BRACKNELL Forest’s mayor raised almost £20,000 for a Sandhurst charity over the course of the past year.

The fundraising success comes as with the incumbent mayor Pauline McKenzie gets set to step down from her role as another councillor takes over the top job.

Every year the mayor chooses a charity to raise money for, and in May 2019 Councillor McKenzie selected Sandhurst Day Centre as her organisation.

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The centre offers older residents the chance to learn new skills, make new friends and connect with the community and will now benefit from an “amazing” £19,400 following a year of fundraising.

Speaking to the News about her other highlights in office, she said: “There’s so many it’s difficult to pick some out!

“My favourite time has been with our young people and meeting them in the council chamber to talk about democracy, visiting schools and the many award ceremonies, especially the ones for our looked after children.

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“I thoroughly enjoyed the citizenship ceremonies -- they were amazing.

“I love the way people come together and respect each other and embrace different cultures and traditions.

“It’s all about people wanting to become British citizens and they’re overawed by the regalia and it’s very moving.”

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As part of her role as mayor, Cllr McKenzie’s responsibilities included organising and hosting a number of events, representing the borough at ceremonies, supporting local schools, charities and businesses and more.

This gave the Sandhurst ward member a greater chance to get out and about in the borough.

She added: “Coming from Sandhurst, I didn’t know Bracknell and the northern parts of the borough very well so it was good to meet the various communities.

“I’ve always thought The Lexicon is the beating heart of Bracknell, where we celebrate anniversaries, where we’ve had dinosaurs, lots of competitions and things like that.”

Cllr McKenzie will get a chance to address her colleagues at tomorrow evening’s full council meeting.

It is a tradition at Bracknell Forest for the current deputy mayor to become the next mayor.

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Councillor Ash Merry currently holds the deputy post and should she assume the top job tomorrow evening (May 20), she will chair the rest of the full council meeting after Cllr McKenzie lets go of the reins.

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The coronavirus pandemic may have limited the work the current mayor was able to do in her last few months in office but she was still able to keep busy.

As her time in the job is set to come to an end, Cllr McKenzie told the News she had a message for residents.

She said: “Quite a lot of people still wanted us to come out but it wasn’t safe to do so.

“But I’ve still had a lot of emails and lots of opportunities to put names forward for people who should be recognised.

“I would have loved to have gone along to more fundraisers and to award ceremonies.

“Fundamentally, [Bracknell Forest] is such a caring and supportive community and I’d like to see people carry on supporting each other.

“We will meet again.”

The meeting starts at 7.30 pm tomorrow and can be accessed through Microsoft Teams using the link here: