Lincoln’s 814th Mayor wants to include mental health as one of her top priorities.
Councillor Jackie Kirk will be handed the mantle of the City of Lincoln Mayor from Councillor Sue Burke during a meeting at Lincoln Cathedral’s Chapterhouse on Tuesday.
Councillor Burke has held the role for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic – the first to do so since the First World War. Councillor Kirk held the role of deputy mayor during that time.
Councillor Kirk has been a City of Lincoln Councillor for Glebe Ward since 2012.
“It is massive really in comparison to everything else that I’ve done across my lifetime and it’s an immense honour and privilege to be there to represent the city in the best way I possibly can,” said Councillor Kirk.
She is fully committed to her new role, having given up her job as a cleaner in order to carry it out.
The next-in-line councillor has not chosen a specific charity yet, but says her focus will be around mental health supporting organisations such as Shine and EDAN.
She said one of the main reasons for this was the coronavirus pandemic.
“Something that needs to be highlighted is the impact that COVID has had on every house, not just within the city in the county, and across the UK, but across the globe.
“It’s been horrific for a lot of people and it’s not just the health implications, it’s the emotional implications of losing people very dear to them, very close relatives and friends and distant family members.”
She said the disease caused constant worry whether it was about the virus, its mutations, lockdown or the vaccination.
She added the country had been “lucky” that vaccinations had been developed “at breakneck speed” but said there was “always that element on the horizon” things might get dark again.
Councillor Kirk believes the role of Mayor is as important today than ever – despite critics taking aim at the cost of the role.
She hopes it will help her other focuses on regeneration, growth and economy.
“Most people nowadays look at it within the budgetary concept, but don’t necessarily think about the historic significance the position holds across the rest of the United Kingdom,” she said.
The Lincoln Mayoralty is the third oldest in the country and Councillor Kirk wants to use that, elaborate on it and bring it to the fore of people’s minds.
“When the mayor of Lincoln steps out of the city or the county, it has a whole different meaning, it is highly respected far wider than the city itself.
“I want to try to use music to increase the Lincoln’s visibility within the rest of the UK.”
When she takes her place as chairman of the council, Councillor Kirk will be supported by Deputy Roseanne Kirk, who she said she had “always been good friends with,” and Sheriff Steve Dixon, who will be the first serving member of the armed forces in the position, and who she said she was looking forward to working with.
The Mayor’s Consort will be Michael Williams, while the Sheriff’s Consort is Lyndsay Dixon.