Fashionable life of Warwick’s new mayor

Town councillor Mandy Littlejohn was officially being sworn in as the new Mayor of Warwick last night (Thurs) in the old crown court buildings – the original Shire Hall.

The one time van driver who went on to become the advertising manager for Harvey Nichols, has lived in Warwick for the past 15 years after taking the decision to leave London and then literally sticking a pin in a map.

She opened a second-hand curtain shop and then went on to expand into her own interior design shop in The Holloway, off Market Place.

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Mandy took on the role of town councillor six years ago after a next-door neighbour and friend, Cllr Gordon Coleman, who shared her passion for Warwick, unexpectedly died and she agreed to be temporarily co-opted.

But as outgoing mayor Cllr Moira-Ann Grainger observed, the voluntary town council work suited Mandy’s talent for getting things “done to a tee”, and she was soon re-elected in her own right.

In recent years the town’s new first citizen has taken an special interest in the Heart of England in Bloom competitions, personally persuading – or where necessary nagging – more and more of her fellow traders to get involved.

The result has been that Warwick has won a silver gilt and then two RHS gold medals over the past three years.

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Of her former life in London, Mandy downplays her success and simply says: “I was in the right place at the right time. Back in 1973 I left my home in Cheshire and was lucky enough to get a temporary secretarial job with a top creative London agency.

“I was pretty hopeless at typing but loved the creativity of the agency and so when the secretary came back from leave I took on the only job with the company available, as a van driver.

“Again, I was lucky. Commercial television was in its early days and I went to work in the press production side delivering ‘blocks’ as they were then, to the newspapers in Fleet Street - I was the only girl at the time managing the flow of work as the others had gone into television.

“I changed agencies a few times and latterly worked for HHCL on the Tango brand. Before that I worked for Harvey Nichols, producing its magazine in conjunction with Harper and Queens magazine, where I travelled the world”

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It turns out that during the 1970s the new Mayor of Warwick also had a spell as a DJ at top London nightclub Annabels. But that’s a different story.

These days the 61-year-old mother of James and Georgia is more than happy to run around checking flowerbeds and organising town-twinning events, accompanied by her beloved dog, Charlie.

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