PORTSMOUTH’S new Lord Mayor has promised to drag the city’s image forward by 20 years.
Councillor Cheryl Buggy was elected at a ceremony filled with pomp and circumstance at Portsmouth’s Guildhall yesterday.
Afterwards the Lib Dem Councillor admitted it felt surreal to be in her new role.
She said: ‘It’s all a bit strange so far. It’s very new but it’s lovely to be in the role and I’m really looking forward to the next year.’
Cllr Buggy said a major focus of her year as Lord Mayor would be the Positively Portsmouth Passport to Success scheme under which 200 of the city’s 13-year-olds will spend their school year learning more about the city’s success stories.
They will visit sites of interest and learn about activities in the city from business mentors, while The News will chart their progress.
The former teacher, who represents Eastney and Craneswater, said: ‘There is so much potential in this city’s young people and our future depends on them.
‘It is very important for young people to get good qualifications but it’s equally important that they should realise that the city is full of success stories and they can be successful too.’
She also promised to take a positive view of Portsmouth outside the city’s boundaries.
She said: ‘I think the view of the city lacks 10 to 20 years behind what’s actually going on and I will make it part of my role to bring people up to date and let them know about the positive and exciting things happening here.’
There were fears that allegations made against Cllr Buggy last month could overshadow her appointment.
The council’s Conservative group had alleged that Cllr Buggy had broken rules by failing to declare her role as a consultant when overseeing a council investigation.
But the council standards committee decided not to progress the complaint and Cllr Buggy was unanimously elected to the role.
She said: ‘The last few weeks have not been much fun but when people are under pressure it can sometimes bring out the worst in them.
‘My job now is to be a positive ambassador for Portsmouth and I can’t do that unless I’m positive myself.’
Tory Cllr Frank Jonas was elected to the role of Deputy Mayor.
The ceremony also saw Cllr Buggy handed the keys of the city by Captain Crosby-Jones of the Defence Diving School and the Portsmouth sword by Royal Naval Base Executive Officer Commander Tim Ash.
The Sing Out Pompey choir, 30 pupils from city primary schools, sang three songs in celebration of the city.
And in her first role as Lord Mayor Cllr Buggy presented five civic awards to Thelma Turner-Hill, Michael Mellows, Cyril Trickett, Anna Potten and Ian Parmiter.
Leader of the council Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘Cheryl will be the third woman in succession to be Lord Mayor of the city and I think she will do an excellent job.
‘She has media experience which will help her deliver a positive message about the city to people she meets.’