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A Christmas message from the Lord Mayor of Exeter

Published: 19 December 2023

A Christmas message from the Lord Mayor of Exeter Cllr. Kevin Mitchell, Lord Mayor of Exeter

As a proud Exonian it was a great privilege to be appointed as the 22nd Lord Mayor of Exeter on May the 16th this year. When appointed I stated I was determined to be slightly different to my previous colleagues by continuing to work full time during my term of office as a nurse. I also stated I wished to also ensure my year was as inclusive and diverse as possible, whilst also maintaining and treasuring the historic nature of the role.

As the third oldest mayoralty in the Country we have a great history and therefore it has been a great honour to ensure our Civic links have continued and been enhanced. For instance, I have been honoured to attend our historic Cathedral on many occasions, indeed, the Dean and I have joked about the Cathedral being my second home. It is such a special building and everyone is always so welcoming, whatever your background or belief. The Cathedral is also a wonderful venue for our cultural life and it has been special to attend so many concerts. Exeter has such amazing talent and it has been extraordinary to listen to the Exeter Philharmonic Choir and Exeter Festival Chorus within the Cathedral.

Our cultural life also extends beyond the Cathedral within the Barnfield and Northcote Theatres and it has been great for my consort Ian and I to have the opportunity to see the excellent productions of The Little Shop of Horrors and Nativity from the Exeter based Exeter Little Theatre Company and the production of The Sorcerer from the St Davids Players - evenings full of joy and laughter. Our sporting life is also important to us and therefore it has been wonderful to have had the opportunity to spend time at both Sandy Park, with members of the Chiefs Men’s and women’s teams and at St James Park to support our fan owned football club.

Our links with our military is also of great importance and it was such a special day in June when we not only had our annual Armed Forces Day but also the freedom of the City parade for the 6 Rifles, the sight of the Rifles being ‘swift and bold’ as they marched down the High Street was an amazing spectacle. Every day our armed forces are there to protect our Country and it has been a real privilege to meet so many of these amazing individuals during my term so far. Indeed, I was honoured to also attend the Rifles Bi-annual Awards Dinner in London, in the presence of our Queen, Camilla and I can tell you the individuals awarded are very special people.

Exeter also has two world class educational establishments in Exeter University and Exeter College. They both add youth and vitality to our City, as well as putting Exeter on the map with regards research and attainment. I have attended several events with them both, including their respective graduation ceremonies and I look forward to continuing to help to ensure they are both embedded within our communities and our civic life.

Exeter is a growing and more diverse City than when I was growing up and both Ian and I have been determined to reach out to the many different communities within the City whom are contributing so much to our society. It has therefore been a great privilege to have attended the Multicultural Sports Fest, Navratri, Diwali and the Hong Kong Mid Summer festival celebrations. Welcoming individuals into our City and celebrating diversity is what makes Exeter the great place it is and we are also both very much looking forward to the return of Exeter Pride next May.

During my year I was also determined to celebrate the outstanding work carried out on a daily basis by our public sector. I have visited various departments with the City Council to thank them for their work, been out on patrol with the local policing team, visited our fire service and of course was proud to help celebrate the 75th anniversary of our amazing NHS. All of these individuals work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to keep us safe and well and many will be working over the festive period so I say a huge thank you for all that everyone does in very challenging circumstances.

My Charity for this year is the FORCE Cancer Charity and it has been wonderful to see so many of you at my regular monthly coffee mornings, at the Nello cycle ride and the Santa cycle and cruise. FORCE do outstanding work supporting individuals and the loved ones of those whom have been diagnosed with a cancer. They provide everything from a peaceful quiet space at the FORCE centre to services such as complementary therapy, financial advice, counselling and support to the oncology inpatient and outpatient departments at the RD&E. Every penny contributed goes to this amazing cause so your support is really appreciated. Therefore if you are in the Christmas spirit do help by downloading a special Christmas cover of Let It Snow by Cameron Mills and Sam Hiller, all funds raised will be going to FORCE - more details can be found at:

Finally may I take this opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful festive period plus a safe and healthy New Year. Each and every one of you makes Exeter the great place it is and I look forward to seeing many of you over the months to come. Merry Christmas!

Cllr. Kevin Mitchell
Lord Mayor of Exeter
City Councillor for Duryard and St James Ward
Exeter City Council

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