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Outgoing Lord Mayor bids ’emotional’ farewell alongside Deputy Lord Mayor

Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Sorchá McGeown was also given an opportunity to say a few words

Former Lord Mayor, Alderman Margaret Tinsley raised £20,400 for Charis Cancer Care during her term in office. Pictured are Fiona Brown, director of Operations at Charis, Lord Mayor Alderman Margaret Tinsley, Imelda McGucken, director of Care at Charis, and Susan Parks, Lord Mayor’s secretary. Credit: ABC Council

Monday’s (June 3) AGM was an opportunity for outgoing Lord Mayor, Alderman Margaret Tinsley and outgoing Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Sorchá McGeown, to look back with pride on a busy year as the figureheads of Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon (ABC) Borough Council.

As she bowed out as the ABC Borough’s first citizen, Alderman Tinsley had many people to thank. She commented: “The past year has flown by and it has been an absolute honour to serve as a Lord Mayor for our borough.

“This experience has been nothing short of brilliant, and anyone who knows me can attest to how much I have truly enjoyed it.

“Firstly I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to my party colleagues for placing their faith in me, trusting that I could fulfil this role and nominating me last June.

“I also want to express my deepest gratitude to my family who encouraged me when I had doubts whether I could do this.

“To my husband James, my daughter Anna and my son James, your love and support have been invaluable, and without your encouragement and help at home, enjoying this role would have been extremely difficult.

“I also want to thank my mom and dad who I know have been quietly praying for my good health and wisdom, and their support has been a tremendous comfort during my term.

“I also want to thank my Deputy Lord Mayor, Sorchá McGeown, who has stepped in for so many events I couldn’t attend and hosted numerous civic receptions.

“Together we have recognised countless community groups and sporting achievements. I want to express my sincere gratitude to our staff, to every single individual across the organisation. Your help, encouragement and support have made this year incredibly enjoyable.

“Fellow members, I want to sincerely thank each and every one of you for your encouragement when you were at events and receptions. Your support during those evenings meant a great deal to me.

“I made it a priority to attend as many events as possible and host numerous groups in the Mayor’s Parlour, always ensuring our guests felt welcomed and enjoyed a lovely supper, and I sincerely thank our catering team here in the civic centre and the caterers at [Armagh] Palace. I also want to thank the photographers.

“When asked about the most memorable moments of my Mayoral year, I honestly replied ‘everything’. I mean that, everything. Whether it was visiting businesses, attending events, hosting receptions, along with meeting many local people from our communities.

“These amazing people are the lifeblood of our borough, volunteering countless hours to improve the quality of life for others. Given that this is Volunteers Week (June 3 – 9), I extend a special thanks to each and everyone of our volunteers.

“Earlier this evening I presented Charis Cancer Care – my charity for this year – with a cheque of £20,400.”

Clearly moved, the outgoing Lord Mayor paused for a second, before adding: “Oh folks, you’re going to make me emotional and I’m nearly there.

“I want to thank every single person who supported the various charity events and collections over the year. Your generous donations and attendance will significantly aid individuals and families affected by cancer.

“Before I finish, it would be remiss of me not to mention how honoured and privileged I was to confer our first female recipient, Gloria Hunniford, with the Freedom of the Borough, as one of my final events, this occasion was truly special.

“Finally I wish the incoming Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor every success for the year ahead. May they be blessed with health and strength to undertake this civic honour.”

Praise for the outgoing Lord Mayor was expressed right across the political spectrum.

Sinn Féin Councillor Catherine Nelson said: “I just want to give a brief commentary on what I think was an excellent year for you. You’re a very warm person and you’re a very family-centred person, and I genuinely think that radiated across our borough while you were in the role.

“A massive well done in your charitable success, I know that will mean the world to you, and what a legacy and an imprint you’ll have left behind you that will be far-reaching and long-lasting.

“I hope you will get some well-earned rest now, time with your family.”

Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Sorchá McGeown was also given an opportunity to say a few words.

She commented: “Firstly I would like to thank my party colleagues for giving me this amazing opportunity this year, and to the outgoing Lord Mayor, Alderman Tinsley, I want to say congratulations on a job well done.

“In an extremely busy year you’ve done an excellent job. You always treated everyone you met with respect and a friendly smile, and I’m sure your family will be glad to have you home now.

“I was very fortunate to meet so many great people, from talented athletes, musicians, artists, in our borough, to the amazing volunteers and the community groups we have.

“Each group I met made me feel extremely proud of our borough, and I’m so thankful that I have been able to see it first hand. I want to wish the new incoming Mayor and the Deputy Mayor all the best for their term, and I’m sure you’ll both love it as much as I have.”

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