Skip to main content

The Mayor

Crest of Tunbridge Wells


Message from the Mayor

Mayor and Escort for 2020 to 2021. Cllr Joy Podbury and Mr Bob Podbury

July 2020

I would like to start by thanking the outgoing Mayor and Mayoress, James and Jane Scholes, for all their hard work during their extended period of office. On a personal note, I would also like to thank them both for their helpful guidance.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected us all and changed our lives. My sympathy goes to families and friends who have lost loved ones, and those enduring separation. I urge everyone to continue to practice safe social distancing.

Our residents have been truly amazing. We have been impressed by how the community has come together to support one another. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone, but especially to the NHS, all our key workers and to our wonderful volunteers.

I am proud and honoured to have been elected as Mayor of Tunbridge Wells Borough. Bob and I have enjoyed our year as Deputy Mayor and Escort, and we look forward to things getting back to a near normal and meeting as many of our residents as possible.

My chosen charity is Porchlight. The charity supports homeless, vulnerable, and isolated people in Kent. As you can imagine the demands for their service has increased enormously over the last few months.

If you feel able to make a donation, it would be very much appreciated. Donations can be made online by visiting Please reference “Mayor” in the comments box.

It is good to see many of the businesses in Royal Tunbridge Wells and villages open again. We all need to support the local economy by shopping locally.

Stay Safe

Who is the Mayor?

The Mayor and Escort for 2020-2021 are Cllr Joy Podbury and her Husband, Mr Bob Podbury.

The high standing of the Mayor is one of honour and dignity rather than actual legal powers. The Mayor is expected to attend many formal and informal functions including:

  • royal and state visits
  • civic ceremonies and functions
  • town twinning
  • charity
  • annual general meetings
  • fetes
  • dinners / dances

Other functions of the role are to:

  • remain politically neutral, as the office of Mayor is mainly a ceremonial position
  • chair Full Council meetings
  • make speeches and address many different groups
  • act as ambassador to promote the council's name at home and elsewhere

Inviting the Mayor to your event

The Mayor attends around 200 engagements every year. These range from school visits to opening new businesses and attending community events.

If you would like the Mayor to attend your event, you can invite the Mayor to attend an event by completing our online form.

We will pass your invitation to the Mayor and let you know as soon as we have an answer.

In normal circumstances the Mayor can only consider invitations with at least two weeks notice, so please give us as much notice as you can when inviting the Mayor to your event.

The Mayor attends many civic and community engagements throughout the year and we would like to make it as easy as possible for you to invite them to your event.

Invite the Mayor to your event

Mayoral events

The Mayor attends and hosts a number of annual events, including:

Annual meeting of Full Council & Mayor making

This council meeting follows a similar format to that of a normal Council meeting but is a much more formal occasion. This is when the current Mayor hands over the Mayoralty to the incoming Mayor. The incoming Mayor invites personal guests to attend and hosts a reception after the ceremony. The ceremony is usually held on a Wednesday in late May.

Civic service

The civic service takes place at the church of the Mayor's choice, usually the Mayor's local church. The Mayor and his Chaplain will arrange the service and, following the service, guests are invited to a reception.

Civic dinner & dance

The civic dinner & dance is held to celebrate the Mayor's year.

Remembrance Sunday

The service and parade is held at the war memorial in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

All are welcome to attend this service of remembrance. Service sheets will be distributed on the day of the parade

Mayoral diary

The Mayoral Diary includes details of all the events the Mayor or the Deputy Mayor will be attending. The diary is currently not available due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If you would like to make your payment for your attendance at one of the Mayor’s events, please use the bank details below quoting the event, for example civic dinner as your payment reference.

Sorting Code: 30-00-02
Account number: 01397910
Account name: Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (Mayor’s Charity Account)

Please note: if you wish to make a donation to the Mayor’s chosen charity you can do so using the payment details above. Thank you.

Mayor's charity

At Porchlight we are proud of our 45 year reputation as Kent’s leading homelessness charity. We’re here for people who have nowhere to go and no-one to turn to. Some are living on the streets, others need our support to prevent or resolve any issues that could put them at risk of homelessness.

We prevent: We stop people from losing their homes and help others to live safely and independently in the community.

We provide: We work with people on the streets, in our supported housing and in local communities. We help people with their mental health, housing, education and employment so they can get where they want to be in life.

We challenge: We’re fighting for a fairer society and we won’t give up until everybody has a safe place to call home and the chance to make a positive contribution. This year, more than 7,000 individuals and families were supported by our services. We are grateful for the Mayor’s support which will help fund essential services through the Covid19 crisis and beyond. 91p of every pound raised goes directly to our front line work.

Donate to Porchlight

Helpline: 0800 567 7699

Porchlight is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered company No: 1157482. Registered charity No: 267116

About the Mayor's charities

If you wish to approach the Mayor with the possibility of him/her adopting your charity for the year then please write to the Mayor's Office.

The Mayor chooses a charity well in advance and it would be sensible to write to the Mayor-Elect, ie Deputy Mayor, to give as much time as possible for a decision to be made.

Some documents on this page may not be in an accessible format. If you require any documents in an accessible format, please complete our online form to request them.