New mayor’s hospice pledge

PUBLISHED: 17:01 20 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:43 25 August 2010

A CHARITY for terminally ill children is to benefit from the appointment of a borough's new mayor.

A CHARITY for terminally ill children is to benefit from the appointment of a borough's new mayor.

Erith councillor Bernard Clewes MBE was appointed 70th Mayor of Bexley at the Civic offices last Wednesday, where he dedicated his year's fundraising to Demelza Hospice Care for Children.

The retired stockbroker from Welling has devoted much of the last 53 years to the Boys' Brigade and received an MBE in 1996 for services to young people in the borough.

The 77-year-old said: "It will be a wonderful opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, in all parts of the borough to congratulate and praise the many folk who work so hard for the benefit of Bexley."

Mr Clewes is credited with leading the creation of Bexley Council for Voluntary Youth Organisations in 1993, which gives grants to youth groups with money from Bexley council.

Demelza will be the Mayor's official charity project for the financial year.

Supporting 450 terminally ill children and their families either at its centres or at home, Demelza is currently expanding to a new centre in Eltham.

His predecessor, Blendon and Penhill councillor Nick O'Hare raised £33,000 for Bexley Crossroads Care, a charity supporting the borough's carers.

Mr Clewes, a grandfather of six, has lived in Bexley his entire life apart from two years he spent on National Service in the Royal Air Force.

Having completed the military stretch, the Mayor became an officer in the Boys' Brigade, which he joined aged nine, and became Captain of the Bexleyheath Company for 37 years.

He said: "I suggested to my wife Edna at the time that I should take on the job for one year, just to see how things go!"

He eventually retired as captain in the Company's centenary year, 2004, but continues as their treasurer.

A keen sports enthusiast, Mr Clewes is a member of Kent Country Cricket Club and has played for Bexley Cricket Club.

The Deputy Mayor's position was handed to Sidcup councillor Aileen Beckwith with her husband Brian Beckwith as her Escort.

Reverend John Draycott, Vicar at Christ Church, Erith, was appointed the Mayor's Chaplain.

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