Coronavirus means Norwich Lord Mayor and Sheriff stay in post longer

Flashback to last year's mayor-making ceremony. Lord Mayor of Norwich, Vaughan Thomas, with his wife

Flashback to last year's mayor-making ceremony. Lord Mayor of Norwich, Vaughan Thomas, with his wife, Lady Mayoress, Vivien Thomas, and the Sheriff of Norwich, Dr Marian Prinsley, with her husband, Peter Prinsley, on the City Hall steps. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

Norwich will still have a Lord Mayor and Sheriff for the months ahead, after the pair currently in the roles agreed to continue in the posts.

The historic posts are usually filled at Norwich City Council’s annual mayor-making ceremony, where a city councillor is given the Lord Mayor title and a member of the community is named sheriff.

But, because of coronavirus and the social distancing measures which are in place, the new Lord Mayor and Sheriff that meeting - due to take place this month - cannot take place.

That means the next planned incumbents of the civic posts - Labour councillor Kevin Maguire and Caroline Jarrold, of Jarrold and Sons, cannot be formally sworn in.

But a solution has been found to ensure there is continuous civic leadership for the city.

The current Lord Mayor, Mile Cross Labour city councillor Vaughan Thomas and the Sheriff, Dr Marian Prinsley, an educational psychologist and past president of the Norwich Hebrew Congregation, will stay in their roles until the autumn.

Lord Mayor Mr Thomas said: “I am very happy to continue serving as Lord Mayor for another six months, albeit due to immensely challenging circumstances.

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“These are extraordinary times, and ensuring the safety of our staff, councillors and residents is of paramount importance. We believe that this course of action is the most sensible at this time.”

The next Lord Mayor and Sheriff will take up their posts in the autumn and, once in post, will serve a longer term of 18 months up until May 2022.

The usual civic calendar will revert back to the established yearly cycle following this.

The changes have been made with the support of all three represented parties at City Hall.

Norwich has been able to appoint a mayor and sheriff since Henry IV conferred that right in 1403, with the Lord Mayor title added in 1909.

The civic roles see the post-holders represent the people of Norwich as ‘first citizens’, attending hundreds of events each year, ranging from formal openings to 100th birthday celebrations.

The Lord Mayor’s Procession, which had been due to take place in July, had already been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.