A NEW mayor will look to bring “a ray of sunshine” into the lives of Wrexham’s citizens in the coming year.
Cllr T. Alan Edwards was appointed to the role in a ceremony at the Wrexham Guildhall last night, replacing outgoing mayor Cllr I. David Bithell. Cllr Edwards’ wife Glenys will replace Virginia Bithell.
In his inaugural speech to councillors and members of the public, Cllr Edwards said: “The next year will be a difficult and challenging year for the council and the people of Wrexham but I hope mine and Glenys’ visits can bring a small ray of sunshine.”
The new mayor takes on the job as public discussion rages over whether or not the role should continue in a climate of ongoing public service cuts.
Members of the public have already taken to Facebook to debate the viability of the role, including the question of whether or not the role should be a paid one.
The appointment follows calls from the council’s Independent group to cut the £138,000 mayoral budget for 2014-15 by £50,000 in response to the number of cuts hitting public services in the county such as libraries, grass cutting, leisure services and bus routes.
Addressing the continuing debate over the role of the mayor, Cllr Edwards said: “Everyone is entitled to their opinion and there is no doubt in my mind that critics of the mayorality mean well.
“But from my visits as deputy mayor, I have seen that it still brings great pleasure to a lot of people to meet and spend time with their mayor and have them at their events.”
Independent Cllr Edwards, of Gatewen Road, New Broughton, the area he represents, also announced four charities which will be supported during his time as mayor. These are Nightingale House Hospice, the League of Friends at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, the Lauren Brown Fund and the Alzheimer’s Society.
Retiring mayor Cllr Bithell attended 535 engagements on behalf of the county during his time in the role, accompanied by wife and mayoress Virginia.
Cllr Bithell said he had had a wonderful time in the past 12 months and thanked the retiring mayoress for her support during the year.
Bryn Cefn Labour councillor Barbara Roxburgh, of Moss Valley, Wrexham, replaces Cllr Edwards as deputy mayor for 2014-15.
Cllr Roxburgh congratulated Cllr Edwards on his taking the role and added: “I look forward to carrying out a number of events with you this year.”