Mrs Raina Chatel, Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Douglas, has been elected to serve as the Mayor of Douglas for the 2021-22 municipal year.
Members of the Council voted unanimously to elect Mrs Chatel at a statutory public Council meeting held on Wednesday, August 11, 2021.
Proposing the nomination, Councillor Ian Clague MBE, who has known Mrs Chatel for more than 40 years, spoke of how she had ‘the capacity to openly provide support to anyone who requires it.’ He went on to say that she was ‘an enthusiastic supporter of the local community and of the community services provided by the Council’. In closing he said that Mrs Chatel ‘had the dedication, vast experience and expertise to carry out the exacting role of Mayor.’
Seconding the nomination, Councillor Stephen Pitts said that he had had the privilege to serve as Mrs Chatel’s Deputy Mayor when she was Mayor in 1994-95. He spoke warmly of her sense of humour, how she had instigated the first Council ‘Christmas Dinner in August’ event and, in closing, said she was a ‘good all-round and charitable person.’
Accepting the nomination, Her Worship the Mayor, Mrs Raina Chatel, said that to have served as Mayor of Douglas in 1994-95, was ‘an honour’ but to have been selected once again, was ‘not only a great honour, but also truly humbling’.
She went on to say how serving as Mayor in 2021-22 would be very different, referring to the Council membership having been reduced from 18 to 12 and the number of Wards from six to four.
She went on to say that the Council had successfully managed the impact of Covid-19 and had ‘continued to serve the people of Douglas with great sensitivity in extremely difficult and uncertain times.’
She spoke of the ‘strong legacy’ left, first by Douglas Town Commissioners, then by Douglas Aldermen and Councillors, on which the present-day ‘more entrepreneurial’ Council would continue to build.
She continued: ‘And now in 2021 - the 125th anniversary of Douglas Borough Council - we’re still delivering for Douglas. And we still have ambition for Douglas’.
She said that serving as Mayor provided ‘a unique opportunity’ to meet with representatives from different charitable and voluntary organisations, all helping to make Douglas ‘the very special place it is’ and referred to the ‘transformational work’ being achieved by local charities, despite the increasing pressure being exerted on their budgets.
It was against this background that she and her Mayoress, Mrs Deirdre Chatel, had selected three deserving causes for the 2021-22 charity appeal: Graih, the charity for the homeless, the Manx Youth Band and Rebecca House, the children’s hospice, in memory of former Mayor and Councillor, Debbie Pitts who had devoted much of her career to looking after terminally ill children and those with life-limiting illnesses.
Her Worship praised her predecessor, Mr Jonathan Joughin JP and his wife, Mrs Angela Joughin, who had served as Mayoress, for raising more than £50,000 for local good causes over the course of their three years in office. ‘Their stamina, enthusiasm, sense of duty and unfailing service to the people of Douglas have been truly remarkable…and they will be a very hard act to follow,’ she said.
In closing Her Worship said that she had never lost her enthusiasm ‘for all things Douglas - a town I’ve always been proud to call my home. And a town I’m proud to be serving once again as Mayor.’
Proposing a vote of thanks to the outgoing Mayor, the Leader of the Council, Councillor Claire Wells, thanked Mr Joughin and his wife Mrs Angela Joughin, for the outstanding efforts and dedication to their roles during their three years in office and wished them the best of luck for the future.
Seconding the vote of thanks and echoing the Leader’s sentiments, Councillor Stephen Pitts said the fundraising achievements and service to the Borough of Douglas of the former Mayor and Mayoress over the past three years had been ‘incredible’.
In his reply, Mr Joughin thanked his former colleagues on the Council for their support and said that serving as Mayor was ‘a job like no other’, adding that between them, he and his wife had attended 692 engagements over the course of their three years in office.
He went on to praise his fundraising committee for their efforts that had led to raising £50,000 and, In making his closing remarks, he was visibly moved when he spoke of the support given ‘without question’ by his wife, Angela, who had been a tireless ambassador for the Council. He went on to say: ‘I am extremely proud of everything she has done and want to thank her publicly for all her hard work and dedication to both me and the very demanding role of Mayoress.’
For the 2021-22 municipal year Her Worship will be supported by her Mayoress Mrs Deirdre Chatel, her sister-in-law.
Councillor Janet Thommeny will serve as Deputy Mayor and Councillor Natalie Byron as Deputy Mayoress.
Serving as Mayor’s chaplain to Her Worship will be chaplain to the Bishop of Sodor and Man, the Rev’d Dr Michael Brydon.