Kirklees Council’s new mayor is Batley born and bred but she’s a fan of the whole of Kirklees

Cllr Gwen Lowe took up the office of Mayor at an official ceremony on the 23 May 2018, taking over from Cllr Christine Iredale.

At the ceremony she selected entertainment from the two schools she previously attended, Staincliffe Junior School and Batley Girls’ Grammar School.

Gwen’s speech highlighted both her love of both Batley and her long held dream of becoming Mayor – something she wanted even as a little girl. She said:

“Today, that little girl stands before you with great pride and feels overwhelmed with the honour that she is now the Mayor of Kirklees. I can now extoll the whole of Kirklees. Our range of old and new industries, our university, our commitment to sports and arts, our football and rugby league teams, Our beautiful scenery – the Pennines, the canals and rivers, the historic buildings, which all help make Kirklees a pleasant place to live and visit.”

The new Mayor also broke from tradition by appointing a team of faith leaders to support her in her mayoral year.

“I have decided that my Lead Chaplain will be our good friend Revd Mark Umpleby who is associate priest for the Church of England in Batley.  But then I thought hang on a minute!…..Kirklees is very much full of wonderful communities of different faiths and beliefs and that is fantastic and we remember that ‘we have far more in common than that which divides us’ as my late friend and colleague Jo Cox said in her maiden speech in parliament. So I decided that I would like to have a team of chaplains from different faiths available to support me in my role this year.”

She selected Sheik Irfan Soni, an Imam in Batley and is looking to work with other elected members to create an expanded interfaith chaplaincy group and faith covenant in the future.

The Mayor talked about why she had chosen her charities:

She said about her first charity The Community Palliative Care Team of Kirkwood Hospice:

“On Radio 4 a lady dying from liver cancer talked about not wanting to be rushed into A&E and die in a beige room. Friends and family have decorated her bedroom her favourite colour of blue, she wants family and friends to be with her.  I want to reach out to all Communities to think about the needs of people at the end of their lives and what we can do to help.”

On choosing the RSPCA she said:

“Pets give you unconditional love. And when you’re away from home the house still has a heartbeat. I can’t understand why anyone would want to harm an animal.”

She ended her speech by saying how much she and her husband Ken are looking forward to working with Cllr Mumtaz Hussain and his wife Noreen, the Deputy Mayor & Deputy Mayoress Designate for the forthcoming Municipal Year.

See what the Mayor gets up to this year

Find out what they Mayor is up to by following her story on Twitter @KirkleesMayor

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