How did Steven Webb, a severely paralysed, a dyslexic person become Mayor of Truro, one of the most incredible cities in the UK?
Good question! This page will help you to find out.
This is my personal journey of becoming the Mayor for the municipal year of 2021/2022. Before I get to that journey, I would like to share a few details about Truro and the position of mayor.
A few facts about Truro
Truro is a cathedral city in the county of Cornwall. It has a population of nearly 19,000. It is the home of the Royal Cornwall Museum, Cornwall’s Courts of Justice and the Hall for Cornwall. Its governance is run by Truro City Council with 24 councillors elected every four years, and they choose the deputy mayor and Mayor of Truro.
The position of Mayor
Every year, the city councillors that qualify in order of seniority are given the option to put their names forward to become the Mayor of Truro. It is then put to a vote in which all 24 councillors vote by show of hands, or if requested, a secret ballot. It is a volunteer position that is held for 12 months, during which time you also become the chair of the full council.
At this point, I have been mayor for less than one week. And when I was asked to put my name forward, I had no idea just how much of an honour and privilege being Mayor of Truro is.
Of course, it’s an honour to be Mayor of any town or city. To be elected in any capacity whether local government or leader in your book club is an honour.
I was asked to put my name forward to be deputy mayor by a couple of other councillors. I was due to become chairman of planning, having been vice chairman for the previous three years. Although that is not a given, it still needs to be nominated and voted on.
Becoming Deputy Mayor meant that they couldn’t go forward and become chairman of planning. So, I really flip-flopped for a few days and in the end, after the support of others, I decided to go for the Deputy Mayor position.
To my joy, the city councillors voted in a secret ballot unanimously, which was amazing but also gave the game away that I had voted for myself. Of course, who wouldn’t?
Then there was an election, and the Mayor-elect Jan Allen did not get elected. At that point, I was the most senior and was asked whether I could skip the ‘training year’ of being deputy mayor and become mayor.
In my normal indecisive way, after a few days, I said yes.
So that’s the technical side of becoming mayor. However, I guess it started a long time before that.
My rock bottom
When I hit rock bottom just after my 40th birthday, I set out to reduce my suffering. And in order to do that, I had to learn about my suffering and why I suffered. I started meditating, practising mindfulness, and reading books; not an easy task for somebody that hadn’t read anything beyond headlines since primary school. Being dyslexic, I simply thought reading books was not something I was ever able to do. And in the typical gift of no choice, I was left in a position that reading books was the only way I fell asleep because of the concentration needed. At the time, I was drinking alcohol to simply fall asleep and that was not sustainable. Reading books replaced the alcohol; what a gift that was.
I learnt to reduce my suffering and find my inner peace despite still being severely paralysed and suffering from a life-threatening condition called autonomic dysreflexia (imagine being dyslexic and suffering from autonomic dysreflexia, to completely unrelated conditions) which made my life very difficult already.
Finding freedom and inner peace
I found freedom and inner peace and I wanted to share that with others. So I set out to reduce the suffering of others. I set up a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account. I started doing Facebook lives to share what I have learnt and how I was reducing my suffering.
I’m not religious, I’m not somebody that believes in the power of somebody in charge. I do believe, however, that the universe is amazing and incredible and it is way above my understanding as to why things happen. Is it fate? Is it randomly based on a set pattern or rules? No idea. With that said, I can live with the fact that it is a mystery.
During my journey towards reducing the suffering of others, I eventually ended up on the City Council. Although, that journey probably started when I was 15 and had my school work experience in the Houses of Parliament in London.
Breaking my neck at the age of 18 and becoming severely paralysed by diving into a swimming pool meant I was forced to take a different direction. I stayed away from politics, I spent a lot of time trying to reclaim my teenage years watching TV, enjoying nightclubs, and socialising.
Then, my rock bottom. My journey to reduce the suffering by self led to reducing the suffering of others. And there must’ve been some politics deep within that had been burning away quietly.
Joining local politics
Having the opportunity to stand on my local council in 2017, I had the privilege and honour of getting elected. No idea what I was doing for the first couple of years; I think I spent more time twiddling my fingers, wondering if my purpose of being a councillor was doing anything effective.
Then the pandemic happened, and everything changed. We were forced onto zoom, spending time at home and I decided at that point to go live every day to help others that were isolated.
Over that 12 months, I realised the importance of helping others reduce their suffering. I didn’t have the answers for them, but I knew in some part the answers for me and my suffering was similar to what they were looking for.
Now, I am sitting here as Steven Webb, the Mayor of Truro is a huge honour in my opinion. It shows me two things that are vitally important. Firstly, you can do anything from any position if you have enough determination and believe in yourself.
Secondly, helping others along your journey may not end up the way you planned.
I thought I was going to become a meditation teacher, do online courses, and write books. That may be the future; but for now and in the economic and social recovery of Truro, having learnt to reduce suffering for myself, I want to roll that out as much as possible to all the groups and individuals in Truro.
Leave No Groups Behind – is going to be my motto for the year.
It is our job as elected officials in whatever capacity to make sure this economic and social recovery includes everybody. For the first time in history, we have the ability and the consciousness to really include everybody, while at the same time dealing with the climate and our waste.
- Twitter: Steven’s Twitter
- Website: This will be live in the coming days.
- Press page: Stevens press page – press releases, photos, and anything press-related.
- Photos by PR4Photos
Thank you for the congratulations, the real important thing is what I do with it.
Thank you, Steven Webb – Mayor of Truro 2021/2022