MEET Sunderland’s new power couple
Councillor Bob Heron has taken took over the chains of office from Coun Iain Kay, beginning his 12-month term as Mayor, while his wife Juliana has been appointed Mayoress.
The new Mayor is following in the footsteps of his wife, who held the office a decade ago, during 2003/04.
His appointment marks the first time a husband and wife have each been Mayor of the city.
The couple’s son Ziggy, daughters Juliana and Emma, and eight-year-old grandsons Jake and Ciaran were at the Civic Centre to watch the ceremony.
Coun Heron, who last year served as deputy mayor, said: “I’m going into uncharted territory for myself, but it’s another fantastic challenge.
“It’s the first time a husband and wife have been mayor and her experience will be helpful. She knows all the protocols and that, but I’m sure I’ll pick it up.”
Juliana was less anxious when she spoke to the Echo before the ceremony.
“I’m not really nervous, but maybe that’s just the lull before the storm.
“I think Bob’s finding it strange and everyone keeps saying I will be showing him what to do.”
Paying tribute to Coun Kay, the new mayor said his predecessor had enjoyed a tremendous year.
“Iain has done an excellent job. He’s had the jubillee and the Olympics, he’s had a really nice year with a lot going on but a trying one as well, with all the rain and flooding and other challenges like that.
He added: “I will have the honour of representing our city as mayor when we welcome the 4th Field Royal Artillery regiment for their Freedom Parade through our city centre, and at the Sunderland Festival, which will help us all to celebrate our 21st anniversary of city status.
“My time as Mayor of Sunderland will also allow me the chance to meet even more of the voluntary and community groups, who do such fantastic work across our city and give them my support.
“I’ve chosen the Alzheimer’s Society, Samaritans Sunderland and Fibromoralgia research as my mayoral charities, and hope people will help me raise as much money as I can for them during my term of office.”
Coun Kay said: “I’ve enjoyed meeting Royalty and the Olympics, but the thing I have enjoyed the most is seeing how many people are out there not looking for glory, just doing great work day in and day out.
“I’m sure Bob and Juliana will have a fantastic time.”