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"Life has taught me to be humble", says Epsom's new car mechanic mayor Councillor Robert Foote
A humble car mechanic is delighted to be Epsom's new mayor because he loves interacting with people.
Councillor Robert Foote, 60, who has lived in Epsom for 24 years, said he wants to be known as "the people's mayor" in his role as the first citizen of the borough.
A councillor for 11 years, Bristol-born Coun Foote grew up on a council estate "where people used to pop over to each other for a pot of sugar".
Councillor Robert Foote said he has already been "enlightened" by the people he has met in his first few weeks as Mayor of Epsom and Ewell
After leaving school at 16, the dyslexia-sufferer started as a construction apprentice for British Airways Corporation.
He said: "I was very good with my hands but never destined for university as I wasn't a high achiever."
In a successful career spanning aircraft construction, engineering, servicing and maintenance, he worked on Concord and for Rolls Royce - where he serviced civil and military aircraft including the Tornado.
He said: "It was really what I wanted to do. As a baby in my pushchair my mother would take me to airfield nearby where the Harrier was undergoing trials.
"It was stimulating work, very interesting and challenging. I'm a perfectionist with an eye for detail and have an analytical brain for problems."
Coun Foote, who holds a private pilot's licence, said the responsibility involved with his work never left him and he still reads aircraft accident reports to see what human errors have been made.
After leaving the aviation industry, he set up a car repairs business and now conducts MOT testing.
Councillor Foote as deputy mayor at last year's Epsom and Ewell Business Awards with Councillor Mike Teasdale
"In my day job I deal with machines and the chance to meet people is quite limited," he said.
"Being mayor will allow me to interact with people and that's already been really enlightening."
Coun Foote became a councillor as he is a hands-on person who believes "if you want something done, do it yourself".
He said he loves meeting different people in a world where everyone now seems to lead much busier lives.
"I have been very fortunate and had the support of many people. I will still have to earn a living at the end of this year," he said.
"Life has taught me to be humble. I've been humble all along and haven't taken anything for granted."
Coun Foote is dedicated to raising the profile of his three mayoral charities: Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Epsom and Ewell Citizens' Advice Bureau and Epsom and Ewell Foodbank.
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