Norwich city councillor Vaughan Thomas, a parishioner at St John’s Catholic Cathedral, is the Lord Mayor for the 2019-20 civic year and Dr Marian Prinsley, a past president of the Norwich Hebrew Congregation, is the new Sheriff.
Both donned their robes and chains of office for the first time on Tuesday May 21 when they were officially elected at the colourful annual mayor-making ceremony in City Hall.
The new dignitaries thanked the outgoing Lord Mayor, Councillor Martin Schmierer and Sheriff, Ros Brown, for their contributions over the past 12 months.
Norwich is one of only 25 UK cities to appoint a Lord Mayor and one of 15 towns and cities to appoint a Sheriff.
Vaughan Thomas said: “I think of Norwich as my adopted city, and I like to think now that the city has adopted me. Norwich is a ‘fine city’ because of the people within it and the love, care and compassion shown by residents. Thanking these people, highlighting their amazing work and the difference they make, will be my key goal.”
Dr Marian Prinsley said: “I am completely delighted and humbled to be chosen to represent the city I love as Sheriff this civic year. The Lord Mayor and I will work together to ensure that all the people of Norwich feel represented, and to recognise the work of all those in the voluntary sector who give their time so freely.”
During the ceremony, the Lord Mayor and Sheriff also revealed their chosen civic charity which, this year, will be Citizens Advice and partners, a group of advice agencies making up the Norwich Financial Inclusion Consortium, helping city residents exercise their rights, promote equality and help reduce poverty across the city.
Cllr Vaughan Thomas is a welfare rights worker at Norfolk Community Law Service.
Born near Nottingham, he moved to Norwich with his wife, Cllr Vivien Thomas and their family in 2007. He had a varied career as a labourer, bin collector, porter, company manager and business owner before finding his passion as a welfare rights worker representing local residents at tribunals.
Through this line of work, he has helped to secure significant income for people in poverty over his career.
As well as workers’ rights, Vaughan is passionate about education and environmental issues. He is an active trade unionist and advocates for school support staff across Norfolk.
Dr Marian Prinsley is an educational psychologist and past president of the Norwich Hebrew Congregation.
As part of this role, she helped raise funds to develop the Norwich Jewish Community Centre, enabling it to be used by the wider population, and the many thousands of school children who visit the synagogue to learn about Judaism.
Marian is passionate about interfaith understanding and was part of the all-faith group which met with the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2018.
Together with her husband Peter, Marian has happily raised her three children in the city.
Pictured above are Cllr Vaughan Thomas and Dr Marian Prinsley after the civic ceremony.