Nominations for Norwich’s next Lord Mayor and Sheriff revealed

A former teacher who played key roles in a unique education centre and forging links with twin cities has been nominated to be the next Sheriff of Norwich.

John Jennings was tonight nominated for the historic role, while Mile Cross city councillor Ralph Gayton was put forward to be Norwich's next Lord Mayor.

Mr Jennings, who lives in Chedgrave, said: 'I am indeed proud and very pleased to be nominated as the next Sheriff of Norwich.

'But primarily I see this honour as a richly deserved tribute to Norwich Teachers' Centre and the thousands of creative and dedicated teachers that made it such a famous success.'

The Norwich Teachers' Centre, based in Ipswich Road, was opened in 1969 as a centre for 'curriculum research and the development of teachers, by teachers, for teachers'.

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Mr Jennings, who followed service in the Armed Forces with teaching at primary and secondary schools in Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire, became co-ordinator of the centre in 1974.

The centre, which had links with the University of East Anglia and Keswick Hall. was recognised nationally and internationally as a model of its kind.

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It closed a few years after Mr Jennings retired in 1991. The following year he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of East Anglia in recognition of his work there.

But Mr Jennings has also played an important role in Norwich's relations with its twin cities. He received his first visitor from Koblenz in 1976 and first visited Novi Sad in 1977, later serving as chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich Novi Sad Association.

Mr Jennings, whose partner Jane Waters will serve as Sheriff's Lady, added: 'It is very welcome to have the importance of international understanding and the work of the twinning associations recognised in this nomination.'

Mr Gayton, who is nominated to be the next Lord Mayor is no stranger to a civic role, having served as Sheriff in 1996/97.

Norwich-born Mr Gayton has worked in various departments for Norwich, Breckland and Norfolk councils and has been active with trade unions.

He was elected as Labour councillor for Mile Cross ward in last year's elections.

The grandfather-of-six, who is married to Brenda and lives in Aylsham Road, said: 'I have always been passionate about Norwich and proud to live in such a place.

'If I can do anything to promote and protect Norwich, its traditions, its history, its people and its wellbeing, I welcome the opportunity to do so.'

The official mayor-making ceremony is due to take place next month. The current Lord Mayor is Jenny Lay and the Sheriff is Norwich landlord Chris Higgins.

• Do you have a council-related story? Call Evening News reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email

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