THE idea of a mayoral blog came from the idea of trying to give residents an insight into the reality of life as the mayor and some of what it involves.

Two months in and it has been busy but great. This time of year always feels hectic, I think because a lot of organisations are trying to get their events arranged prior to the summer holidays.

This means the list of engagements is long. Add to this plans for Wellbeing Winsford Week 2020 cranking up, daughter number one inter-railing around Europe, a ruck of university open days with daughter number two, daughter number three finishing primary school and all the events which go with that milestone, plus an imminent house move, there have been times when I have met myself coming backwards.

I do sometimes question why I take on all these different responsibilities? The reality is this is who I am. I love being involved in projects and initiatives. I want to be a positive role model for my girls, I want to feel I am contributing to my local community.

This commitment to our community is something I see all the time in my time as mayor.

Winsford Guardian:

Winsford town mayor Cllr Ailsa Gaskill-Jones in the council chamber

It never fails to astound me how many people commit their time and energies to the benefit of others.

In the last month, I have attended events which demonstrates this, from parents and teachers organising end of school year activities, brownie leaders nurturing the next generation and talented musicians giving up their time and talents to perform in aid of local causes.

Summer Serenade with the Daleian Singers, not a dry eye in the house.

As mayor, I also chair the Salt Fair committee. As part of this, I saw the celebration of Sir John Brunner’s life (a man for whom philanthropy and giving to the community was a key tenet), we also have a family event planned for August and the main Salt Fair in September.

Winsford Guardian:

Winsford town mayor Cllr Ailsa Gaskill-Jones at the celebration of the life of Sir John Brunner with his great grandson Sir Hugo Brunner and town clerk Mark Bailey

Whilst these events are led by the Town Council, they take some serious organising and their success is completely reliant on the commitment of both individuals and groups across the town.

Witnessing people’s dedication to their community in this way is something which never fails to move and inspire me.

We live in times when it can feel quite depressing and uncertain, however the events I attend and projects I visit prove how much good is out there, how many darn wonderful people there are doing such wonderful things.

Another common theme this month has been judging. Judging things really is a significant part of my role as mayor.

I was asked to judge the school’s scarecrow competition organised by Over Allotments Association, applications for the role of junior mayor and both classic cars and tractors as part of this year’s Darnhall Show!

Winsford Guardian:

Winsford town mayor Cllr Ailsa Gaiskill-Jones invests the new junior mayor Caitlin Smith

I know little about cars or tractors, certainly not as much as either your average car or tractor enthusiast. I really worried about offending the competitors just as I worried about disappointing the junior mayor applicants and the schools who built scarecrows.

Winsford Guardian:

Winsford town mayor Cllr Ailsa Gaskill-Jones was asked to judge the schools' scarecrow competition

Judging others can be uncomfortable. In the end with the tractors, I played it safe and went for the shiniest one!

I have however become aware of another type of judging, a judging I seem to have no problem with, a judging I do all the time, the judging I have done of myself.

I take my responsibilities as mayor very serious but I am also very conscious of my responsibilities to my day job and most importantly to my family.

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When things are busy as they have been, I have found myself being very critical of myself, worrying I’m not keeping all those plates spinning, not being an amazing mayor, a wonderful mum, a great daughter, attentive friend, an incredible midwife, a perfect wife.

Winsford Guardian:

Winsford town mayor Cllr Ailsa Gaskill-Jones with husband and consort Matthew

On reflection I think this self-criticism is a symptom of the world we live in, people worrying they’re not achieving 110 per cent in all aspects of their life, setting incredibly high standards for themselves, aiming for perfection and not heeding the advice that sometimes good enough is enough.

Maybe this is advice I need to take on board? For now, I am venturing to France for a week of rest, relaxation, the odd glass of something very cold and not a tractor which needs judging anywhere in sight!