Councillor Ross Irving is the new Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent.
Councillor Irving, who represents Weston Coyney, has been involved in local Government service for more than 40 years and first became a councillor in 1973.
He said: “I’d like to thank councillor Anthony Munday for his year in office; it has been a pleasure to serve alongside him. It is a great honour to be Lord Mayor and I am looking forward to the year ahead.”
Councillor Irving will raise money for three civic charities during his 12 months as the city’s first citizen – The Douglas Macmillan Hospice, a cause which he says has touched the lives of most people in the city; the Royal British Legion, in recognition of the work of the country’s armed forces; and the Fire Fighters Charity to support emergency services staff who put their lives at risk to protect residents. He has served on the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Combined Fire Authority for two spells since 2009.
Councillor Irving will be supported by Lady Mayoress Christine Warren. Councillor Lilian Dodd, who represents Dresden and Florence, was elected as the new deputy Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent.
Outgoing Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor Anthony Munday has capped his year in office by raising £23,000 for good causes and completing a mammoth 500 civic engagements.
The Baddeley Green, Milton and Norton councillor has boosted the profile of the city and championed local democracy during his time wearing the iconic gold civic chain – by starting an initiative which has already seen 2,000 guests have guided tours around the Lord Mayor’s Parlour and council chamber.
Councillor Munday said: “It has been an incredibly humbling experience to be Lord Mayor. I have only been a councillor since 2013 so it has been a huge privilege for me. I committed from the start to give 100 per cent to the role and I am happy that I have done that. I’ll let other people judge if I have done a good job or not.
“When I started the role it amazed me the number of people who weren’t aware of the Lord Mayor’s Parlour, the gold and silver civic artefacts that celebrate the history of the city, and the story of the federation of the six towns.
“I wanted to improve that, and throughout my year have given 2,000 visitors, from school groups, to international guests, to Premier League footballers a tour of our civic offices.”
Councillor Munday has carried out a large number of sporting charity events throughout his year, including a sponsored coast-to-coast bike ride, hickory golf tournament, and a hugely successful sponsored walk last month backed by 230 people including celebrities such as strongman Eddie Hall, actress Rachel Shenton and football legends John Rudge and Lou Macari. The £23,000 that he has raised will be split equally between three civic charities – The North Staffs Heart Committee, the Sir Stanley Matthews Coaching Foundation and the Lou Macari Foundation, as well as a small amount to other local good causes.
He said: “I am a self-confessed sports nut and am a sports journalist by trade. It has been fantastic to have been able to arrange so many sporting events. The greatest honour for me was to organise a vintage car parade and tour throughout the city to mark the 45th anniversary of Stoke City’s League Cup win. It was great to see so many people line the streets and to work with players who were my childhood heroes.
“So many people have given their time and money in supporting my fundraising. I’d like to thank people for their generosity and I’m really delighted that very worthy causes that are close to my heart and that support the people of this city will benefit.”
Highlights from his year also included meeting the Princess Royal, the Countess of Wessex, international dignitaries from China, Erlangen and Lidice, helping to formally submit Stoke-on-Trent’s City of Culture bid and celebrating the conclusion of the city’s year as the UK’s European City of Sport 2016.
The 57-year-old also became a grandfather for the first time during his year in office, to little Archie. The dad-of-one was given ‘brilliant support’ throughout the year by wife Paula, who served as his Lady Mayoress. His year in office formally ended today at the annual council meeting. The chain of office and civic robes were handed to Deputy Lord Mayor Ross Irving following a unanimous vote, who is now Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent for the next 12 months.