25th Jun, 2022

Large part of traditional Mayoral ceremony 'lost' at council's annual AGM this year

COVENTRY City Council’s Annual General Meeting next week will not include the full traditional Mayoral ceremony.

This year’s AGM at Coventry Cathedral on Thursday May 20 will be face-to-face but limited to essential business only. Attendance will be restricted to councillors and key officers, as Covid safety rules are followed.

The meeting usually includes a traditional procession and ceremony whereby the outgoing Lord Mayor hands over the chains of office to their successor.

Instead it is hoped that the ceremony to officially welcome new Lord Mayor Coun John McNicholas and his deputy Lord Mayor, Coun Kevin Maton, can be postponed until September.

This will provide an opportunity to pay tribute to the work of Coun Ann Lucas, Lord Mayor of the City for 2020/21, as well as the previous year’s Lord Mayor Coun Linda Bigham, as 2020’s ceremony was also hit by the Covid outbreak. Due to the pandemic, a shortened event was held virtually last year.

The law requires that any local authority which ran an election must hold an AGM within 21 days of the May 6 polling day.

As well as appointing the new Lord Mayor to be Chair of the Council and preside over full council meetings, it sees the appointment of the Leader of the Council, sets the calendar of meetings for the year, and appoints representatives of the city to various organisations.

Coventry City Council Leader, Coun George Duggins, said: “The AGM is a very important part of the Council’s year and allows us to carry on with the essential business of running services for the people of the city in a fair and democratic way and keep Coventry moving forward.

“Unfortunately, this year, as last year, we have to adapt to ensure we are following Covid-19 safety guidelines and so a large part of our traditional AGM will be lost.

“However, we plan to hold a full ceremony at the Cathedral in September, guidelines permitting, that will give us the chance to formally welcome our new Lord Mayor, and thank our previous two Lord Mayors who have served the city so well in such difficult times.

“This is a very important time for Coventry as we take on our role as UK City of Culture and emerge from the lockdowns and restrictions of the past 14 months and I and all my colleagues at the council are keen to continue the fantastic work that has already taken place to build an even better city.

“We must not permit that work to be delayed, but when restrictions allow we will take time to follow tradition, look back at what has been achieved and thank those who have done so much.”

Coun John McNicholas, Lord Mayor-elect of Coventry, said: “All councillors are looking forward to helping our city recover from the hardships of the past year and to celebrate its role as UK City of Culture.

“I’d like to thank Coun Lucas for her work as Lord Mayor over the last year during an exceptionally difficult time, and congratulations to Coun Kevin Maton, who is about to become the new Deputy Lord Mayor – I know he will serve our city well.”

The meeting will be held at 11am and will be broadcast live via the council’s website.

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