First openly gay Civic Mayor of Sandwell appointed

The Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Sandwell with their consorts.

Councillor Richard Jones, who represents Old Warley ward, was appointed as the new Mayor of Sandwell following a ceremony in the council chamber last week alongside his consort - his partner Councillor Richard McVittie.

Councillor Jackie Taylor, of Greets Green and Lyng ward is the new Deputy Mayor of Sandwell. Her consort is husband Mr Marvin Taylor. The new mayoral team will be raising money for St John Ambulance, LGBT+ in Sandwell Community Group, and New Beginnings Baby Bundles.

St John Ambulance, provides a range of services include delivering first aid, from Community First Responders to emergency response support.

LGBT+ in Sandwell Community Group has recently formed to help support LGBT+ people in Sandwell by organising activities helping to relieve isolation.

New Beginnings Baby Bundles provide essential baby items to vulnerable new mothers in Sandwell helping to provide a good start in life to those most at need. Councillor Jones said:

“What a momentous occasion today is for Sandwell having just elected its first openly gay Mayor. I am extremely proud and honoured to become the Mayor of Sandwell along with my consort, my partner, Councillor Richard McVittie. It is especially poignant that this is happening 50 years after the first Pride protest.

“It’s also exciting that in my Mayoral year, I’ll be supported by the first Black African Caribbean woman in the role of Deputy Mayor so I would like to thank those councillors and minority community group members who have come before me - spearheading inclusivity, equality and diversity.

“I appreciate the support of each and every one of you but especially my supportive friends and family. I am really looking forward to the next year. Over the next few months we have some great opportunities to celebrate the people of Sandwell.

"At 42 years old I am also the youngest Mayor of Sandwell. I am out and proud and want to send a positive message of inclusivity, acceptance, equality and diversity. When I was younger I struggled with my sexuality and I am hoping that by being visible in the community I can help those who are struggling to find their true self."

The Mayor is the first citizen of Sandwell. While the role is non-political, the Mayor presides over meetings of the council. The Mayoralty attends events across Sandwell and also represents the borough at functions outside Sandwell involving local residents and organisations.


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