Guildford's Mayor Councillor Richard Billington
Cllr Richard Billington was first elected to local government in 1990 in the London Borough of Croydon. After moving to Guildford, he was elected to represent the Tillingbourne Ward on the Council in 2011. After a period on the back benches, he became Lead Councillor for Community Safety and Health and later, Lead Councillor for Rural Economy, Countryside, Parks and Leisure.
The Mayor's second year
Under the new Coronavirus regulations, the Council's Annual Meeting did not take place in 2020. This means that Cllr Richard Billington will remain in office for the municipal year 2020-21.
Cllr Billington is very happy to serve another year. He said: "I am grateful for this opportunity and will be honoured to continue to carry out my duties as Mayor of Guildford and First Citizen of our beautiful and historic borough, with the ongoing support of the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Marsha Moseley.
"Looking ahead to happier times, once it is safe to do so, we are both excited about visiting communities across our borough and thanking our residents for their efforts coming together to help one another during this unprecedented time in our lives."
Cllr Billington's theme for this new Mayoral year is 'Supporting communities - supporting each other'.
This best describes how heartwarming it has been to see villages, parishes, streets, neighbours, voluntary groups and statutory organisations all working together to ensure that the most vulnerable among us are supported.
On this theme, Cllr Billington will be seeking to thank and provide support to all those groups and charities that have been working tirelessly during the pandemic, but who may now need our support to help them provide and fund vital services going forward.
Richard was born and educated in Croydon, where he attended Whitgift School. After leaving school, he became an apprentice with Smiths Industries, where he worked in the company's Aviation and Car Radio Divisions while studying for a degree in Business Studies.
During his degree studies, Richard found time to join the Territorial Army, first as an officer cadet in London University OTC and then as an officer in the Royal Artillery, and for the last ten years of his service, in the Intelligence Corps.
Over succeeding years he worked in a variety of roles in sales and marketing, finally joining BT in 1986 to work in its International Division and later in the emerging field of video-conferencing.
It was during this time that Richard first became involved in local politics, becoming a councillor for the London Borough of Croydon in 1990. After eight years on a variety of committees, he was made an Honorary Alderman of the Borough.
Leaving Croydon Council was not the end of his roles in the Borough. Although he moved to Guildford in 1997, he continued in voluntary roles, becoming chairman of the Police Community Committee and chairman of the Independent Custody Visitors for the Croydon Division of the Metropolitan Police.
During the last fifteen years of Richard's working life, he has been looking after children with learning difficulties and autism in the care home he co-owned. Having retired in 2018, Richard is now looking forward to the challenges of being Mayor of Guildford.
Richard lives in Guildford with his wife Lynda and their two terriers. When not working on council matters, Richard loves to spend his free time walking with his dogs in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Deputy Mayor for 2020-21 is Cllr Marsha Moseley.
During his Mayoral year, providing it is safe to do so, Cllr Billington will be supporting as many fundraising opportunities as possible to raise awareness and much needed funds for The Coronavirus Response Fund and The Mayor of Guildford's Local Support Fund (formerly known as The Mayor of Guildford's Local Distress Fund).
See The Mayor's charities page for more information.
The Coronavirus Response Fund was launched to support local charities and voluntary organisations that are assisting some of Surrey's most vulnerable people. Since being launched, the fund has supported 122 local charities and community groups.
To donate, please visit the Mayor's CRF fundraising page.