New Lord Mayor for Portsmouth elected under 'strange' circumstances vows to help city with 'recovery'
'IT IS a great honour' - Portsmouth's first BAME Lord Mayor has been elected under the 'strange' setting of a virtual council meeting.
In Portsmouth City Council's first public meeting since the coronavirus lockdown began councillors met via video call today (May 19) where Councillor Rob Wood was officially selected as Lord Mayor for the year.
Cllr Wood and his wife Debbie will be taking the reins from previous Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress Cllr David Fuller and his sister Leza Tremorin, who, in their year in office, have raised just under £30,000 for local charities through a community chest fund.
Speaking to his colleagues during the meeting newly appointed Lord Mayor Cllr Wood said: 'It's a great honour and we hope we do a good job on behalf of you and the people of Portsmouth.
'We know there is much anxiety out there and we want to be at the forefront of the civic response in giving reassurance and helping recovery.
'For charities we will continue the last Lord Mayor's great work of the community chest funds to be able to support local charities focusing very much on those who need assistance to be able to start again as part of the recovery.'
His appointment was proposed by council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson. He said: 'We meet in strange times. This is the first virtual meeting we have ever had.
'All of us know Rob well. Rob was born in Hong Kong and will be our first Lord Mayor from a BAME background.
'He has been a councillor since 2010 for the St Thomas ward and knows the area well.'
Outgoing Lord Mayor, Cllr Fuller, said: 'My dear sister Leza and I have had the most fantastic year again as Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress.
'We feel very privileged to have been Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress for two years now. We hope that we've brought happiness and sunshine to people across the city and thank all those who have supported us.'
Previous Lord Mayor Cllr Frank Jonas was elected as Deputy Lord Mayor during the same meeting.
The Civic Awards, which are usually presented during the mayor making, will instead be announced at a later date and presented in a separate ceremony.