Town's 'Zoom mayor' re-elected with hopes for normal year in office

Stuart Green re-elected

Stuart Green is unanimously re-elected as Dereham's mayor - Credit: Dereham Town Council YouTube channel

A Norfolk town's mayor, appointed last summer and dubbed a "Zoom mayor", has been re-elected for what the council hopes will be a more normal, further year. 

Stuart Green was elected by councillors in the summer of 2020 as Dereham's youngest mayor, but did not have long before coronavirus restrictions locked the town down for much of his tenure. 

At a Tuesday town council meeting, Mr Green was unanimously re-elected by his colleagues to serve for a further year. 

In a speech written to mark the end of what could have been his only year as mayor, Mr Green said: “It’s been a tough year, with Covid affecting everything for everyone, and it’s limited the role - there haven’t been many public-facing parts. 

“I haven’t opened any buildings or shops, or cut any ribbons. I’ve barely worn the chain - I think I’ve seen it once.”

Mr Green also noted the council’s achievements.

“I’m looking forward to working with Breckland council,” he said.

“I think we’ve improved our relationship with them regarding some of the planning issues... and we’re working on a path to get a better relationship with them, because I don’t think anybody wants to keep spending legal money, and councils fighting councils, but we want to make sure that we get the best for the people of Dereham.” 

He added: “We managed to reduce our rise in council tax. Obviously we’ve still had a rise in the council tax this year, but we managed to reduce that, from what it potentially could have been.”

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Twice-former mayor Phillip Duigan said: “I’m very glad that you’ve been able to take on the mayoralty for a second year because I think you’ve had a very difficult year, being the 'Zoom mayor', I suppose we’ll call you, in history.”

In a tongue-in-cheek comment, councillor Linda Monument said Mr Green had so far only attended events at which “you lay wreaths or stand to attention and take salutes or whatever - none of the food.

“So you’ll probably also have a record in our history as the only mayor ever to fail to gain weight during the course of it.

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“So, a warning that the coming year may have an effect on your waistline,” she said. 

Councillor Hugh King was elected as Dereham’s new deputy mayor.

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