The Mayor of Saffron Walden

The Mayor of Saffron Walden 2016-17 is Councillor Dr. Richard Freeman and his consort is his wife, Jan.  The Mayor's chosen charities this year will benefit local people suffering from dementia.

 'Together in Sound' is run by Saffron Hall,  They provide ten-week music courses for those living with dementia and their carers.  Professional musicians will provide weekly music workshops.  There will be opportunities to sing, play instruments and create music as well as to meet others in the coffee hour that bookends each session.  For further information please click on the following Together in Sound link or telephone 01799 588545 email:

Saffron Walden Dementia Action Alliance is a charity which aims for Saffron Walden to be a community where people living with dementia are treated with respect, dignity and given as much independence as possible whilst their carers are supported and enabled to enjoy a good quality of life.  They help local shops, businesses and service providers:

  • Recognise the signs of dementia;
  • Understand how dementia can impact those who live with it;
  • Make small changes that will help people living with dementia continue to be included in, and contribute to, our community.

 The Deputy Mayor is Councillor Paul G Fairhurst and his wife is Margaret.

If you would like to ask the Mayor to attend an event please contact or telephone 01799 516501.


Mayor, Cllr Dr. Richard Freeman's engagements during 2017/18


Saturday, 26 May Mayor Making at 10am, Court Room, Town Hall followed by a Church Service at 10.30am at St Mary's Church taken by the Revered David Tomlinson. 

2 May TIC Volunteers lunch at 12.30pm Little Walden


20 April Wine Tasting at Adnam's in aid of the Mayor's charities.

20 April at 11am-1pm Together in Sound open sharing at The United Reformed Church, Abbey Lane.

17 April at 2.30pm meet Euro students from Joyce Frankland Academy at the Town Hall.

15 April at 3pm SW Horticultural Show at Golden Acre Community Centre.

Sunday, 8 April The Mayor's Walk: from 10am Circular walk around the town arranged by SW Initiative. Walk to be launched from the Lord Butler Leisure Centre for a 4.5 mile walk with a break at lunch time at the 8 Bells, Bridge Street.  From 2pm at 3.5 miles southerly loop back to the starting point. 


24 March at 10.30am  visit Alzheimer's Charity Stall at SW Market

23 March at 3pm Visit to TIC and S/W Library by Kemi Badenoch MP

16 March at 7.30pm Quiz Night at Saffron Walden Football Club, Caton's Lane,  in aid of the Mayor's charities.  TIckets £10 each on sale at S/W TIC

14 March at 6pm High Sheriff's Awards at Chelmsford

6 March UK Heritage Awards: BEG - Goldsmiths, London

4 March ECC Civic Service at Chelmsford Cathedral


17 February Mayor's Concert at Saffron Hall: Reception in aid of the Mayor's charities

16 February Chair of UDC's Civic Dinner

9 February at 7pm SW Camera Club Annual Exhibition - S/W Library

7 February 'The Wizard of Oz' at SWCH

January 2018

31 Meet French Exchange Students from Verdun in the Council Chamber, Town Hall

26 January at 6pm Agriculture in NW Essex at SW Museum 

26 January at 1.30pm Holocaust Memorial Day, St Mary's Church

21 January at 6.30pm Epiphany Service at St Mary's

19 January at 7.30pm S/W Pantomime

7 January at 3.00pm Panotmime in Cambridge with Rotary Club

 December 2017

25 December visit old people's homes and Saffron Walden Hospital

24 December at 4pm and 6pm Christmas Eve Children's Services at St Mary's Church, Saffron Walden 

15 December at 7pm SWCH Mid-Winter Concert at Saffron Hall

15 December 9.30am Family Forest School at BEG - St Mary's Nursery

15 December 9.30-11.30am Christmas Family Forest School at BEG

13 December at 8.45pm Raffle Draw at MENCAP's Side-by-Side Club Christmas Party

12 December at 7pm EACH Christmas Carol Service at SW Baptist Church

11 December at 6pm Christmas Social Evening at SW Museum

9 December at 2pm SW Choral Society at St Mary's Church

8 December at 6pm Fry Art Gallery reception 'Whe Bardfield came to Walden'

8 December at 11am St Mary's Nativity Play

5 December 7pm Uttlesford District Council's Christmas Civic Service at St John's Church, Stansted

1-3 December attendance at The Emporium in the Town Hall raising funds for the Mayor's charities

1 December 5.30pm for 6pm Christmas light switch on

1 December am 'Sharing' at Together in Sound, Saffron Hall


20 November at 10am 'path across The Common' 'photo opportunity

18 November from 9am Tombola Market Stall in aid of the Mayor's Charity outside Monsoon, SW Market

17 November at 3pm Care Innovation Reception at Highfields

17 November at 10am 'photo opportunity at the 'Memory Tree', Market Square 

14 November at 9.45am Launch of Market leaflet

12 November at 11am Remembrance Day Parade and Service at St Mary's Church 

11 November at 7.30pm at Saffron Hall - SW Choral Society: War Requiem.  The Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Mrs Fairhurst to attend.

