Newport City Council has formally welcomed Councillor David Williams as the first citizen of the city.
A tradition dating back to medieval times in Newport was continued on 11 May 2021 when Councillor Williams became the 389th recorded Mayor of Newport. The first is recorded as taking up office in 1314.
Due to the restrictions still in place as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was no formal robing ceremony.
Councillor Williams was born and educated in Barry, South Glamorgan. He moved with his family to Newport in 1972 to take on a farm in Bassaleg. Although David is no longer a full time farmer, farming still forms part of his daily life as he tends the flock of sheep run on the farm come rain or sunshine.
He has served as councillor for the Graig Ward for over 15 years; a role which he much enjoys, and finds very rewarding. As well as sitting on a number of council committees David also sits on the board of governors of Pentrepoeth Primary School and Bassaleg High School.
Alongside his councillor role and his farming commitments, David also works for Farming Community Network, a national charity across England and Wales which supports farmers in times of need.
His wife Ruth will be Mayoress for the year. Born and brought in Rhiwderin, she attended the village primary school and Bassaleg Comprehensive. She is very excited to be supporting David during his Mayoral year, especially as civic duty runs in her family with her mother having served on the city council and her grandfather on Magor and St Mellons Council.
The Mayor has chosen the charities that he will support during his year in office: Newport Mind, and Friends of Gwent Music.
One of twenty local Mind associations in Wales, Newport Mind is a mental health charity which provides support, advice and services to people in Newport facing mental health problems.
The Friends of Gwent Music support the work of Gwent Music by sourcing and providing funding to help them run their activities. Funding that the friends have raised in the past has supported transport to music competitions and helped pay for instruments.
Councillor Martyn Kellaway and his wife Helen will hold the positions of Deputy Mayor and Mayoress for the forthcoming year.
Councillor Kellaway also grew up in Barry, moving to Newport in 1988 to work as Catering Manager at Llanwern Works. He has represented the Llanwern ward since 2008.
Councillor Tom Suller, outgoing Mayor, has represented the council and city in one of the most unusual years in history.
Despite minimal events and functions taking place because of the pandemic and no face-to-face council meetings, he embraced the position fully.
Highlights included attending the Armed Forces flag raising, Remembrance and Merchant Navy memorial events, the Welsh launch of the Sakura Cherry Tree project, a virtual Christmas toy service at Trinity Methodist Church, and attending monthly zoom meetings of the Newport and Gwent Literary Club.