SCARBOROUGH's mayor, Cllr Janet Jefferson, has always been passionate about the town. Her role as mayor has made her a familiar face at many local events, but her commitment to Scarborough has been a long-standing affair.
"TO be mayor of Scarborough is a dream
come true," smiles Janet Jefferson.
"I'm a community person really and joined
the council with a desire to help people. It's a
great honour to be mayor – but it did take some
Janet was born in York but one of her
earliest memories was of a trip to
Scarborough. She said: "I remember my dad
pushing me in a pram along the Foreshore. I
can also remember running into the sea with
all my clothes on, I was so keen to get into the
sea. Scarborough has been my life longer than
York has in a way."
Janet used to come to the town on family
holidays with her parents and brothers John,
David and Robin, who sadly died in 1993. She
even decided to spend her honeymoon in
Scarborough after marrying Geoff, a precision
engineer, in 1966.
She said: "It was the World Cup year so we
had to make sure our wedding didn't clash
with it, so we booked it for afterwards. We
stayed on the North Cliff and spent time at
Galaland and Peasholm Park – I remember a
mechanical elephant that used to go up and
down the footpath near the open-air theatre.
There were endless places to go and there
Janet and Geoff moved to Scarborough
permanently in 1978, which coincided with
the birth of their son Nigel, who is now 29.
He has a first class honours degree in
Computer Science and recently gained a PhD
in Philosophy at Newcastle University.
Janet said: "I'm immensely proud. At the age
of 13 Nigel unfortunately got ME and was ill
for six years. He is in good health now, but it
was a long, hard battle as there was a lot of
ignorance about the illness. But it shows no
matter what happens you can still fulfil your
From 1978 until 1983 Janet and Geoff ran the
VG food store in Seamer Road, which was
where the bridal shop is now. They then moved
to their present home in Eastborough and
created The Train Shop, selling model railways,
which is now in its 24th year.
Previously Janet had worked in administration
for 16 years in the construction industry
and also worked as an assistant valuer for an
She said: "In those days you had to learn to
do everything – typing, wages and so on – so it
has stood me in good stead for business and the
Janet's community involvement began in
1994 when she created the Eastborough
Traders Association and became a member of
the Castle Ward Tenants and Residents
Association. By working together with the
council, businesses and residents they helped
to restore and uplift the area. At the time,
Castle Ward was one of the 10 most deprived
areas in the country.
Janet said: "The area had become a ghetto.
There were problems with multi-occupancy
houses and it was beginning to destroy the
community. We knew how things had been
before and wanted to get it back.
"A quality of life in turn brings a pride in
the area – you have got to give somebody a
reason for getting up in the morning, something
to look forward to.
"There's no such thing as can't. If you work
together as a community you can achieve anything."
Janet became an Independent Castle Ward
councillor in 1999 and is currently president of
the Scarborough Chamber of Trade and
Commerce, chairman of the Scarborough Anti-
Theft group, chairman of the Castle Ward community
police group, a member of the Sports
Council and Community Safety Board and is a
governor at Friarage Community School.
Janet is also, along with her husband, a
committee member of the Scarborough In
With such a busy schedule, Janet does not
have a lot of free time, but she does not seem to
mind at all.
She said: "I've always worked since I was
married and have always been busy. I was the
first secretary of the parents' association when
my son was at Lisvane School.
"But it's a wonderful duty meeting so many
people, of all ages. Every event is special –
whether it's meeting a 100-year-old, visiting
schools, galas or fetes. I find that judging fancy
dress is one of the hardest things!
"My husband of 41 years, Geoff, is a wonderful
consort. He supports me and really enjoys
Janet describes Prince Charles' visit to
Scarborough last week as " a great honour"
and is no stranger to the Royals. She has been
a lifelong fan of the family and thinks her
interest may have been sparked by the fact she
was born on August 4 1946 and shared her
birthday with the Queen Mother.
She said: "When I was little they used to play
God Save the Queen on BBC radio news at
seven or eight o'clock on the Queen Mother's
birthday. My dad used to turn it up and shout
'Happy Birthday Janet Helen'. My mum and
dad were very patriotic and I think that stood
me in good stead through life."
Janet was brought up near the Imphal
Barracks in York and used to watch the
parades pass by. She also witnessed the wedding
of the Duke and Duchess of Kent in York
She travelled to London to lay flowers and
pay her respects following the deaths of
Princess Diana and the Queen Mother. She has
seen almost all members of the royal family on
various occasions and has been to a garden
party at Buckingham Palace.
Janet said: "Four or five years ago I was
invited to the garden party, along with
Rosemary Forrest, for the work we had done
with Ernie Robinson, a veteran fundraiser in
Scarborough. It was a wonderful event and
great to be able to accompany Ernie as I had
known him for a lot of years."
In her rare moments of free time Janet
enjoys cooking, baking and watching
Janet's mayoral theme for the year is
"Community Pride", an issue which is clearly
close to her heart. She said: "To achieve the
position of mayor for me can't be bettered. My
ambition now is to carry on doing what I'm
doing with the support of people around me."
Star sign: Leo
Favourite holiday destination: Scarborough
has always been my favourite, along with the
Moors, Whitby and Filey.
Favourite bit of Scarborough: The harbour and
Favourite food: Fish and chicken
Two people you would most like to invite to
dinner: Prince William and Kate Middleton
Favourite TV show: Heartbeat, Coronation
Street and The Darling Buds of May
Favourite film: The Railway Children