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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Jacqui takes the chains as new city mayor

CARLISLE’S new mayor was installed this week with all the pomp and ceremony to be expected of a post that dates back to 1231.

jGeddesmw
Time-honoured tradition: Former Mayor Elizabeth Mallinson, right, hands over her chain to last year’s deputy Mayor, Carlisle City Councillor Jacquelyne Geddes, after she is sworn in as the Mayor of Carlisle

Conservative Jacqui Geddes, 55, was chosen by fellow councillors on Monday. She is only the city’s 13th female mayor although 410 men have held the post.

She was elected by 29 votes to 21, beating off the challenge of Labour’s Mary Styth.

Independent William Graham was elected deputy mayor – by custom, the deputy becomes mayor the year after. And Conservative Mike Mitchelson was re-elected as council leader.

Mrs Geddes told the annual meeting at the Civic Centre: “I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to carry on this tradition.

“Times have changed since the first mayor took office but the aspirations and needs of citizens are greater today than they have ever been.”

She added: “I promise to carry out my duties to the very best of my ability and to promote the city at every opportunity.”

The role of mayor is largely ceremonial. Mrs Geddes will, however, chair council meetings and exercise a casting vote if necessary. She had to take the mayoral oath sworn by every mayor of the city since 1558. This requires her to “truly serve the Queen’s Majesty, her heirs and successors”.

She must maintain and defend the city “to the uttermost of her powers” but receive none of its “money, rents, farms nor other duties”. She must administer justice “as well to the poor as rich” and “cause to be seen nightly the watchmen of the walls”.

Councillors paid tribute to the outgoing mayor, Liz Mallinson, who attended more than 450 official functions and raised £28,000 for charity.

Mrs Mallinson said: “I can honestly say that every single day brought something different and rewarding.

“As mayor you meet people from all walks of life and every one has a story to tell. Carlisle has some wonderful people doing tremendous work. I will carry the memories for the rest of my life.”

Labour councillor Heather Bradley was presented with an illuminated address to mark her 20 years as councillor.

Mr Mitchelson’s re-election as leader was no surprise after the May 1 council elections, which strengthened the Conservatives’ grip on power.

Mrs Geddes, 55, is the mother of two sons, Jonathan and Richard, and has served on the council since 1993 representing Stanwix Urban.

She was born in Longtown where her father Jack Kirkup worked for the Ministry of Defence and her mother Sally at Carr’s in Carlisle.

She was educated at Lochinvar School, Longtown; Caldew School, Dalston; Carlisle Technical College and Carlisle College of Art and Design.

Armed with a diploma in graphic design, she moved to London but returned to Carlisle after marrying her husband William in 1972. She retrained in personnel with Metal Box and Carrington Viyella.

The couple have lived in Stanwix for 37 years, where latterly they have run a small guest house.

Mrs Geddes is a former chairwoman of governors at Stanwix Primary School. She has travelled widely in Africa, the Far East and the Eastern Europe and is council ‘fairtrade champion’. She was a founder member of Carlisle Chernobyl Children in Danger.

She has served on the council’s ruling executive since 2001 and chaired the audit committee. She has also represented the council on outside bodies.

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