AMID pomp and pageantry senior Tory councillor Matthew Evans became mayor of Newport for the next 12 months at a ceremony held in the civic centre tonight.
The former council leader, who has given up his leadership of the Conservative group on Newport council for the role, announced the mayor’s charities for this year as the Teenage Cancer Trust and Newport Sea Cadets.
Tory councillor for Langstone David Atwell and his wife Carole Atwell were appointed as deputy mayor and mayoress.
The ceremony began with a loud knock at the council chamber’s door, before outgoing mayor and Labour councillor Cliff Suller arrived in robes and chains for the smartly dressed gathering, flanked by council chief executive Will Godfrey who had donned a wig and gown.
Labour council leader Bob Bright formally proposed Cllr Evans as mayor, acknowledging the former council leader's work on the city centre redevelopment project during the pre-2012 Tory/Lib Dem coalition.
He and Cllr David Fouweather, who seconded the motion, both joked about Cllr Evans’ enthusiasm for the #WineWednesday phenomenon on the social network Twitter – with Cllr Fouweather saying Cllr Evans would have to put it on hold.
Cllr Suller then exchanged the robes and chains with the newly appointed mayor, whose wife Tina Hatton-Evans was also appointed as mayoress at the meeting, before the senior Tory councillor moved a vote of thanks for the outgoing mayor for a “job well done.”
Cllr Evans told the meeting that the main beneficiary of this year’s fundraising would be the Teenage Cancer Trust.
“Teenage Cancer Trust understands that teenage cancer requires specialist care,” said Cllr Evans, saying he visited the trust's Skypad unit at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff in February this year.
Newport Sea Cadets will also benefit from the mayor’s charity fundraising, with Cllr Evans saying the group provides “an opportunity for young people to go to sea, learn to sail, do adventure training, get extra life skills and qualifications which gives them a great head-start in life.”
The mayor making ceremony was preceded by the Newport council annual general meeting where Labour group chief Cllr Bright was re-appointed as council leader.
Tory councillor for Allt-Yr-Yn David Fouweather also officially became the Tory group leader at the meeting, taking over from Cllr Evans.
Cllr Bright’s reshuffled cabinet – previously reported by the Argus – was confirmed, with Cllr Debbie Wilcox taking over as education cabinet member.