St Mary’s ward councillor Jane Black has been sworn in as the new Mayor of Bury for the municipal year 2018/19.
Cllr Black, who lives in Prestwich, took over the chains of office from North Manor councillor Dorothy Gunther at the annual meeting of Bury Council today (Wed 16 May).
Her husband Mark Sankey, with whom she has two daughters, Elena (aged 26) and Maya (24), will serve as the mayor’s consort.
“This is a privilege and an honour for which I am very grateful,” she said. “We promise that we will carry out our duties to the best of our abilities.”
Cllr Black was elected to Bury Council in 2012 to represent the ward where she lives. She has held a range of positions on the council, including chair of Prestwich Township Forum, cabinet member for health and wellbeing and regulation and resources, and chair of the planning control committee.
Jane grew up in Prestwich, attending Sedgley Park and King David schools, then Stand Grammar (now Phillips High), before studying at Birmingham University and in Montreal, Canada. Starting work for a voluntary organisation, she then spent 23 years as a local government manager in Rochdale, Manchester and Salford, before taking early retirement in 2011.
She is a governor at Sedgley Park Primary School, and has built links with a number of local groups and community organisations.
“I have lived in Bury since I was a child, and have the highest regard for people who live here, and all this town has achieved and stands for,” she told the council meeting. “Bury people are second to none. And now it’s official – this is the happiest town to live in in Greater Manchester, and one of the best places in the UK to grow up. But we knew that already, didn’t we!”
She added: “One of the mayoral duties is to preside at citizenship ceremonies held in this borough. I am told that 126 languages are spoken by pupils in Bury schools, and that some of our schools have between 30 and 40 languages spoken by pupils in their homes.
“As the seventh Jewish mayor of Bury, with two sets of grandparents who were naturalised immigrants, this role will be a very personal and moving honour.
“Mark and I look forward in the year ahead to having the opportunity to meet many people from all walks of life and all sections of Bury’s diverse communities.
“We will support local charities, help promote local business and community events, schools, colleges, youth groups and as much activity as possible. I will seek to be a mayor for all the communities of this borough.”
The mayor has chosen two organisations to benefit in particular from the Mayoral Charity Appeal – Grace’s Place and the Manchester Jewish Federation.
A Mayoral Shabbat Service will be held at Sha’arei Shalom Synagogue, Elms Street, Whitefield on Saturday 9 June at 10.30am.
The mayor’s chaplains will be Rabbi Robin Ashworth-Steen and Reverend Steve Williams.
In accordance with tradition, Cllr Gunther and her husband Mr Michael Gunther were installed as deputy mayor and consort for the coming year.