New Mayor for Southend
A new Mayor of Southend was elected at the town's traditional Mayor-Making ceremony on Thursday 12th May.
Hundreds of council officials, residents, family members and friends attended Southend’s Civic Centre to witness the official inauguration of Councillor David Norman.
Cllr Norman, who was appointed Deputy Mayor in 2010, takes over as first citizen of the Borough from Ann Holland.
The retired trade union officer, who was first elected to the council at the age of 21 in May 1965, represents the Victoria Ward. He will be assisted in his Mayoral duties by his wife Jane.
A former leader of the Council’s Labour Group, Cllr Norman is the 92nd person to be inaugurated as Mayor of Southend.
Among his many roles he has previously served on the Development Control Committee, the Traffic and Parking Working Party and the Housing Working Party.
He is a governor of Milton Hall Primary School and Westcliff High School for Boys andPresident-Elect of the Old Westcliffians Association.
Cllr Norman is also Chair of Governors at Ruskin College, Oxford, and a member of the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
In his acceptance speech Cllr Norman said: “I can truly think of no greater honour than to be elected Mayor of the town in which I was born.
“It is a town that as a child protected my health in its clinics, educated me in its schools, provided me with parks and playgrounds to play in, and later, when I was married and the father of a young family, presented me the keys of a fine modern house on the Mendip Estate.
“In the past few years there have been times when I have watched my grandchildren playing in Priory Park just as my grandparents once watched me, or with them enjoyed exploring the byways and alleys of Old Leigh, seeing Southend through their young eyes, and have thought to myself what a wonderful town this still is to grow up in.
“And then, I have gone home and picked up the local papers to be confronted, day in day out, by letters apparently from Grumpy Old Men, all to the effect that ‘Southend is going to the dogs and that the entire Council are a bunch of idiots… and I have to say it saddens me, as I think it saddens many of us.
“But I pledge to you now that during my period as Mayor I would like to play some small part in rebuilding civic pride and respect for the Council in our town, and with your help I intend to do so.”
Cllr Norman has appointed the Reverend Keith Page, Minister of Leigh Wesley Church as his Mayoral Chaplain.
His three Mayoral charities will be The Southend Fund, Combat Stress – the UK’s leading military charity for veterans with wounded minds – and SAFE (Supporting Asperger Families in Essex).
Councillor Sally Carr has been appointed as Deputy Mayor for 2011/12, with her son Philip acting as her escort.
Among the guests at the ceremony were former Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson MP - a long time friend of the new Mayor - former Southend East MP Sir Teddy Taylor, Southend United Chairman Ron Martin and the Principal of Ruskin College, Oxford, Professor Audrey Mullender.
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