By Harry Mottram: With tea served complete with biscuits and the Mayor of Bath Councillor Dine Romero dressed in casual clothes the period parlour in the Guildhall has something of a homely domestic tone to it on my visit.
It was a hestitating welcome from the city’s 796th civic leader – although as always I explain Bath Voice is not a red top tabloid and I don’t stitch up people in an interview.
“Well I read something you wrote about me I was involved in,” she said, “and it was quite fair so you haven’t put my back up.”
Phew – I could feel the atmosphere warming. These interviews are very gentle in terms of reporting but obviously I’m always hoping that the subject might in the relaxed mood may reveal something personal and hopefully newsworthy. Having explained Bath Voice also covers controversy and tragedy as well as soft soaping the city’s great and the good we had our opening as I mentioned the recent murders.
“Talking about the three recent fatalities,” she said, meaning the three murders this year in Bath, “with my scrutiny hat on we are setting up a task group to look at what more can be done.
“I am going to ask the violence reduction strategy put together with the police, the council and various other agencies as to what more could be done, is there something we can learn?
“The Youth Endowment Fund has done a lot of work on what works and what makes a difference because whenever there is one of these events [knife murders] people come up with their own pet threories as to what can be done.”
She explains the task group will also be looking at child sexual exploitation and the health of homeless people but she is keen for the public to come to the scrutiny meetings so they can see what is being done about such serious issues in the city.
Born in London and brought up in Tolworth, the young Dine while studying Latin at school visited Bath on a school trip and the memory stuck with her through to married life.
After school she worked in a number of clerical and admin jobs and while raising three children Dine successfully completed a BSc (Hons) in Natural Sciences with Biology, a BTEC in local governance, and then a Masters in Science both with the Open University.
The move to Bath came when she was pregnant with her first child after having lived for a time in Brighton – sparked by that school girl memory.
She said she originally got involved in local Government when she asked her local councillor for a grit bin for an icy road. Although she says she is not a political animal Dine first stood for election in 2013 for the Liberal Democrats in Southdown, and has been re-elected every four years since then. Dine’s eldest daughter, Dr Isobel Romero-Shaw, is the Mayoress.
“One of the great things about being the mayor,” she continued, “is you get out and meet lots of groups. It’s all part of my theme, ‘the beating heart of the city’. I can act as a figure head giving them more publicity and encourage them to engage with agencies that can help “
The Mayoralty has a long and interesting history dating back centuries – more at https://mayorofbath.co.uk/the-mayoralty/
Harry Mottram is the News Editor
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