Mayor to serve another year as coronavirus halts handover

Michael Jeal will carry on for another year as mayor of Great Yarmouth after the annual ceremony tha

Michael Jeal will carry on for another year as mayor of Great Yarmouth after the annual ceremony that would see a new mayor selected was cancelled due to coronavirus Picture: GYBC - Credit: Archant

Great Yarmouth’s mayor will remain in office for another year, providing “stability” during the coronavirus pandemic.

The ceremony which would have seen another person take on the robes and chain was cancelled due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

It means Michael Jeal will be staying on as town mayor, handing him an historic third year of service.

A statement said: “With the endorsement of the leaders of the main political groups, Cllr Jeal will continue to serve in the historic non-political role, with Cllr Sue Hacon staying on as deputy until she is officially elected as mayor next May.

“As the first citizen of the borough, Cllr Jeal will continue to represent the people of the borough, as well as chairing full council meetings when they recommence and raising money and awareness for his chosen charities.”

Mr Jeal has recorded several social media video messages to the borough during the pandemic, including one to rally people to celebrate VE Day at home and to join him in the Nation’s Toast.”

The role of mayor is non-political and the appointment alternates, normally annually, between the main political parties.

Mr Jeal said: “Serving as mayor is a real privilege.

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“Seeing the way the whole community has pulled together during these unprecedented times has been truly humbling and I would like to praise all involved.

“Being called upon to represent our wonderful borough into 2021 is an unexpected honour and I will do all I can to do justice to that.”

Carl Smith and Trevor Wainwright, the leaders of the main political groups, said: “The historic role of mayor provides some stability and that’s particularly useful in these challenging times.

“Cllr Jeal has already served two terms as mayor and is an incredibly experienced councillor and civic representative.

“We’re confident he will continue to do a great job leading the civic life of the borough.”

Mr Jeal was first elected to serve in the Nelson ward in 1986.

He has since held a number of key council posts, including the mayor’s consort to Susan Robinson in 2006/7, the mayor in 2010/11 and cabinet member for economic development from 2012 to 2015.