New mayor appointed for St Albans district

Cllr Janet Smith has been appointed the new mayor of St Albans, taking over from Cllr Rosemary Farmer.

She was made mayor for 2018/2019 at the annual meeting of St Albans District Council on Wednesday, May 22, and Cllr Sandra Wood was appointed as her deputy.

Cllr Smith has chosen Citizens Advice as her charity for the year, and her theme for the year will be 'knowledge and confidence', which is one of the objectives of Citizens Advice.

She said: "Becoming mayor is a magnificent honour and I am looking forward to serving the community in the year ahead.

"I will be representing the council at civic, ceremonial and local events, supporting the district's many voluntary and community groups.

"Citizens Advice aspires to give people the knowledge and confidence to find their way forward, whoever they are and whatever their problem.

"That is a commendable mission and it will be my goal as mayor to offer what help I can to the district's most vulnerable people and worthwhile causes."

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Cllr Smith is the city's 476th mayor, with the first one appointed in 1553. She has been a Labour district councillor for Sopwell ward from 2003 to 2008 and again since 2012, and has sat on various committees and working groups. She became interested in Citizens Advice after being appointed to their trustees' meetings as the council's representative.

Born and brought up in Lancashire, Cllr Smith moved to St Albans with her parents aged 16 and completed her A-Levels and St Albans Girls' School.

After qualifying as a teacher, she moved to Hong Kong where she lived for 15 years and had a son and a daughter.

She returned to St Albans in 1991 and has lived here ever since, becoming involved in a wide range of community work, including volunteering at Mandeville Primary School for more than a decade.

Cllr Smith will be supported in her role as mayor by her daughter Sonia Smith, who will act as consort.

Her deputy, Cllr Sandra Wood has been a district councillor for Wheathampstead ward since 2014. Both the mayor and deputy mayor will continue with their ward duties during their one-year term.