11 November at 11am Armistice Day at Saffron Walden War Memorial, High Street

9 November CAB AGM at 12,30pm.  The Deputy Mayor in attendance

7 November at 10am Support4Sight unveiling of new branding at their George Street office

4 November at 11am visit new Sea Salt shop on the Market Square


25 October at 3pm dementia friendly screening of 'Summer Holiday' at Saffron Screen

24 October at 7pm Annual Allotment Awards - Court Room, Town Hall

20 October 1pm Section 29 signage at SW Common with the High Sheriff and the Chairman of UDC

17 October at 12.15pm Presentation to Luke Matthews - NABMA Young Person Market Awards

15 October at 2.30pm Saffron Song Fest at Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden 

10 October at 9.45am unveiling of Market banner outside The Library

10 October at 7am Meet the Town at UDC's offices

8 October at 11.30am The High Sheriff's Justice Service at Ingrave Road, Brentwood - The Mayor to attend with Deputy Mayor

7 October presentation to Support4Sight at SW Bowls Club 

5 October at 7.30pm Speakers Club with Alex Knibbs


23 September at 10am grand opening of Saffron Walden Nursery School following refurbishment

22 September at 7pm Book Launch 'Saffron Walden 1945-2000' at the Town Hall

20 September at 7.15am  'A day in the life of the Mayor' presentation at SW Breakfast Club

19 September pm EALC AGM and Conference at Great Dunmow

19 September 11.30am re-opening of refurbished Bandstand, Jubilee Gardens

16 September at 3pm SW Horticultural Show at Golden Acre Community Centre (Cllr Heather Asker in attendance)

12 September at 7am 'Meet the Town' at UDC's offices

3 September at 11.30am Mayor of Bishop's Stortford's Civic Service at St Michael's Church, Windhill

2 September at 3pm Lions Club of Saffron Walden Garden Party at St Mark's College


26 August at 7.30pm 'Dance in the Square'

11 August at 6pm Life in the Ice Age at Saffron Walden Museum

8 August at 7am 'Meet the Town' at UDC's offices

6 August at 12 noon Mayor of Bishop's Stortford's Garden Party


21 July at 2.30pm Lord Braybrooke's memorial service at St Mary's Parish Church

20 July at 6pm Beating Retreat - Carver Barracks

12 July at 6.30pm Corporate Night at Saffron Walden Common

8 July at 2pm Leading the Carnival Procession (1pm judging carnival floats)

June 2017

30 June at 6.30pm Uttlesford Business Awards at Parklands, Quendon

29 June at 7.15pm Jack Petchey Awards at Hornchurch (The Deputy Mayor in attendance)

28 June at 5pm Art Display at a Bridge End Garden by Dame Bradbury's School

25 June at 11.45am Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Celebration Event at Audley End of 20th year of saving lives (Both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor in attendance)

24 June at 6pm SW Choral Society reception and performance (Both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor in attendance)

24 June at 2pm Armed Forces Day. Parade by 33 Engineer Regiment to the Market Square. Thereafter, event on The Common.


It is a great honour for us to have you here today, and it is a wonderful way to celebrate Armed Forces Day.

When I first learned about this parade, I started to ask exactly what ‘Freedom of the Town (or Borough, or City, or whatever) actually meant.  It turns out that it is an answer to the question

                        “What did the Romans ever do for us?”

Apparently, in ancient Rome, Freedom of the City was an honour granted only to troops which had earned the trust of the local populace, either through some valiant action or simply by being a familiar presence.  It allows them the privilege to march into the city "with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed”.

Perhaps wisely, this was exercised only once a year (since Roman emperors often sat uneasy on their thrones).

In England it means something more besides.  We used to have a most curious piece of legislation called the Riot Act.  This was a fairly short statement which a local dignitary (which could have fallen to the luckless mayor, for example) was expected read out as an address to a riotous mob.  If he managed to get to the end, then the normal civilian law was suspended locally, and martial law was imposed.

