Morris dancing mayor Michael Missett has spent nearly three decades in his beloved Ripley. And in that time he’s thrown himself into all the town has to offer.
Michael, 69, has worked hard as a resident, local councillor and now as the mayor, to help shape a positive future for the town.
But the move to take the chains of office was somewhat a spur of the moment decision.
He said: “Nearly a year ago, on Monday night whilst leaving Ripley Junior School, I was approached to become mayor. This was at 8.30pm and the mayor making was at 7pm the following day.
“The reason for this lateness was because the deputy mayor had lost his seat in the latest elections. I was lucky, I had been re-elected by four votes.
“So there and then I decided to just go for it, and before I knew it I was being sworn in.
“It has been a really enjoyable year with more job satisfaction than I could have imagined. I’m proud to be a part of the town.
“The role of mayor is a great position to be in. I am able to go out and meet new people at events like fetes and the annual fair – where I also get a go on the rides!
“It’s also incredibly rewarded being able to meet people who work tirelessly for the good of their local community. Being able to present these people with donations or support is priceless.
“I chair various Ripley Town Council meetings and attend other civic services. I have also spent the year funrdraising for my chosen charity – Ripley Hospital League of Friends, which again is extremely rewarding, knowing our efforts will go towards helping others.”
But married grandad-of-two Michael doesn’t just act as a figurehead, he is also one of many councillors fighting for a brighter future for Ripley.
“Ripley as a town has a lot going for it, including an industrial heritage, known and respected worldwide. Although now just a shell the Butterley Engineering works has potential as an industrial museum.
“And next year is the 200th anniversary of the Pentrich Revolution, which I am sure will bring many more people to the town. All in all, there is a possibility of a developing tourist industry in the town, which the council is doing its best to support.”
Michael has had an active role in the community for many years, having become a Ripley Town councillor 15 years ago.
“I saw an advertisement for local councillors and put my name forward. I was selected and subsequently elected as a Labour councillor. I have been on the council on and off for nearly two decades, and it is still something I am tremendously passionate about.”
But it’s not all hard work for Michael, he still finds the time to wind down.
“My main hobby is morris dancing and I have been an active member of Ripley Morris Men for years. This has allowed me to visit various places in Europe and to make many friends.
“As well as morris dancing, my wife Pamela and myself are active members of Ripley and District Twinning Association, which has just had its 20th anniversary, the twin town is Chateau Renault, just north of the Loire Valley in France. It is great to experience new cultures, it opens your eyes to the world around us.”
As the local elections creep up, Michael could be spending his last month as mayor, unless he is re-elected. But he has no regrets about the year.
He added: “I have enjoyed my year as mayor. It has been a mixture of council work and representing the town. I can recommend doing public service, it brings much satisfaction and a feeling of a job well done.”