Lord Mayor Newby takes on ‘highest honour’
PUBLISHED: 15:00 26 May 2012
Topsham councillor Rob Newby has formally taken on the role of Lord Mayor of Exeter – and named his mayoral charity of the year.
Every year the Lord Mayor chooses a charity that they will raise funds for over the 12 months of their mayoralty, and Cllr Newby has announced that his chosen charity will be SOCOPS – an Exeter charity that helps young people with autism.
Cllr Newby said: “They’re very much an Exeter group, set up in 2005 by parents of children with autism, mainly to understand each other’s problems, because if you have a child with autism and you’re on your own it can be quite daunting.
“They’re very small, working with about 30 youngsters, and I’m very pleased to have them as my charity.”
Cllr Newby said it had been a tough decision to select SOCOPS from among the applicants. But he explained that the way the charity is run had set it apart.
“I had the mindset from the start that I wanted an Exeter charity, and this group ticked all the boxes.
“They are a very young charity run by parents and not outsiders, working hard to get funding for themselves and grafting by themselves, and I thought that made them worthy.”
Cllr Newby is now embarking on a busy year of civil engagements, having already made appearances at the Devon County Show and at the Olympic Torch Relay, and is gradually becoming accustomed to his new role.
He said: “It was a bit surreal [on the first night] being called Lord Mayor instead of Rob.
“It will take a bit of time getting used to, and I’ll take the formalities and ceremonies as they come, but being Lord Mayor of the city is the highest honour a city councillor can be given.”