Having a local regiment nearby, with the right to bear arms in the town already in place, would have been a significant comfort to those responsible for law and order.  If all else fails, call up the local army and (with careful timing) read the Riot Act just as they arrive!

Fortunately, it was repealed in 1973.  So I no longer have to worry about standing up in front of a riotous assembly!

More seriously, you perform a vital and very essential task in our community.  You help to keep us safe, which we fully understand and appreciate.  I imagine in your work (of explosive ordinance disposal) there are special qualities required.  I don’t expect that you can tolerate slow learners.  This was brought into sharp focus when one of your members visited us for a while to learn church bell ringing (St Mary’s has an excellent set of bells).  He learned very quickly, and I noticed that he only ever had to have things explained to him once.  I felt a pang of jealousy – I have proved to be a very slow learner when it comes to ringing church bells.  But it did underscore the sort of people you must be recruiting into 33 Regiment.  In bell-ringing, we train at least ten people to get one who becomes a competent ringer.  I suspect that the attrition rate in EOD is not dissimilar.

We are proud to have 33 Engineer (EOD) Regiment in our town and with us today.  You do a fantastic job, and do it very well.  You are professional, highly skilled, and utterly reliable and trustworthy.  In Britain we hold our armed forces in very high regard.  Please do come into Saffron Walden more often – to explore the shops and to get to know the town and its townsfolk. 

You are more than welcome!

 Cllr Dr Richard Freeman, Saffron Walden Town Mayor


23 June at 9.30am meeting with The Dementia Action Alliance at the Town Hall

17 June at 3.15pm SW Horticultural Society event at Golden Acre

17 June at 12 noon Picnic on The Common in memory of Jo Cox MP:- 

Address made by the Mayor at the event:

It is a privilege to be able to address you today, as the Mayor of Saffron Walden.  But it is to mark a very sad occasion.

Jo Cox appears to have been the very essence of what a young politician should be.  She was energetic, engaging and worked tirelessly for her community

She was also fearless.  Something for which she paid the price a short way into her term as Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen for just over a year before she died

Most accounts refer to Jo as having been ‘murdered’.  But this was not a murder.  This was an ASSASINATION.  Her death was to serve the warped purpose of a warped mind.

And her death is not just an insult to her and a disaster to those who loved her.   It is an attack on all of us; it is an attack on the democracy in which we live and in which most of us believe.

It is an attack on the freedom of people to speak freely; and in particular, on the freedom of our elected politicians to speak as they see fit

As we enjoy this beautiful part of England, on a lovely summer’s day, forgive me if I remind you of the events which took place in that church – the local Parish church of St Mary the Virgin – during the English Civil war.  Events which, according to some, formed the basis of our representational democracy;  the principle that a group of people be allowed to choose one person to act on their behalf.  We use it still; every time we vote for councillors and members of parliament.

The attack on Jo Cox was designed to un-make all this.  It does so by making others less willing to follow Jo’s path.  The inevitable outcome is that fewer and fewer people will put themselves forward for this kind of public service.  And Jo was precisely the sort of person we need in Parliament.    

Our democracy is not just vulnerable to assassins who lurk on the streets.  Untruths can assassinate ideals and ideas, just as surely as the untimely death of a politician.  Political assassination can occur through the press, through the media.

It falls to us to guarantee the physical safety of our politicians and other elected representatives; and also to make sure that the truth can still be heard.  Both are hard tasks; but if we are not equal to them, then we shall be party to the ending of English democracy.

Enjoy this lovely day and the fact that we live in a town where ‘togetherness’ is so important to us.  But please – do not forget – that Democracy is not a given.  It needs our work and our vigilance to maintain it.

Cllr Dr Richard Freeman, Town Mayor, Saffron Walden.  


11 June 'The Sixteen' at Saffron Hall

3 June at 12 noon SW Cricket Club lunch (the Deputy Mayor in attendance)

May 2017

Saturday, 20 May at 10.30am Mayor Making in the Court Room, Town Hall, followed by the Churching of the Mayor Service at 11.15am St Mary's Church

Saturday, 13 May at 1pm Saffron Walden Nursery School's Golden Anniversary - Shirehill Industrial Estate.

10 May at 7.30pm Respect Project Presentation Evening, Essex Boys and Girls Clubs, at UDC offices (Cllr P G Fairhurst, Deputy Mayor in attendance)