A Lifetime Achievement Award for former Mayor Tony Gray
Before the Mayor Making ceremony proper got underway on Monday evening (May 15), the outgoing Town Mayor, Councillor Noel Barrett-Morton, had an important duty: he presented former Marlborough Mayor Tony Gray with a Lifetime Achievement Award - in the shape of a fine engraved crystal bowl.
Tony Gray had been Mayor when Marlborough was a Borough and then again as Mayor under the Town Council regime. He had also served as Chairman of Kennet District Council. He is fondly remembered by many as the owner of Marlborough High Street's famous Ducks Toy Shop - a family-run business now closed.
Mr Gray was brought up and educated in Marlborough and did his National Service in the Wiltshire Regiment. He was a school governor for both St Mary’s and St Peter’s schools and Chairman of the Marlborough Round Table.
His many achievements in local government include working with the Showmen’s Guild to ensure the future of the Mop Fairs, negotiating the lease of Cooper’s Meadow to the town rather than being sold to developers, and he was the driving force behind the town's purchase of the Merchant's House and establishing its Trust.
He helped to raise many thousands of pounds for charity and organised many community events including the memorable celebrations around the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.
Councillor Noel Barrett-Morton said he was honoured to make the Award to someone who has given so much and so generously to Marlborough: "Many of his achievements are largely unknown and it’s right that we have had a chance to acknowledge him and them properly by presenting him with this award.”
Thanking the Mayor and Councillors, Tony Gray said he was pleased to see the young members of the new Town Council and urged them to play their part: "I started when I was 27 - and I was told I was too young and I should go away and learn something!"
Luckily for Marlborough he did not go away and, by chance, was instrumental in saving the office of mayor when, in the 1970s, under local government 'reforms' Marlborough was about to cease being a Borough.
He persuaded Lord Brooke to move an amendment in the House of Lords enabling former Borough and City Councils to retain the office of Mayor - without this intervention the historic tradition of Marlborough's mayors may have not have continued.