New mayor appointed for Thurrock

Thurrock’s new mayor took the chains of office at the annual council meeting this week saying she was delighted a “Tilbury girl” had been given the honour.

Kairen Raper was nominated for the role for 2024/25 by the ruling Labour group.

Cllr Raper, a former maths teacher and councillor for Tibury St Chadds, said: “It’s a fantastic honour and I’m humbled to have the opportunity to serve Thurrock as mayor.

“I intend to name Thurrock Food Bank as one of my mayoral charities. It’s dreadful that in our country there is a need for food banks but that need exists and Thurrock Food Bank does a fantastic job across all of Thurrock.

She added: “I promise to work for the benefit of all our residents and will endeavor to show people just how good Thurrock is. I’m also particularly proud to say we now have a Tilbury girl as mayor.”

Outgoing mayor Sue Little raised a huge amount for her charities supporting adults and children. She said: “It’s been such an honour to serve as mayor of the borough and I will shed a few tears as I have loved it so much, genuinely.

“I’m pleased to say I have raised just shy of £30,000 this year for my charities and I’ve done about 280 events.”

Valerie Morris-Cook, Labour councillor for Grays Riverside, paid an emotional tribute to Ms Little. She said: “A kinder more sincere person you won’t find. I thank her for everything she has done and continues to do.”

Lynn Worrall, Labour councillor for Grays Thurrock, added: “You’ve done us proud as mayor and £30,000 is an enormous amount of money to be raised.”

Sue Shinnick was appointed as deputy mayor.