New civic leaders for Norwich

Brenda Arthur. Photo: Steve Adams

Brenda Arthur. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

Norwich has a new Lord Mayor, Sheriff and City Hall leader after they were formally elected today.

The new Lord Mayor is Brenda Arthur, who stepped down from her role as Labour leader of Norwich City Council and took up the civic role.

The new sheriff is Beryl Blower, while Alan Waters steps into Ms Arthur's shoes as leader of the city council.

The civic charity for the year is Sistema Norwich, which works to help children and young people through music.

Marcus Patteson, director of Colegate-based Sistema, said: 'We are thrilled and honoured to be chosen as the civic charity.

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'At a time when the prospects for young people are more challenging than ever, the more that can be done to help children and young people to succeed across all areas of their lives the better, not only for those children but for Norwich as a whole.'

The three were elected at the annual meeting at City Hall today.

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Mrs Arthur has been leader of the Labour-controlled city council since May 2011.

She said: 'I feel very privileged to have been granted this honour.

'Norwich has been my home for more than 40 years; a place I am fiercely proud of.

'I'm thrilled I will have so many occasions to meet even more of its people and look forward to representing the city at a range if events.

Ms Arthur has lived and worked in Norwich since 1969. She trained as a scientist, working at the Food Research Institute.

But, after her two sons were born, she became a community and youth worker for Norwich City Council. She then took on a role at City Hall promoting activities for the retired.

In 1990, she became chief executive of Age Concern Norwich, a post which she held for 17 years, before her retirement in 2007.

She served as the city's Sheriff in 2005/6, before becoming a city councillor for University ward in 2008.

She originally held the portfolio for housing and adult services, but succeeded Steve Morphew as leader in 2011.

Her husband, Brian Horner, former chief executive of Voluntary Norfolk, will be her consort.

Mrs Blower, the new Sheriff, spent 15 years as a school swimming teacher, worked for Norfolk Adult Education Service as a tutor and is a life member of Norwich in Bloom. She is also a trustee/director of Norfolk Carers Support.

She is also involved with the Koblenz twinning group and is secretary of the City of Norwich Civic Association.

The mother-of-three is no stranger to City Hall. Her husband, Roy, is a former Labour city councillor. He stepped down in 2011, after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

Mrs Blower was Lady Mayoress during her husband's spell as mayor in 2007/8. He will be her consort.

She said: 'I am truly honoured to take up the position if Sheriff and will work hard to highlight the amazing work that is done in our fine city, particularly within the voluntary sector.

'We have a city that offers so much to its residents and visitors alike in terms of culture, history, retail therapy, eating experiences and floral displays and more.'

Thanks were given to outgoing Lord Mayor Judith Lubbock and Sheriff William Armstrong.

During their civic year, more than £27,000 was raised for the charity Cruse Bereavement Care Norwich.

Chair Bridget Cooke said: 'We were delighted to be chosen as Norwich Civic Charity of the Year. It has given us a wonderful opportunity to raise our profile and the number of people volunteering with us has increased as a direct result.'

Norwich is one of only 31 UK cities to appoint a Lord Mayor.

•To support Sistema, send donations to The Norwich Civic Charity Appeal, Civic Office, Norwich City Council, City Hall, Norwich NR2 1NH or visit

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