Agenda item - Mayor's Thanks and Presentations

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Agenda item

Mayor's Thanks and Presentations

The Mayor will give thanks for her year in office and make presentations.


4.1           The Mayor stated that prior to the formal process of appointing the new Mayor, she wished to say a few words about her year in office and to acknowledge the support she had received.


“When I took up this office a year ago, I pledged that I would do my utmost to represent the city of Brighton & Hove well, and I hope that I have done so. I also said at the time that being the Mayor is not a ‘jolly’ and while it has been the most extraordinary and enjoyable year, it is certainly the case that the weight of responsibility rested on my shoulders on formal and auspicious occasions.


Ceremonial highlights included the annual delegation to Dieppe on the invitation of their mayor, to commemorate the Dieppe landings of 1943, which I attended along with the High Sheriff of East Sussex and other Mayors and Chairs from around the county. Being the 80th anniversary of the event, it was particularly poignant and special, and a huge honour for me to attend on behalf of Brighton & Hove.


As we are all too aware, the hardships of the pandemic were long and continue even to this day. Thankfully, the start of my year coincided with a relaxation of Covid rules, and Brighton & Hove was more than ready to party” Very early on, I had seven engagements on one day, when I opened the Brighton Fringe picnic event in Pavilion Gardens to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee, followed by five street parties and a church service at St Nicks. Hitting the ground running like this rather set the trend for the year to come, as things started to happen again, and life got back to normal.


Last year saw the resurgence of many familiar landmark events across the city, and the many parades that had been sorely missed during Covid. I walked the length of the Pride parade on a blisteringly hot day in August, and nearly melted in the robes. But it was joyous, as was the Burning of the Clocks in December and the Children’s Parade just two weeks ago.


All in all, I attended more than 420 engagements over the year, and for each one I was determined that no event would be a tick box exercise. With every engagement I have undertaken I saw it as my role to ensure that my presence made a difference, and if I did not make people’s day at any engagement, I would not have fulfilled my job properly. I have been very much aware that the Mayoralty, as well as being a revered role, is also a truly democratic one.


During my year, I have met so many extraordinary individuals and organisations. I have seen so many examples of dedicated community service among our residents which has been truly humbling.


Throughout the year, I have been very aware and immensely proud that Brighton & Hove is a City of Sanctuary. One of my earliest engagements was to meet refugees and asylum seekers from Ukraine, Syria, and Afghanistan, to name, but three, and I’ve also been honoured to attend ceremonial events and celebrations with the Chinese community, Filipinos and Thai, as well as faith groups, including Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i, Buddhist and Interfaith.


While the role of Mayor is strictly civic and non-political, I couldn’t help it being particularly close to my heart when I took part in and supported green environmental projects, particularly at schools, such as Dorothy Stringer, when they officially opened a new butterfly bank, or officially revealed a plaque for one of 20 new wildflower meadow verges; and the launch of 100 nest boxes for the Save Our Starlings initiative.


I have had the most wonderful year and probably the best year of my life. I had obviously never had an experience such as this before, nor will I ever have it again. I really could not have done all this without the help and support of my wonderful team: Robbie, Minna and Elaine. So it is with immense pleasure that I would like to present them with these gifts as a token of my gratitude and thanks for everything that they have done to make my year, as smooth and enjoyable as it could possibly be.


I chose as my Chaplain Fr Dominic Keech from my local church, St Nicholas of Myra, whis is alth the mother Church of the city. Fr Dominic has been the most wonderful support, and I would like to show my gratitude to you, Fr Dominic for everything you have done for me over the past year.


Cllr Jackie O’Quinn has been a very supportive as Deputy Mayor, standing in for me on occasions when I have just wanted to clone myself. It is always immensely hard to have to turn down any engagement because of being already booked, but Jackie has been there when the need has arisen, including when I had Covid last July. Jackie, I would like to show my appreciation by presenting you with this bouquet of flowers.


And finally, I would like to give thanks to the most special person in my life, who has been my Consort throughout and that is Henry. Henry has not only been at my side for virtually every engagement, but he has also worked tirelessly to make every event special, always cheerful, always ready to talk to everyone, and making sure I’m standing in the right place for photos, and just generally being the heart and soul. Henry, you have helped so much to make my year, and you have truly earned your commemorative badge.


As I end my term of office, the city enters a new era. We have first majority council in 20 years, and residents will be looking for stability and prosperity for our city.


Some wonderful events are coming up which mark the city’s success, and which I hope will make Jackie’s year as memorable as mine. For one thing, Albion will be competing in the European Cup, and we will keep our fingers crossed for them.


Brighton & Hove have nominated by Municipal Journal, one of the most auspicious voices in local government, for a Leadership in Tackling Climate Change Award. And next year, 2024, marks the 10-year anniversary of Brighton & Hove gaining United Nations status as a UN Biosphere, the only Urban Biosphere in the UK, so this is a huge thing for our city. I feel sure there will be many celebrations if we gain renewed accreditation, which really puts Brighton & Hove, on the map. This is something our residents can be justifiably proud of.


It now just remains for me to thank everyone who has made this a truly memorable year. It has been an immense honour and privilege to serve Brighton & Hove as your Mayor, and it is a year I will never forget.”


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