Cllr Stephen Habermel elected as Southend’s 102nd Mayor

Cllr Stephen Habermel was elected as the City of Southend’s 102nd Mayor at today’s Full Council meeting and takes over from Cllr Kevin Robinson who has served as Mayor for the past year.

Cllr Habermel in his Mayoral robes standing on the civic staircase alongside the Council Chief executive Rob Polkinghorne and Mayor's Officer and Macebearer Adam Tregoning.

The annual Mayor Making ceremony took place in the Civic Centre council chamber and was attended by the Deputy Lieutenant of Essex, MPs, members of the faith community, council officials, family members and friends.

In his acceptance speech, Cllr Habermel expressed his great admiration and pride at being elected to the role of Mayor. He thanked outgoing Mayor Cllr Robinson, fellow councillors for endorsing him, and thanked the residents of Chalkwell Ward who first elected him in 2007 and re-elected him on four subsequent occasions.

Cllr Habermel said: “I really am delighted to have this opportunity to become the Mayor of our great City. I very much look forward to meeting the amazing range of voluntary and community organisations across Southend and helping to promote their hard work and dedication. I want to recognise those who work quietly behind the scenes to keep these vital services going because we really couldn’t do it without them.

“I also look forward to meeting and doing all I can to help promote Southend businesses, big and small, that are such an integral part of Southend and the key to driving our City’s future success.”

The new Mayor took the opportunity to thank Reverend Claire Abraham from St Alban The Martyr Church, who has agreed to act as Chaplain for this Mayoral year and he announced that his main charity fundraising efforts for this Municipal Mayoral year will be Havens Hospices and The Music Man Project.

Outgoing Mayor, Cllr Robinson, wished Cllr Habermel and his wife, Tracy, a successful Mayoral year and thanked his chosen charity, St. Vincent’s de Paul society, colleagues, friends, residents of Westborough ward, as well everyone who supported him during the past year.

Cllr Robinson said: “This year’s Mayoralty is memorable for both good reasons and for those that tested our City. The year started with community events in Southend looking forward to Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee. Little did I know that we would soon be having to implement actions for our City to mourn the death of the Queen. I was extremely proud of how the City reacted to this testing time.

“My mayoral year ended with the coronation of King Charles. During changeable weather the City enjoyed street parties and activities in the City centre along with concerts in the park. A few days before the coronation, Debbie and I had the opportunity to meet and speak to the King. He asked about how Southend was and thanked us for serving our City.

“I look forward to the next year continuing to serve our City and thank everybody involved in making the 2022-23 Mayoralty as memorable as it was.”

Cllr Ron Woodley was elected as Deputy Mayor and, having signed the Declaration of Acceptance, was presented with the Deputy Mayor’s Badge of Office.

Cllr Stephen Habermel’s biography:

  • Stephen moved to Southend with his family when he was 11 years-old
  • he attended Belfairs High School in the early to mid-70s and went straight into a career in national newspapers
  • Stephen was originally elected to Chalkwell Ward in 2007 and was then re-elected on four more occasions with the most recent being April 2023
  • previously at the council Stephen has been vice chair of the development control committee, chair of the licensing committee and shadow portfolio holder for travel and tourism
  • Stephen currently works as a publisher and media consultant for the oil and gas sector
  • Stephen’s interests include sailing and flying, and he is a qualified yacht master and holds a private pilot license obtained at Southend airport
  • Stephen and his wife Tracy have a love of classic cars, animals, especially cats and dogs, and both enjoy year-round estuary swimming

Photos available on our Flickr page.

Published: 11th May 2023

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