Weston's new mayor and deputy formally elected at council ceremony

Councillor Sonia Russe Weston-super-Mare Town Mayor 2022/2023

Cllr Sonia Russe Weston-super-Mare Town Mayor for 2022/2023. - Credit: Heidin Burton ABIPP

Weston-super-mare officially has a new mayor.

Cllr Sonia Russe formally assumed the office at a ceremonial Weston Town Council meeting last Thursday (May 19).

By a unanimous vote on the council, Cllr Russe was duly elected, as was Cllr Peter McAleer who replaced Cllr Roger Bailey as deputy mayor.

They will both hold the roles until May 2023.

The Mayor Making saw departing mayor Cllr James Clayton - one of Weston's youngest ever mayors - chauffeured to the Town Hall, dressed in the mayoral robe and chains of office, to chair an annual meeting of the council for the final time as Weston's first citizen.

Councillor Sonia Russe Weston-super-Mare Town Mayor 2022/2023 with her Consort David Ray

Cllr Sonia Russe pictured with her Consort David Ray. - Credit: Heidin Burton ABIPP

The macebearer carried the ceremonial mace into the chamber to kick-start proceedings, followed by the mayor's chaplain, Revd Peter Ashman, who began by saying prayers for the people and businesses of Weston.

Guests and dignitaries, including the High Sheriff of Somerset, deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset and chairman of North Somerset Council, then listened to a speech by Cllr Clayton on his successful premiership.

Councillor Sonia Russe Weston-super-Mare Town Mayor 2022/2023 with Councillor James Clayton

Mayor Cllr Sonia Russe with outgoing mayor Cllr James Clayton. - Credit: Heidin Burton ABIPP

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He thanked the people of Weston and town councillors for putting faith in him as leader.

He said: "Working full time as a street warden and having a young family during my year has been a whirlwind - when you're mayor the work is phenomenal and very trying too.

"When I was elected, I had a big task ahead of me so I worked towards meeting the five pillars of the council; creating a positive image of the town, cleaner and greener policies, working with our youth, a brighter future and heritage and arts.

"Everything I did as mayor was helping to achieve these goals by going out and showing the people of Weston what we can do as a council.

"One of my many highlights was on Christmas Day. Me, the mayoress and our family spent the day at Somewhere to Go for dinner with the homeless and vulnerable - it was so moving to give a proper Christmas to those people."

Departing mayor and mayoress Cllr James Clayton and Kaylee Rose.

Departing mayor and mayoress Cllr James Clayton and Kaylee Rose. - Credit: Heidin Burton ABIPP

Cllr Clayton also announced he has raised more than £6,000 for his chosen charity, Redeeming Our Communities (ROC), which helps people struggling with financial and food deprivation among others.

He concluded by thanking his children for their support throughout the year and the outgoing mayoress Kaylee Rose for being his 'guiding rock'.

Cllr Russe and Cllr McAleer then both signed a declaration of acceptance.

Councillor McAleer Weston-super-Mare Deputy Mayor 2022/2023

Cllr Peter McAleer signs the declaration of acceptance for deputy mayor. - Credit: Heidin Burton ABIPP

Councillor Sonia Russe Weston-super-Mare Town Mayor 2022/2023

Mayor Cllr Russe signs the declaration of acceptance. - Credit: Heidin Burton ABIPP

In her inaugural speech, Cllr Russe thanked the council for entrusting her with the role and welcomed the new year ahead.

She said: "I am very happy and flattered for the support I have received in the chamber today.

"I feel very privileged to be able to serve as Weston's first citizen and I promise to uphold the tradition of mayorship.

"Also, I will fulfil my duties impartially and to the best of my abilities, always acting to the benefit of our town.

"I look very forward to my year as mayor and chairman of the council."

The evening was then completed with a formal dinner at Weston College with food made by catering students.

Councillor Sonia Russe Weston-super-Mare Town Mayor 2022/2023 with her Cadet

Mayor Cllr Russe appoints her cadet. - Credit: Heidin Burton ABIPP

Councillor Sonia Russe Weston-super-Mare Town Mayor 2022/2023 leaves the council chamber as Mayor

Cllr Sonia Russe, led by the macebearer, leaves the council chamber as mayor of Weston. - Credit: Heidin Burton ABIPP

Councillor Sonia Russe Weston-super-Mare Town Mayor 2022/2023

Mayor Cllr Russe speaks at a private dinner event at Weston College. - Credit: Heidin Burton ABIPP

Cllr Peter McAleer, Weston's deputy mayor.

Cllr Peter McAleer, Weston's deputy mayor. - Credit: Heidin Burton ABIPP

Cllr Sonia Russe, Weston's mayor.

Cllr Sonia Russe, Weston's mayor. - Credit: Heidin Burton ABIPP