Southampton's 800th mayor sworn in at lavish ceremony at the Guildhall

·3-min read
Cllr Jacqui Rayment
Cllr Jacqui Rayment

SOUTHAMPTON'S 800th mayor has been sworn in at a lavish ceremony at the Guildhall.

This year's mayor-making event, attended by hundreds, saw Labour councillor for Bevois, Jacqui Rayment take over the role from Conservative councillor for Peartree, Alex Houghton.

During the ceremony on Wednesday morning, Cllr Valerie Laurent was also elected as the 585th sheriff.

Read more: Live updates as council to host first meeting since elections

Thanking friends and family at the event, Cllr Rayment paid tribute to the outgoing mayor and reflected on her time representing both Bargate and Bevois.

The new mayor said: “I am Southampton born and bred and I am so very honoured to be the 800th Mayor of Southampton.

“I am so proud to be representing the city that I call home. This year will see a series of special 800th Mayor events in support of the Mayor’s chosen charities.”

The first known use of the term “mayor” in Southampton was a letter dating to around 1217.

Cllr Rayment has chosen Street Pastors, Southampton Hospitals Charity and City Reach as her charities for the year.

The new mayor and sheriff will now hold their posts for the next 12 months.

Speaking at the “mayor making” ceremony, the outgoing mayor, Cllr Houghton said: “I became mayor as a fresh-faced 28-year-old all those months ago and a lot has changed in that time.

“My election as mayor was during the very uncertain time of Covid-19. This significantly changed the role of the mayor and understandably my first event was on Zoom.

“Covid placed a significant shadow over our city and effected everyone in different ways.

“I think it is again right to recognise the contribution of so many people in our community who went above and beyond there normal work to support their friends, neighbours and the people of Southampton.”

Cllr Houghton went on to thank those who work at the mayor office, Cllr Rayment for her time as Sherriff and those around him who helped him during his mayoral year.

He finished by giving flowers to his unofficial consort, his mother.

This year Southampton also welcomed the first Children’s Mayor, Amaanah Hayat, a Year 5 pupil from St Deny’s Primary school.

Children from primary schools across the city were encouraged to apply for the role by submitting a project idea that would help and improve the lives of children in their school.

Amaanah was chosen as the winner from 45 applications by council officers, Southampton’s Youth Council and the Mayor and will now attend high profile events with the Mayor, be an ambassador for primary school aged children and work on bringing her project to life.

She said: “I am really excited and very happy that I have been chosen to be the Children’s Mayor and made history for Southampton.

“I really want to clean up the streets and make Southampton a nice green space and make children's frowns turn upside down.”

The Children’s Mayor will be an annual competition and Amaanah will be involved in choosing the winner next year.

Music was played at the ceremony including songs chosen by the new mayor, as well as the national anthem, God Save the Queen.

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