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Former Lord Mayor Yolonda Henson becomes Honorary Alderman

Published: 11 December 2023

Yolonda Henson has become an Honorary Alderman

Former Lord Mayor of Exeter Yolonda Henson has become an Honorary Alderman of the city at a ceremony at Exeter’s historic Guildhall.

Mrs Henson served as a member of the City Council since 1979, and stepped down after 39 years of service earlier this year.

She served as Mayor in 1992-1993, Deputy Mayor in 2000-2001, Deputy Lord Mayor in 2019-2021 and finally Lord Mayor 2022-2023.

She was bestowed the title of Freeman of the City in 2015 and has made history by being the only person in the city’s records to hold all six civic positions, some of which date back to the 1200s.

Mrs Henson has lived in Exeter all her life and was educated at Palace Gate and the Mount St Mary Convent.

Her Grandfather, Harry Grassby, was a founder member of Exeter Football Club in the early 20th Century. She is a retired hotelier, as well as working in the fashion industry.

Married to former fellow Councillor David Henson, who stepped down in 2021, they both are avid football fans - David is a Life President of the Football Association.

They have four sons Julian, Stuart, David and Nicholas and six grandchildren, some of whom attended the ceremony at the Guildhall.

Mrs Henson’s passions include antique dealing, which she has enjoyed over the last 35 years, as well as cooking and travelling.

She said: “It is an honour to be here today with family, friends and distinguished guests and I want to thank the Lord Mayor for bestowing this honour to me. I spent a very long time as a councillor here in Exeter which I very much enjoyed and I would do it all again.”

Lord Mayor Cllr Kevin Mitchell said: “You have a passion for your community and your love for the city has always shone through. So it is a great honour for me to be here today, which is your day, and I very much look forward to seeing you at events during the rest of my term as Lord Mayor.”

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