Suffolk

Ipswich mayor Glen Chisholm 'hoped to change views'

Glen Chisholm in Star Trek top Image copyright AP
Image caption Ipswich mayor Glen Chisholm chose a Star Trek theme for a charity ball

In the past year Glen Chisholm has been Mayor of Ipswich. However, while typical mayors opt for nothing more exerting than chain wearing and ribbon cutting, he has been photographed in a Star Trek outfit and spotted riding at a skate park and dancing in the early hours of the morning to Rage Against The Machine.

"The public perception of a mayor was an old Victorian gentleman", says the 43-year-old. "[I wanted] to break down some misconceptions."

Image copyright Cad Taylor
Image caption Cad Taylor, organiser of an Ipswich youth radio group, said children were "wowed" by a recent mayoral visit
Image copyright Ipswich Borough Council
Image caption Ed Sheeran was presented with a toy mammoth, a symbol of a new arts project in Ipswich

Mr Chisholm was born in Ipswich, a second generation immigrant, to an English mother and father of Jamaican descent.

He entered the world of politics four years ago when he saw an advert in a newspaper for new councillors and went on to be elected mayor last year.

"I was lucky that I've seen some good mayors before me," he said. "But people see it as being something that was unobtainable and out of reach. I knew that wasn't the case."

Image copyright Facebook

One of the goals during his year-long stint as mayor was to show that "anyone from any background can succeed".

"I think I've gone a long way to achieving this," Mr Chisholm said, who is Labour councillor for Whitehouse in Ipswich.

"It wasn't easy for me growing up, I suffered from dyslexia as well. But I was lucky people had confidence in me and allowed me to grow my own confidence and find something I'm good at.

"I would love in years to come someone to work through the ranks to become mayor and say they were inspired by me visiting their school or youth group, I would love for that to happen."

Image copyright YouTube: Nichola Whymark
Image caption Glen Chisholm took part in a Michael Jackson-inspired flash mob in Ipswich town centre
Image copyright Ipswich Borough Council
Image caption The outgoing mayor said his beard was a "fashion choice" and not, as a churchgoer wrongly presumed, because he's a Muslim
Image copyright Ipswich Borough Council
Image caption Roger Fern has taken over the mayoral duties for Ipswich

Flash mob dancing, Star Trek balls and continuing to enjoy nights out were a way of breaking down perceptions of mayoral life.

"I take the role seriously but I don't take myself too seriously," Mr Chisholm said. "I've been out for a drink with friends, different gigs, and people have seen me there and been a little surprised.

"But I'm a normal 43 year old. We enjoy music as well."

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