New mayor of Merton Krystal Miller set to take on 'Challenge Anneka' role
Challenge Anneka – the 1990s game show starring Anneka Rice – will provide the inspiration for the woman set to be sworn in as Merton’s next mayor.
Councillor Krystal Miller, who has represented Trinity ward in Wimbledon town centre since 2006, was voted in as the borough’s first citizen at last Wednesday’s full council meeting at Merton Civic Centre.
Coun Miller, 33, will step down in May as the Conservative’s shadow spokeswoman for community engagement and will represent the borough at official events in a non-political capacity for the following year.
She said: “I’m really excited about my mayoral year. I’m planning new initiatives to try and reach as many residents as possible.”
One of those initiatives is ‘Challenge the Mayor’, based on Challenge Anneka in which Anneka Rice was given a task to complete by a deadline, often having to persuade volunteers and companies to donate their time and resources for free.
Coun Miller insisted she would not mimic Anneka by wearing a blue jump suit, but would invite the community to nominate ideas for which the mayor would raise money and bring business and residents together to improve an area, within strict deadlines such as two weeks.
She added: “I will have a strong emphasis on volunteering and want to support Merton’s charities and businesses by promoting the best of what we have to offer to those outside the borough.
“We can and should promote Merton much better. So while respecting the great traditions of the role I want to bring a business-like approach and modern take on it.”
Coun Miller will replace Coun David Williams, who was the leader of Merton Council from 2006 to 2010, when Labour took control of the council.
The leader of Merton’s Conservative group, Coun Debbie Shears, said: "She brings with her an incredible energy and enthusiasm for the job.
“I am confident she will be an excellent first citizen of the Borough.”
Coun John Sargeant from Merton Park Ward Independent Residents will serve as Deputy Mayor, replacing Conservative Coun John Bowcott.
Coun Sargeant said: “I am looking forward to the privilege of supporting the Mayor-elect throughout her hectic year in office.
“Meeting the people who are the force behind Merton’s many vibrant charities and businesses will be a particular honour.”