Keith and Vicki McLean are important people; they are VIPs, photographed at every event they attend. They are, after all, the Mayor and Mayoress of Milton Keynes. But walking into their office on a Wednesday morning, invited to grab a drink from the fridge, take a seat and listen to the end of their weekly briefing, you’re struck by how down to earth and welcoming they are.
I was there to ask them questions; from what they hope to achieve during their Mayoral year to what they get up to in their spare time.
So, first question – what do they like about Milton Keynes?
“Milton Keynes is a great place,” begins Keith. “A lot of people think it’s all just roundabouts and concrete cows but actually there’s so much more to see and do here. There’s lots of green space, one of the biggest shopping centres in the country, great cycle routes and fantastic entertainment.”
And what do they like most about the role of Mayor and Mayoress?
Vicki answers: “We have already met so many wonderful people and organisations that we didn’t even know existed. We have honestly been taken aback by the amount of people in Milton Keynes who work hard to help the most vulnerable and promote the city as a great place to live and work. There is so much achievement and so many fantastic things that go on here and it really is an honour to be invited to so many of the events that celebrate this work.”
As Mayor and Mayoress, Keith and Vicki are allowed to choose two charities to support during their Mayoral year. They chose Milton Keynes Hospital Charity and The British Royal Legion. Why these two?
Keith explains: “We decided to support Milton Keynes Hospital Charity after attending a concert at Walton High School. We were sitting next to a woman who spoke about the hospital trying to raise money for a new cancer care facility. We were really moved by her speech and knew that we wanted to help.”
And why The British Royal Legion?
“We think it’s really important to support our serviceman and The British Royal Legion helps serving members of the Armed Forces, ex-servicemen and women and their families, now and for the rest of their lives. It’s a great charity and we’re very proud to support it.”
So when they’re not busy donning their mayoral chains and attending events, what are they up to? Well, Keith is an avid rugby fan so spends a lot of time watching it on television and in real life. He is of course, very excited about the upcoming Rugby World Cup. Walking their two dogs and spending time with their friends also seems to be a popular choice. Vicki also enjoys riding her horse, Flight, who is apparently a legend in their village.
When I ask if there’s anything about being Mayor and Mayoress of Milton Keynes that they don’t like, there’s a long pause. It seems that they both thoroughly enjoy the role.
I press them for an answer.
“Well,” smiles Vicki. “The only thing I like about my days off is not having to do my make-up!”
When I ask if Keith finds it difficult to put aside his political views in this prestigious role, he says:
“Not at all. As Mayor, I’m here to represent the people of Milton Keynes and that comes above everything else.”
And finally, what do they want people to say about them at the end of their Mayoral year?
“We want people to say that Keith and Vicki have given their all to the role and promoted Milton Keynes as a great place to live and work. That they have supported a wide range of community organisations and made a real difference to the community.”