, travelling around the country working for private sector organisations that work in partnership with the NHS. She managed existing services and cultural change, and designed and implemented new service platforms, all within strict financial parameters.
She had a change of focus in 2003 when she met her future husband and moved to Croydon, where she found that neighbours converse and care. Putting down roots reawakened her community spirit.
She became involved in local issues and organisations such as the Minster, local clubs and teaching organisations where she volunteered and encouraged young people to be the best that they can – for themselves and the community.
Councillor Hay-Justice has elected to support two local charities during her year of office – Mind in Croydon and CAYSH.
Her acceptance speech highlighted the borough’s diverse nature, referring to plans for the development of the town centre, and the many parks and green spaces it enjoys.
She said: “People of Croydon, we are living in exciting times. We are on the verge of major development of our town. Working with our business partners, such as Hammerson & Westfield and the Ruskin Square consortium, we are due to see our town centre and our district centres enhanced and transformed.
“With our 120 green spaces we are the envy of many other London boroughs whose residents travel to Croydon to benefit from areas such as South Norwood Country Park, woods and meadows such as Coulsdon’s Happy Valley, or to compete on our many golf courses.”
Winding up her speech on a humorous note, she told her fellow councillors: “We have a town to run. I know that I do not need to remind you that this chamber is for respectful, lively and constructive debates, and I thank you in advance for your support in this.
“Like previous Mayors, I am armed with this gavel and any misbehaviour will be met with it.”
Her Deputy Mayor is Councillor Wayne Trakas-Lawlor.