Lewes Town Councillors elected a new Mayor and Deputy Mayor at the council’s annual meeting on 18 May 2023, the first meeting of the new council since the local elections on 4 May
Town Councillor Matthew Bird (Green Party) was elected by the council as the Mayor, and Councillor Imogen Makepeace (Green Party) as Deputy Mayor. The council also expressed its thanks and appreciation to outgoing Mayor Shirley-Anne Sains.
Following the meeting, the new Mayor hosted a Civic Reception in the Assembly Room at the Town Hall, attended by councillors, staff, dignitaries, and representatives and leaders of local groups and projects.
As he addressed the packed and diverse crowd, Mayor Bird wore the ‘Coat of Hopes’ to underline the Town Council’s commitment to tackling the climate change and biodiversity emergencies. The Coat of Hopes was worn on a walk from Newhaven to Glasgow during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in 2021 and is the creation of local artist Barbara Keal.
During his speech, the new Mayor also drew attention to other issues including the cost of living crisis and the rise of graffiti, litter and empty shops in the town. He pledged to strengthen partnerships with local groups and organisations to help address the issues currently faced, and recognised the brilliant community responses in Lewes to the climate emergency and cost of living crisis.
Speaking after the event, Councillor Bird said: “I’m really humbled to be Mayor of Lewes and will do all I can to ensure that, as a modern and transparent Town Council, we serve the diverse communities that make up Lewes.
We have some massive issues such as climate change, graffiti, empty shops and the high cost of living to face locally and I know that I and other Town Councillors will do all we can to address them.”