Sandwell's first openly gay mayor 'honoured' to be elected

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Mayor Richard Jones pictured with his consort, Richard McVittie, deputy mayor Jackie Taylor and her consort, Marvin TaylorImage source, Sandwell Council
Image caption,
Mayor Richard Jones was pictured with his consort, Richard McVittie, deputy mayor Jackie Taylor and her consort, Marvin Taylor

A councillor says he is "honoured" after being elected as the borough's first openly gay mayor.

Sandwell mayor Richard Jones said he would be supported by the first black African Caribbean woman in the role of deputy mayor, councillor Jackie Taylor.

Mr Jones, who succeeds Mushtaq Hussain, stated it had been a "momentous occasion" for the area, after a ceremony on Tuesday.

His consort is his partner, councillor Richard McVittie.

The new mayor said he was "really looking forward" to the next year and over the next few months "we have some great opportunities to celebrate the people of Sandwell".

While the role is non-political, the mayor presides over meetings of the council.

Mr Jones, representing Old Warley, said he was "extremely proud" and it was "especially poignant that this is happening 50 years after the first Pride protest".

The new mayoral team will raise money for St John Ambulance, LGBT+ in Sandwell Community Group and New Beginnings Baby Bundles, which provides vulnerable mothers with items.

Mr Jones said: "I would like to thank those councillors and minority community group members who have come before me - spearheading inclusivity, equality and diversity."

The mayor and his deputy will attend events across Sandwell and also represent the borough at functions outside the area.

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