Hello from the Lord Mayor

By on 27/07/2009 in Blog, News

lm-blogThe Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Michael Wilkes, joins the www.birminghamnewsroom.com team and reflects on a whirlwind start to his term of office.

Just over two months into my year as Lord Mayor of Birmingham and I'm just about managing to catch my breath after a whirlwind start.

Since taking office on May 19 the Lady Mayoress and I have had around 200 civic engagements - that's an average of over three a day and we've met some terrific characters.

I could go on…

This post may be exhausting at times but you could never label it boring.

LM-speechLast week I had the great privilege of welcoming troops from the 26th Regiment, Royal Artillery to Birmingham. The Regiment has given courageous service in both Afghanistan and Iraq and I was very proud to grant them the Freedom of the City.

The public response as the troops marched through the city spoke volumes for the high regard they're held in and, at a time when the news is filled with stories of fatalities in Afghanistan, it was a pleasure to welcome these brave individuals back safe and sound.

It would be impossible to list all the engagements or to name all the people we've met over the last two months, but a few stick in my mind.

We have recently visited several junior and infants schools and were highly impressed with the standards, behaviour and volunteering that we found. For example St Cuthbert's School raises thousands of pounds each year for charity.

We also met with the judges for the Britain in Bloom Competition. Once again our horticulturalists have done us proud. Birmingham City Council played a starring role at the Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year and it's wonderful to see that expertise put to vibrantly colourful use back here in Birmingham.

We have had the pleasure of receiving several groups of visitors from our twin city of Guangzhou (formerly Canton). Our guests were on courses here as part of our developing links with their city.

We also made a visit to Joseph Chamberlain College to view an art exhibition and meet with the Principal. We were mightily impressed with the quality of the art and textile design (much better than in the Tate Modern in our view) and with the inspiring and inclusive college.

Over the coming months I hope to chronicle my term of office and share some of the highlights of life as the first citizen of Birmingham.

But that's it for now.

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