Nine councillors from East Devon District Council and Ottery St Mary Town Council, signed up for the event, which involved students firing questions at us.
It was a fast and furious event, which allowed just three minutes spent at each table, before councillors moved on to the next group for the next grilling, as a claxon sounded.
Councillors David Cox, Christine Drew, Martin Gammell, Roger Giles, Andrew Moulding, Pauline Stott and Elli Pang and Mayor Glyn Dobson, also took part in the event, which was held on Monday 22 October.
The top four questions that I was asked were:
– what did I think of Cranbrook?
– what could I do about the lack of facilities for younger people in Ottery?
– what was my view on votes for 16 year olds?
– why should they vote for me?
I thoroughly enjoyed the event and was impressed by the level of knowledge and how much students cared about the communities they lived in.
At the end of the event students handed in their scores for each councillor, which were added up and a winner announced.
The icing on the cake was that I was one of the crowned winners of the event!
The first session was won by Cllr Martin Gammell and I proudly wore the crown following the second session.
Diana Vernon of East Devon District Council, suggested that as I seemed very attached to the crown that I should take it home with me and return it the next time I came to the Knowle. I was very happy to accept this offer and wore it all the way home and around the house for while!
Many thanks to Diana Vernon, Hannah Whitfield and Stephanie Lewis of Democratic Services, who did a fab job of organising such an important event. Also, thanks should go to headteacher, Faith Jarrett and Jo Elliott of The King’s School.
It was quite clear from this event and from the one I attended earlier this year, that young people care very much about their communities and want to get involved in influencing local decision-making but often aren’t sure how to go about it. It is our responsibility to reach out to them to help them do this.
I believe that it is vital that we help create an aware and engaged next generation, who want to change things that are unfair, who feel able to do so, and know how to do so.
I am very much looking forward to working with the students on a few ideas for campaigns, that we discussed at the meeting.
Photograph: Proudly wearing my crown, pictured with King’s School students and Mayor of Ottery, Glyn Dobson.