The first mayor to ever serve three consecutive terms in Whitby has said he is looking forward to getting back to the simple life.
Councillor John Freeman was elected in 2011 and said that his three years as mayor have been some of the most incredible and humbling of his entire life.
“It has been a wonderful experience,” said Cllr Freeman. “Whitby is so easy to represent because everybody loves the place.”
The professional artist, who has owned a studio on Market Place since 1969, has proved a popular mayor during his term in office, as evidenced by the council’s decision to break from protocol and elect him mayor for a third year.
Among his proudest moments have been taking the salute from the Yorkshire Regiment when it marched through the town, sitting in a Sea King helicopter, and riding in a dodgem with Miss Regatta Abby Hall.
The construction of the war memorial in the centre of Whitby was also a major landmark of his time as mayor.
He said: “I have had the privilege of working with councillors that really have put their heart and soul into things like that.”
An artist since the age of 14, when he won his first school prize, Cllr Freeman now lives in Raw and said he intends to retire to the ‘back benches’ at the town council.
He did confess to having some regrets, such as being unable to erect a plaque to celebrate the achievements of the volunteers who worked so hard to win Whitby the gold in Britain in Bloom’s Small Coastal Town category.
But one of his final acts as mayor was one of his proudest – helping to raise over £6,000 during his three years for various charities and community groups in the town.