PORTSMOUTH’S newly-appointed Lord Mayor is aiming to make the city a healthier place this year, starting with himself.
At today’s mayor-making ceremony Councillor Lee Mason revealed his Small Changes, Big Difference campaign that will encourage people to lose weight, exercise more and volunteer in the community.
In a bid to encourage as many people as possible to get involved Cllr Mason himself will be taking up the challenge starting with a change in diet and an exercise routine with a cross trainer already installed in the mayor’s office.
He will also be taking part in a 5k run later this year.
Cllr Mason said: ‘I am a prime example of the effect of poor diet and lack of exercise. I can’t go on as a warning for people, I need to become an inspiration to them. If I can do this then anyone can.
‘This campaign is all about being able to do more and improving quality of life.’
The project’s ethos is to collectively lose one million pounds in weight, to travel one million miles and donate one million hours after figures revealed Portsmouth residents to be more overweight and unfit than the national average.
People who get involved will be known as ‘Portsmouth millionaires’ and the council plans to reward the most successful participants with gifts such as gym memberships. More information on this will be available when the scheme is officially launched in June.
Cllr Mason is already involved with volunteer work as a driver for groups such as the university hockey club. He said: ‘Anyone who helps or is helped by this scheme is an example of improvement and will make it a success in my eyes.
‘This should be a very exciting year for the council. I am delighted to have been given the honour of standing as Lord Mayor for Portsmouth,’ he added.
Cllr Mason was appointed alongside his mother Sylvia Mason as Lord Mayoress. They will take over from former Lord Mayor Cllr Ken Ellcome and Lord Mayoress Jo Ellcome who served the city council since May 2017.
Cllr Ellcome thanked the council for their support. He said: ‘This has been a year we will never forget. We have attended 800 events, including seven in one day. And we raised as much money as was possible for our charities.
‘I am looking forward to making my voice heard on the council once again.’
In a surprise decision former Lord Mayor David Fuller was selected as the new Deputy Lord Mayor, with his sister Leza Tremorin as Deputy Lord Mayoress. Cllr Jennie Brent was lined up for the role but had to step down at the last minute due to family commitments. Cllr Fuller, a Lib Dem, was Lord Mayor in 2016/2017.