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A Night with the Mayor before Christmas

An insight into the world of Frome's friendly Mayor

We had the great pleasure of meeting up with the Mayor of Frome, Sara Butler-Bartholomew for a quick pre-Christmas drink at The Three Swans during her hectic schedule.

Becky Percival (Fabulous Frome), Sara (the Mayor of Frome) & Jim (Manager of The Three Swans)

Between juggling her mayoral duties of switching on the Christmas lights, playing with her band Back of the Bus, then slipping down to support the Frome Frost Fair, Sara’s energy and enthusiasm for everything ‘Frome’ was evident in everything she said.

The Back of the Bus band (with Sara at the end)

How did you end up in Frome?

We asked Sara how she arrived in Frome and it seemed that her love of history and her husband James (a direct descendant of famous Scottish cartographer John Bartholomew) drew her in and never let her go. It seemed to have been all mapped out!

“My husband is a photographer and we spend a lot of our evenings around town taking photographs of Frome at night”. Both are also members of the Frome Historical Society. “Frome has a wonderful history and some fabulous buildings…” We interrupted Sara at this point to present her with our 2023 Fabulous Frome Pubs Calendar featuring the 12 oldest pubs in Frome. “What a lovely way to show some of our most important and historical buildings, the pubs!!”

Becky Percival (Fabulous Frome) with Sara (Mayor of Frome)

What has been your hardest challenge as mayor?

Getting serious we asked what her hardest challenge as mayor has been, “Definitely trying to please everyone! Not everyone understands the limitations of the role of the council and makes assumptions that we are spending money frivolously on things like planters. We are still very much at the mercy of Mendip District Council.”

And what's been the best bit?

“The lantern parade, the music and drumming and the magical festive spirit was so joyous to witness and be part of. And it’s at times like this when the privilege of being the Mayor really feels at its strongest.”

The front of The Cheese & Grain during the Frome Frost Fair

If you can achieve one thing during the rest of your tenure what would you like it to be?

“I would like people to remember how important our neighbours, our communities and our local businesses are and how they lead to the healthy and happy vibrance of a thriving town. Frome has everything on its doorstep, except shoes ironically! We see every day that small shops and businesses across the country are suffering, and we are lucky in Frome to still have so many independent, innovative, and interesting enterprises. Now is the time to really show your support and use local shops and businesses where you can.”

Rollerskating at The Cheese & Grain during the Frome Frost Fair

What do you love most about living in Frome?

“I love Frome’s radical and progressive spirit, it’s creative and enterprising people and the fact that whatever you’re into you can find a way to do it here.”

And the final word...

“Above all, let’s remember what’s most important – our families, our friends, our networks, in addition to love, kindness and support. Whatever the world can throw at us, I have confidence that we can look out for each other into 2023 and beyond.”

About Sara

Sara is passionate about the local environment and wildlife and works as a wildlife friendly gardener around Frome, which means she has really enjoyed being involved in local projects to help clean up and improve our green spaces, and ensuring that we are maintaining and providing habitats for wildlife to thrive. She is also passionate about challenging inequality and poverty, and thinks that localism and local policy making are vital tools in helping to create fairer communities. Sara finds the town a hugely exciting and engaging place to live, full of brilliant creative and imaginative people. She loves the local art and music scenes, and is also in a band.

If you are interested in buying a Fabulous Frome pubs wall calendar they are now on sale for only £10! Featuring striking images of the 12 oldest pubs in Frome, each month includes an interesting little bit of history about each pub.


If you are a business and would like to have a Spotlight feature written about you and published on Fabulous Frome, please contact Becky on +44 7793 561696 or email her at

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