NHS ambulance worker Tracey Austin set to become next mayor of Wakefield
A popular ambulance worker is set to become the next mayor of Wakefield.
Labour councillor Tracey Austin, who combines her political duties with her job as an associate ambulance practitioner for the NHS, will be formally appointed to the position at Wakefield Council's annual meeting on Thursday.
The mayoral role in Wakefield is only a ceremonial one and holds no powers, unlike the West Yorkshire metro mayor, which is elected and has oversight of regional transport and adult education.
However, the Wakefield mayor is at the forefront of civic events, such as Remembrance Sunday commemorations. They also raise money for local charities and chair full council meetings.
Coun Austin, who represents the Wakefield North ward, has been deputy mayor for the last two years.
She replaces Charlie Keith, whose term in office was extended last year because of the Covid pandemic.
Coun Austin's son Dwain Longley, who is a paramedic, will serve alongside her as her official consort.
Meanwhile, Pontefract South councillor David Jones will become the new deputy mayor, with his wife Annette serving as deputy mayoress.
They will then be promoted to mayor and mayoress next year.
Coun Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “I am sure Tracey will be a great advocate during her mayoral year, supported by Dwain, David and Annette. It feels so appropriate that our district is set to have a Mayor who is an NHS essential worker, who with her colleagues has and will continue to do so much to support our district as we recover from the global pandemic.”
The mayor-making ceremony will take place in Wakefield Cathedral next Thursday, in a departure from tradition.
The council chamber is normally the venue for the council's annual meeting, but it's been deemed unsuitable for social distancing.
Local Democracy Reporting Service