William Awomoyi is elected Croydon’s first Young Mayor

By - Friday 16th March, 2018

Shea Williams is elected deputy Young Mayor

William Awomoyi (left) and Shea Williams (right).
Photo author’s own

William Awomoyi, 14, from The Cedars School was announced as Croydon’s first Young Mayor last night. The election results were read to a packed crowd at the town hall.

“I get tired when people say, ‘What can we do for the young people?’ No, no, no, no. We have to hear what do they want to do, and let’s support them to do it and do it well. That is the difference”, Mayor Toni Letts said before the announcement of the winner.

The first Young Mayor election drew a big crowd. More than 12,500 votes were cast in the election, and over five schools had an 80% voter turnout. The hashtag #CroydonYoungMayor was also trending locally on Twitter throughout Tuesday.

“When they said my name, as I said, I was flabbergasted. I did not expect that I could attain victory in such a way”, Awomoyi said. Awomoyi said he campaigned every day during the campaign weeks. “After school, on the tram, on public transport, and just making sure I get my face across, and I get my campaign across to the youth.”

Awomoyi’s campaign priority focuses on youth crime and safety

He said that he believes that the community can make a change, and that there should be better relations with the police.

“At the moment, youths don’t really have a great connection with police”, he said. “I had a passion for making Croydon better. It’s a great place at the moment, but I had a passion for making it a better place.”

Shea Williams, 15, from Harris Academy South Norwood, was also elected as the first deputy Young Mayor last night.

“I genuinely believe that I can make a difference for young people”

“My heart genuinely stopped when I heard my name. I was just so shocked because every candidate was just so amazing, and I genuinely didn’t expect to win. I know it must’ve been so close”, she said.

Both Awomoyi and Williams were invited to parliament to speak with Steve Reed MP (Labour, Croydon North) to discuss their ideas. Williams said that the main thing that she will discuss is career opportunities for young people, which is the focus of her campaign.

“Being in year 10, I saw a lot of my classmates struggle with finding work experience [...] I was emailing other people, [calling] other people for them, and I thought [there should be a support service for this]“.

Helen Awomoyi, Awomoyi’s mother, said she was proud of her son when he won.

“He’s worked very hard. He’s out everyday campaigning, going around to the local schools in Croydon and talking about his manifesto”, she said.

Holly Bernstein

Holly Bernstein

Holly Bernstein is a political reporter born and raised in Arizona. Back home she is a broadcast political reporter and presenter on Arizona PBS. She is in London chasing her dreams of covering politics around the world and believes in covering what matters anytime, anywhere.

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