Lord Mayor

Lord Mayor of Plymouth

The Lord Mayor and the Lord Mayor’s Office are the council’s chief custodians of civic pride and its champions of community cohesion.  We also support others in the council and the community to celebrate all that is good about life in Plymouth.

The Office of Lord Mayor is representational by nature, this means that the Lord Mayor holds no executive powers and the office of Lord Mayor is fundamentally apolitical, neutral and independent.  This is one of its greatest strengths and means that the Lord Mayor can represent all sections of the community as First Citizen without fear or favour. 

At the same time the office of Lord Mayor carries its own unique set of rights and historic entitlements.  For example, the Lord Mayor of Plymouth has long been recognised as being second only to Royalty and to the Queen’s Deputy, the Lord Lieutenant or the Representative Deputy Lieutenant.

This means that the Lord Mayor has unlimited rights to precedence in the City and is always afforded due dignity and respect as the most important person in attendance at public events, save those where a member of The Royal Family and Her Majesty’s Deputy is present.  For civic events within the City boundaries where the Queen’s Deputy is present, but not a member of the Royal Family, the Lord Mayor enjoys precedence over all as First Citizen.

The Lord Mayor must be a serving councillor and each year the Conservative Party and the Labour Party (the two main political parties that make up the City Council) take it in turns to hold the position.  The Lord Mayor nominates their Deputy Lord Mayor.

The Role of Lord Mayor

The Lord Mayor is chosen by the other councillors who serve on the council and is elected in May each year at the annual meeting of the City Council.

The Lord Mayor has two important roles, a ceremonial role and as chair of City Council meetings.

Ceremonial

  • Supports the community
  • Promotes the interests of the council and the city

Chair of City Council meetings

  • Makes sure all points of view are fairly heard
  • Makes sure council members follow rules and procedures
  • Has the casting vote if there is a tied vote

The Lord Mayor also hosts a series of civic events over the course of the year and presides over a number of high profile civic ceremonial events.

Invitations to events

You can invite the Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor to an event or function, we need to receive your invitation at least three weeks before the event.

Invite the lord mayor to an event

The Lord Mayor and Consort

Councillor Sue Dann and Alderman Chris Mavin

Sue was born in Birmingham, went to Lordswood Girls’ Grammar School, completed an HND in Hospitality and Catering at South Devon College before working at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.  Sue then moved into Further and Higher Education, a career that lasted over 20 years and took her from Exeter College, to Hong Kong Polytechnic before finally lecturing at South Devon College/University of Plymouth. Sue had by then entered into politics, both full and part-time, before being employed as the South West Regional Employer Services Manager at Working Links, a post she held for 8 years until 2016. 

Sue having been elected to Plymouth City Council represented Moor View Ward from 2003 to 2011. Sue then returned to the council in 2015 when she was elected for Sutton and Mount Gould Ward. Sue has been a cabinet member and has had responsibility for Human Resources, Economic Development, Transport, Street Scene and the Environment, Climate Change, as well as sitting on various Scrutiny Committees.

Sue also stood as a Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate in two General Elections, Teignbridge 1997 and Plymouth Moor View 2017

Sue served as Deputy Lady Mayoress in 2018-2019 and as Lady Mayoress in 2020-2021 when her husband Alderman Chris Mavin was Lord Mayor, between them they have four children, two grandchildren and two cats.

Sue enjoys walking, cycling, yoga, music, reading live music, theatre, holidays and spending time with her family and friends.

The Deputy Lord Mayor and Consort 

Councillor Chris Penberthy and Mr Darren Hartley

Councillor Penberthy is proud to be from Plymouth and call the city his home. He was born in Devonport, grew up in Peverell and now lives on the edge of the Barbican and Hoe. He was educated at Montpelier Infant and Junior Schools, Devonport High School for Boys and Loughborough University.

Chris was a librarian for Devon and Harrow Councils before changing direction and working in a range of charities and social enterprises. He was awarded a fellowship of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufacture and Commerce for his services to volunteering. 

Chris has been a Labour and Co-operative Councillor for St Peter and the Waterfront ward since 2011. He has held a number of roles within the Council. He was previously the Cabinet Member for Housing and Co-operative Development, where a number of projects he led on won national awards and his innovation was recognised internationally. He currently chairs a Scrutiny Panel, is Vice Chair of the Scrutiny Management Board and has recently been appointed to Chair the Council’s Ukraine Crisis Task Group.

Chris is actively involved in a number of local community led groups including Plymouth Energy Community, Millfields Trust and the Hoe Neighbourhood Forum. In his spare time he enjoys visiting the theatre, galleries and local events.

Chris’ consort for the year is Darren Hartley, one of his closest friends. Darren was born and bred in Plymouth and currently works for the Land Registry. He is a keen local photographer and supporter of Plymouth’s cultural scene.

The Lord Mayor’s Office

The Mayoralty is supported by a small civic team which advises the Lord Mayor in their role as First Citizen and ambassador of the City.  The team also leads a comprehensive annual programme of civic engagements.

Over the course of the year the office arranges a varied programme of events and activities aimed at promoting community cohesion through civic engagement.  These are in addition to the day to day diary of engagements carried out by the Lord Mayor or those deputising on the Lord Mayor’s behalf.

The Lord Mayor’s Office is also responsible for the organisation of an annual programme of civic events including:

  • The Inauguration of the Lord Mayor (Lord Mayor’s Choosing) which is incorporated as part of the Annual Meeting of the Council in May of each year
  • Armed Forces Day/VE Day
  • Annual Survey of the Waterworks and Fishing Feast
  • Remembrance Sunday
  • Lord Mayor’s Carol Service
  • Holocaust Memorial Day
  • Commonwealth Flag Raising
  • Lord Mayor’s Civic Church Service

The Office is also responsible for arranging special ceremonies where the City’s highest honours, The Honorary Freedom of the City of Plymouth, are presented.  In addition, the office also manages all ceremonial arrangements for conferring the title of Honorary Alderman on councillors who have served 15 years on the Council.

If you would like any further information or wish to invite the Lord Mayor to attend and speak at your event or activity, contact the Lord Mayor’s Office, email lordmayor@plymouth.gov.uk.  

Coat of arms – Plymouth City

The armorial bearings of the Corporation of Plymouth symbolise much of the history of the city. The arms display the Cross of St Andrew to whom the Mother Church of Plymouth is dedicated, and also the four turrets which formed the corners of the Castle Quadrate which stood above the Barbican commanding the entrants to Sutton Pool. The description in heraldic language is Argent, a saltire vert between four towers sable.
The Crest is a blue naval crown with a red anchor held in a golden lions paw. Two other naval crowns form collars for the lion supporters. Both crown and anchor were part of the crest of the former County Borough of Devonport. Here is represented the part which the Royal Navy has played in the life of the city.

Council identity mark

The current city identity mark derives from elements of the armorial bearings

Past Lord Mayors

Our Mayors and Lord Mayors dating back to 1439 is available on our list of past Lord Mayors page.