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Special ceremony for mayor in Priory Park for centenary

VISITORS were treated to an extra special mayor making ceremony in the city on Wednesday evening.

 

Every May, Chichester City Council holds an annual meeting and elects the next mayor. Tradition has seen this celebration held at the council chamber in the Assembly Rooms in North Street since 1805.

 

However, this year the ceremony was held at the Guildhall where Chichester City Council held regular meetings between 1541 and 1731 until the new Council House was built in North Street.

 

The mayor making ceremony held on Wednesday recreated an ancient tradition in the Guildhall as part of the centennial celebrations for Priory Park.

 

Retiring mayor, Cllr Peter Evans, raised £4,403 for both his chosen charities, St Wilfrid’s Hospice and PACSO, who were presented with cheques.

 

Cllr Tony Dignum proposed to elect Cllr Martyn Bell as Mayor and was seconded by Cllr Clare Apel.

 

Cllr Dignum said in his speech: “Mr Mayor, I am delighted to propose that Cllr Martyn Bell be our next mayor.

 

“I have known him all the 18 years I have lived in the city and count him as a good friend.

 

“But it is not because of friendship alone that I propose him. Martyn has contributed a great deal to the city over the years in many ways.

 

“He is a great supporter of the arts and chairs the Oxmarket Gallery. He is an active student of history and has made many lectures locally on such subjects as the French Resistance.

 

“He has been chairman of the Friends of Chartres and an organiser of annual commemorations of the Holocaust. He is a supporter of education and has been a governor of Chichester College.

 

“He has given public service as a city councillor since 2011 and as a district councillor from 2011 to 2015.

 

“Finally, as mayor, he would be fully supported as mayoress by his delightful wife, Toum.

 

“For all these reasons, I therefore propose that Cllr Martyn Bell be and is hereby elected mayor of the city until the date of the next annual meeting and that the allowance to be paid to him be at the rate of £4000 per annum (exclusive of additional allowances already approved).”

 

Cllr Trevor Tupper was appointed deputy mayor of the city and invested with a badge, chain and deputy mayor’s walking stick and Cllr Jane Kilby was elected as bailiff of the city.

 

Newly-elected mayor, Cllr Martyn Bell has chosen his charities as Stonepillow and the Oxmarket Centre of Arts.

 

In his speech, Cllr Martyn Bell said: “This year, we will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

 

“This coming September, 100 years ago, his Grace the seventh, Duke of Rochmond, gifted Priory Park and this Guildhall to the city of Chichester as a memorial for its citizens who had given their lives in that terrible war.

 

“It is a great privilege to serve as mayor in a year that sees some very special 100s. The 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War and the gift of Priory Park. On a personal note, my late mother, Barabara, would have been 100 this year too.”

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