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'She is our community.' King's Lynn councillor takes up Mayor role



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West Norfolk's new Mayor said she hopes to follow the example of her predecessor as she took up the historic office.

Lesley Bambridge was promoted to the top civic role at a ceremony in Lynn's Town Hall last night, having served as deputy to Harry Humphrey for the past year.

And she paid tribute to him and his wife Brenda in her first speech after donning the mayoral robes.

The new mayor and deputy mayor of King's Lynn and West Norfolk, Cllr Lesley Bambridge and Cllr Margaret Wilkinson. (56644611)
The new mayor and deputy mayor of King's Lynn and West Norfolk, Cllr Lesley Bambridge and Cllr Margaret Wilkinson. (56644611)

She said: "They're both amazing and I will try very hard to keep up their standards."

Miss Bambridge, who represents the St Margaret's with St Nicholas ward, said she felt "very honoured" to take up the role, paying an emotional tribute to her parents as "the reason I am the person I am."

She will be supported by her brother, Dennis, and the former Mayor, Colin Manning, as her consorts.

Outgoing mayor of King's Lynn and West Norfolk, Harry Humphrey speaking at the mayor making ceremony. (56644598)
Outgoing mayor of King's Lynn and West Norfolk, Harry Humphrey speaking at the mayor making ceremony. (56644598)

The Purfleet Trust and Bridge for Heroes will be the Mayor's Charities for the year ahead, while Father Adrian Ling will continue to serve as the Mayor's Chaplain.

Proposing Miss Bambridge's appointment, council leader Stuart Dark said it was "perhaps more important than ever" to have the right person as Mayor.

He said: "I genuinely think you will find it very difficult to find anyone with more pride in West Norfolk flowing through her veins than her."

"She's been an effective King's Lynn ward councillor and town resident for over 15 years and someone to whom I, and I know others, go to for sage, balanced advice and local knowledge."

Outgoing mayor of King's Lynn and West Norfolk, Harry Humphrey speaking at the mayor making ceremony. (56644595)
Outgoing mayor of King's Lynn and West Norfolk, Harry Humphrey speaking at the mayor making ceremony. (56644595)

He also referenced her many other community and charity roles, including school governor, Night Shelter volunteer and children's contact centre trustee, adding: "She is our community."

Fairstead representative Margaret Wilkinson will serve as Deputy Mayor for the third time in her 40th year as a borough councillor.

Her proposer, Ben Jones, said she and Miss Bambridge would be a powerful team for the whole borough.

Stuart Dark watching the ceremony. (56644594)
Stuart Dark watching the ceremony. (56644594)

He said: "They will be a strong voice for all the people of West Norfolk, reaching parts others cannot reach."

And Mr Dark said the appointment of a female Mayor and deputy, plus a female chief executive and monitoring officer, could send a powerful signal.

He said: "I know there is much work to be done about equality, still, but I think that is a really positive message."

In his own speech, Mr Humphrey quipped that he wondered who was being talked about during tributes paid to his year in office by Mr Dark and opposition leader Terry Parish.

The annual Mayor Making ceremony takes place at the Town Hall in King's Lynn. (56644600)
The annual Mayor Making ceremony takes place at the Town Hall in King's Lynn. (56644600)

He said: "Brenda and I have been very proud to represent King's Lynn and West Norfolk over the past year.

"We've pushed the history and heritage on every occasion and tried to give people an idea of just how special King's Lynn and West Norfolk are."



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