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I'm honoured to serve my home city, says Belfast's new Lord Mayor Brian Kingston

By Rebecca Black

Belfast's new first citizen has said he could wish for no greater honour than being Lord Mayor of his home city.

After Brian Kingston (50) was sworn in to serve in the high-profile role, he vowed to work to grow the city's economy.

He said one of the highlights he was looking forward to most was representing Belfast during events to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

Mr Kingston is a councillor for an area of the north of the city and is also a community worker.

The new Lord Mayor, who last month completed the Belfast Marathon in just three-and-a-half hours, pledged to "put citizens first" during his tenure.

"This is the greatest honour I could wish for, to be Lord Mayor of my home city," he told councillors as he received the famous chain of office.

"I am proud to come from Belfast. I have taken huge pleasure in seeing the strides forward that our city is making year on year.

"I will do my utmost during my term of office to promote the inclusive growth of our capital city's economy, to advance our international connections, attract international events and to support all those who make Belfast a compassionate and caring city.

"I will dedicate myself to the role of representing all the people of our city in an important year, which includes the solemn occasion of the centenary of the Battle of the Somme."

Mr Kingston is married with three grown-up children and is a former pupil of Methodist College and also attended both the University of Manchester and Queen's University.

He lives in the Ballysillan area of north Belfast and is an active member of Joanmount Methodist Church.

Sinn Fein councillor Mary Ellen Campbell was sworn in as the new Deputy Lord Mayor.

She is the first openly gay person to hold a civic position on Belfast City Council, and pledged both visibility and hard work during her term in office.

"I am honoured and humbled," she said. "I intend during my term to be a champion for the LGBT community."

Outgoing Sinn Fein Lord Mayor Arder Carson and DUP Deputy Lord Mayor Guy Spence both received warm congratulations from across the chamber on their 14 months in office.

Mr Kingston said they had been a "great double act", and UUP councillor Jim Rodgers praised Mr Carson as being "a "real character".

There was laughter as PUP councillor Billy Hutchinson likened Mr Carson and Mr Spence to TV presenters Ant and Dec.

However Sinn Fein councillor Jim McVeigh disagreed, joking: "They were more like Morecambe and Wise."

Belfast Telegraph


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