This week I was honoured to be elected as new Lord Mayor of Norwich. Over the course of the next 12months I look forward to meeting and supporting the many community and charity groups in Norwich who work tirelessly to support the most needy in our city.
Please find my acceptance speech below…
“Ladies and gentlemen honoured guests please be seated. I’d like to begin by thanking Cllrs Raby and Maxwell for proposing and seconding me to become Lord Mayor of Norwich which is a tremendous honour as I share a great affinity and love of this very fine city and it is about my connections with this place that I would like to say a few words.
“While I wasn’t born here, it is a city that has welcomed me since I was a child, and is one that I am incredibly proud to consider as my hometown. It is undoubtedly worthy of George Borrow’s epithet – “a fine city”, with its bussling market, its magificent cathedrals, its imposing castle, its many churches and pubs.
“But Norwich is more than its architecture, however, impressive that might be. What makes Norwich, indeed makes any place, are its citizens. In the case of Norwich, their passion, energy, enthusiasm and warmth is palpable. One only needs to visit one of the many pubs in the city to feel that warmth or sit in the terraces of Carrow Road watching Norwich City lose (… again) to experience the passion and the witness the strength of pride people here have in their city – something which I share. So strong is that sense of community that I class Norwich as a big village, albeit it with all the cultural and social offerings of a city but one in which no one is a stranger. I am not surprised therefore that Stephen Fry once remarked “Norwich is a fine city. None finer.”
“That is not to say that Norwich doesn’t have its issues. It is a city with still too great a divide between rich and poor. It is a city that is not immune to the ongoing scandal of homelessness, deprivation, premature mortality and poverty. But in Norwich we are blessed that we have organisations and indivdials who are working hard what they can to mitigate the effects of the social and environmental ills that blight us all directly or indirectly. It is for that reason that over the course of the next 12months I am most looking forward to meeting those many hundreds of indivduals associated with charities and community groups who are doing what they can to improve the lives of others. That’s not to say that I am not looking forward to opening the Norwich City of Ale festival later this week or joining other Norfolk dignatories on our tour of the county on Norfolk Day this summer, but what I am most excited about is meeting those who too offen get too little recognition for the work they do to ensure that this city retains the epithet “a fine city”. These are the unsung heroes in this city who today and indeed every day deserve the biggest thanks of all and I look forward to being able to express all our gratitude to them this year.”