'Tilbury girl' is borough's first citizen - new cabinet is named

By Christine Sexton - Local Democracy Reporter

23rd May 2024 | Local News

THURROCK'S new mayor took the chains of office at the annual council meeting saying she was delighted a "Tilbury girl" had been given the honour.

Cllr Kairen Raper was nominated for the role for 2024/25 by the ruling Labour group and was elected when a nomination from the Conservatives for previous deputy mayor Cllr Qaisar Abbas to take the chains of office was defeated.

The deputy mayor is also from the l

Labour ranks. Cllr Sue Shinnick, who has previously served as mayor, was nominated unopposed.

Speaking after being appointed, Cllr Raper, a former maths teacher, education practicioner annd advisor and councillor for Tibury St Chadds, said: "It's a fantastic honour and I'm humbled to have the opportunity to serve Thurrock as mayor.

"I intend to name Thurrock Foodbank as one of my mayoral charities. It's dreadful that in our country there is a need for food banks but that need exists and Thurrock Food Bank does a fantastic job across all of Thurrock.

She added: "I promise to work for the benefit of all our residents and will endeavor to show people just how good Thurrock is. I'm also particularly proud to say we now have a Tilbury girl as mayor."

Outgoing mayor Sue Little raised a significant amount for her charities supporting adults and children.

She said: "It's been such an honour to serve as mayor of the borough and I will shed a few tears as I have loved it so much, genuinely.

"I'm pleased to say I have raised just shy of £30,000 this year for my charities and I've done about 280 events."

Cllr Valerie Morris-Cook, Labour councillor for Grays Riverside, paid an emotional tribute to Ms Little. She said: "A kinder more sincere person you won't find. I thank her for everything she has done and continues to do."

Cllr Lynn Worrall, Labour councillor for Grays Thurrock, added: "You've done us proud as mayor and £30,000 is an enormous amount of money to be raised."

Labour's Cllr John Kent was elected as council leader and gave words of advice to new councillors elected on 2 May, saying: "Don't become obsessed with social media, keep a warm heart and grow a thick skin".

He added: "Ultimately we are all here to represent our communities to offer help and advice to our residents and to make tough decisions about the future shape of public services that will almost inevitably be unpopular in some quarters but I'm old fashioned enough to believe that all of us here tonight are driven by a desire to make a positive desire to make a difference in our communities and by a deep sense of service.

"We are determined to be better. To do the right thing for Thurrock, to be the fresh start that we need and to earn back the trust of those we were elected to serve."

A new Cabinet was also appointed at the meeting. The new Cabinet has eight members, including the Leader:

  • Cllr John Kent - Leader of the Council and strategic relationships, reputation and influence
  • Cllr Lynn Worrall - Deputy Leader of the Council and overall change and improvement agenda
  • Cllr Vikki Hartstean - Children's Services
  • Cllr Victoria Holloway - Place and the Environment
  • Cllr Mark Hooper - Health and Well-being
  • Cllr Valerie Morris–Cook - Community Partnerships
  • Cllr Sara Muldowney - Resources
  • Cllr Lee Watson - Good Growth


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