A ukulele-strumming former rugby union referee who once tackled a streaker at Twickenham is handing over the mayoral chains of Epsom and Ewell after raising an estimated £20,000 for a leading cancer charity.
Councillor George Crawford believes he attended more than 200 events in his year as mayor of Epsom and Ewell – most recently the Round the Borough Bike Ride and a charity football match in aid of a young boy with bone cancer.
Choirs from Epsom and Ewell, and its European twin towns, Chantilly in France, Überlingen in Germany, Watermael-Boitsfort in Belgium, getting together for the Europe in Harmony event last summer was his highlight of the year.
But it is repeatedly seeing the charitability of the people of Epsom and Ewell first-hand that will form the lasting memory of his time as mayor, Cllr Crawford told the Epsom Guardian.
“It gave me an insight into the borough itself and all the people doing good work here,” he said.
“There are a lot of people doing good work. There are amazing volunteers everywhere we go!
“There are so many organisations that deserve support.”
He added: “It’s been rewarding, demanding and tiring all at the same time.”
Cllr Crawford and his partner Jackie Hennings also organised more than 15 events throughout the year, from tea afternoons to ladies’ lunches, raising money raising for Macmillan Cancer Support.
They were inspired to help Macmillan by the support they gave his niece’s daughter Molly, who had Hodgkin Lymphoma, and were helped with the organisation of events and fundraising by his Cuddington ward team of Ann Turner, Judith Glover and Wendy Leveridge.
Donations are still being tallied up, but Cllr Crawford expects to announce about £20,250 has been raised for the charity.
“People have been very generous,” he said.
“I’m delighted because Macmillan does a great job locally and farther afield.”
From October 2013: Busking councillor George Crawford strums ukulele at Ashley Centre in Epsom
Cllr Crawford is known within the borough for busking for charity, and more widely for tackling a streaker while refereeing the semi-final of the Middlesex Sevens at Twickenham in 1985.
He joined the Metropolitan Police in 1962, eventually rose to the rank of Chief Superintendent, and was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal at the end of his policing career in 1992.
Cllr Crawford would then go on to work as head of security for both Wimbledon and Crystal Palace FC’s Selhurst Park stadium.
He will be replaced as mayor by Woodcote ward councillor Liz Frost at a full council meeting tonight (Tuesday, May 16).
To donate to Macmillan Cancer Support, visit Cllr Crawford's fundraising page.