INTERVIEW: Life behind the chains for Peak’s youngest mayor

Matt relaxing and enjoying some time off at the 2015 Rugby World Cup
Matt relaxing and enjoying some time off at the 2015 Rugby World Cup

Matt Stone is the youngest councillor to wear the mayoral chains in the High Peak aged just 25.

He is only weeks into his ceremonial role as the first citizen of the borough and wants to make this year about getting people into politics.

Councillor Matt Stone is the youngest person in high peak to be elected as a mayor

Councillor Matt Stone is the youngest person in high peak to be elected as a mayor

He said: “It is great to be the youngest person ever to hold this title but I don’t want to hold it for very long.

“I want young people to look at me and go ‘if he can do it so can I’.

“Politics is not just for certain generations it is for everyone and if my lasting legacy is that I have encouraged other people to speak up and have a voice, I think that is one to be very proud of.”

The lifelong Buxton man can trace his family line in the town back to before The Crescent was built in the late 1700s.

He went to Buxton infant and junior schools and the Buxton Community School and used to organise the summer sports club for the community school pupils.

Matt, who lives on Sherwood Road, is a part of the management team at Sainsbury’s on the Market Place in Buxton.

He was elected as a borough councillor in 2015 but his political journey started in 2010 when a hustings came to the community school.

Matt said: “It started as just campaigning for candidates and going door-to door but as my confidence grew and the support behind me grew I decided to stand and when I won the seat I was so proud - especially when so many first time voters voted because they felt a younger person like me could represent their views.”

Matt was previously deputy mayor for the 2016/2017 year and being a councillor is a family tradition as he is following in his mum Lynn’s footsteps.

She was also a councillor and deputy mayor and the pair have both served on the licensing committee.

Throughout the year Matt will be the public face of the High Peak representing the people during various functions and events and says he is most looking forward to broadening his horizons. He added: “We live in a such a great place and this role will mean I can meet more people in the community and take part in more events which and experience new things.”

Matt wants to push boundaries

The new mayor holds down a full-time job and says his bosses have been very supportive of him as he takes on this new role.

Matt said: “I enjoy being on the council and making a difference and I think over the past two years I have earned the respect of other councillors by not just accepting this is how things are done but questioning why and pushing boundaries.”

When he is not at work or on public duty Matt likes to relax watching the rugby - he used to play for Buxton and Derbyshire but ligament damage at 18 means he can no longer take part.

He is never one to shy away from a challenge and Matt has had his legs waxed, done a sky-dive and cycled 50-miles around London for various charities.

He said: “As mayor I want to raise the profile of big and small charities and highlight the good work the volunteers do.”

This year he will be raising money for the Thomas Theyer Foundation.