The new Town Mayor of Lewes for 2022 to 2023 is Councillor Shirley-Anne Sains. She was officially installed as Mayor at a ceremony on Thursday May 12 during Lewes Town Council’s annual meeting, known as Mayor-making.
Councillor Sains says “It is with immense pride that I now hold the office of Mayor of Lewes and I shall strive to uphold the traditions of this amazing town and maybe I can give back a small part of what this town has given me.”
This was the first time since 2019 that the full Mayor-making ceremony could take place after Covid-19 restrictions meant the full splendour of the traditional ceremony hadn’t been possible. The meeting, in the Council Chamber in Lewes Town Hall, was attended by mayoral guests, as well as the High Sheriff of East Sussex, former mayors and other representatives of local organisations and was followed by a lively Civic Reception with more local guests in the Assembly Room.
The Town Mayor chairs Council meetings and is the first citizen of Lewes. This means they traditionally represent the Queen on a local capacity. They attend civic ceremonies and act as an ambassador for the town and for the council at wider events.
Councillor Sains was elected to represent the Castle ward in 2019, and has served as both Deputy Mayor and in the role of Mayoress to the outgoing Mayor, Councillor Stephen Catlin, during 2021 to 2022.
During a speech to officially propose Councillor Sains for the role of Mayor, Past Mayor Councillor Dr Graham Mayhew said “what I know really motivates her is a love of Lewes, of our town and our community. And it is that which, in my view, fits her to hold the office.”
In her speech, she spoke about the need for the Town Council to engage with the community to help shape the town, supporting affordable housing, employment and protecting Lewes’ unique heritage. She urged the people of Lewes to come together and celebrate in true Lewesian style for the upcoming Jubilee.
The new Deputy Mayor is Councillor Matthew Bird. During his speech, he said “Lewes Town Council has a really important role to play in the vibrant town that we love. Being close to the grass roots, we are positioned to understand and address the issues that are important to our communities.”
The role of the Deputy Mayor is to deputise for the Mayor both at council meetings and events, attending some events the Mayor is not able to be at.
Past Mayor Councillor Ruth O’Keeffe delivered the vote of thanks for the outgoing Mayor Councillor Stephen Catlin, celebrating his hard work during the exceptional year of his mayoralty and commending the way he had kept the office alive through the latter part of the pandemic as “a truly great mayor of our town”. Councillor Catlin also received a gift from the Mayor.
Councillor Catlin said “Despite the pandemic I have managed to attend and preside over several ceremonies during my mayoral year, but it all falls away when you consider the importance of what we have done for residents. The Seniors Spring Tea that we hosted recently touched my heart, allowing older residents of Lewes to meet, some for the first time since the pandemic.”
During the meeting a certificate of donation was presented to representatives of Councillor Catlin’s good causes, Lewes Music Group and Sussex Search and Rescue. During his mayoral year, £731.85 had been raised for each group. The good causes Councillor Sains has chosen to support during her mayoral year are Lewes Priory Trust and Cancer Research UK.