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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Carlisle's new mayor takes office

Civic pomp and pageant were on display as Carlisle City Council chose a new mayor.

Carlisle mayor photo
David Wilson, left,with outgoing mayor Barry Earp

David Wilson, a postman and Labour councillor for Upperby, became the city’s 426th mayor succeeding Conservative Barry Earp.

The annual meeting at the Civic Centre also elected Dr Joe Hendry as the first Labour leader of the authority for 13 years following his party’s success in elections on May 3.

Mr Wilson, 59, has been a councillor since 1995.

He said: “It gives me great pleasure to accept the office. I will do my very best to uphold the traditions of the role of mayor.

“It fills me with so much pride.”

His nominated charities are Alzheimers, which he described as “an awful disease”, and the children’s wing of the Eden Valley Hospice.

He said: “Life is a path we all follow. If you’re lucky, your path will be a long one. But for some youngsters it’s a short life. I hope to raise enough money to make their short time a good time.”

He will also raise funds for community projects.

Proposing Mr Wilson as mayor, Labour’s Paul Atkinson said: “He has very many fine personal qualities.

“He is self-disciplined, honest, has great respect for other people and he treats people with respect. David is very proud of Carlisle and I am sure Carlisle will be very proud of David Wilson.”

Councillors wore formal robes for the occasion.

VIP guests included Cumbria’s High Sheriff Juliet Westoll, Judge Paul Batty QC – the Honorary Recorder of Carlisle – and former mayors such as Hugh Little, Craig Johnston and Mary Styth.

Mr Wilson entered the council chamber preceded by bearers carrying a ceremonial sword and mace.

He swore an historic oath that requires him “to receive none of the town’s monies, rents, fines or other duties” and to “administer justice as well to the poor as the rich”. He must also “cause to be seen nightly watchmen on the walls of this city”.

His sister-in-law, Catherine Wilson, is mayor’s consort.

The mayoralty is shared between the political parties by rotation. Ray Bloxham, a Conservative councillor for Longtown and Rockcliffe, was elected deputy mayor with a view to succeeding Mr Wilson as mayor next year.

Outgoing mayor Barry Earp raised £23,022 for charity during his year in office. Beneficiaries included Hospice at Home, the NSPCC, Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Carlisle Key.

Mr Earp travelled 8,000 miles to fulfil more than 400 mayoral engagements.

One of the highlights came last week when he and his wife Kay were presented to the Queen in London.

Mr Earp was the first mayor of Carlisle to write an online blog.

He held weekly litter-picks, visited 18 schools and 16 care homes, and gave 750 primary-school pupils tours of the civic centre.

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