Wakefield mayor Charlie Keith to salute district's unsung heroes

Wakefield's new mayor has promised to shine a spotlight on the district's unsung heroes during his year in office.

Friday, 24th May 2019, 11:04 am
From left to right: mace bearer Rob Smitten, mayor Charlie Keith, deputy mayor Tracey Austin and the council's chief executive Merran McRae

Coun Charlie Keith, who was appointed to the ceremonial title on Thursday, wants the public to nominate people who deserve recognition for the work they do on a daily basis.

A qualified gas fitter and part-time hospital radio DJ, Coun Keith was re-elected earlier this month to the Wrenthorpe and Outwood West seat he has held for eight years.

He replaces friend Stuart Heptinstall, who raised £17,000 for his chosen charity, the regional burns unit at Pinderfields Hospital, during his 12 months in the role.

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Coun Keith was appointed to the position at a ceremony on Thursday, alongside his new deputy Coun Tracey Austin.

Coun Keith will fundraise for the Macular Degeneration Society and the Wakefield Macular Denegeration Support Group over the next year.

The charities offer help to people with the disease, which affects the eyes and can cause blindness.

After taking the robes at Wakefield's annual full council meeting, Coun Keith told the chamber: "I want to draw some attention to those people who do great things, and never expect to receive any recognition.

"Those who have to cope with threats and abuse while doing their job.

"Those who support this council's vision of 'successful people, successful places and successful business'.

"This will all be part of my 'Mayor says thanks' initiative.

"I promise I will endeavour to be a good ambassador for this council, and for this district."

Coun Keith, whose wife Grace will support him as mayoress for the year, received tributes from his Labour colleagues, including Graham Stokes.

Coun Stokes said: "Charlie has excellent communication skills and a big heart.

"I think he'll bring new ideas and a new way of doing things to the role of mayor.

"Many local organisations and individuals have benefited from his help, not just in his ward but across the Wakefield district as a whole."

Wakefield North councillor Tracey Austin was appointed to the role of deputy mayor for the year.

More details about the 'Mayor says 'thanks'' initiative will be revealed in due course.

Local Democracy Reporting Service