Fish and chips on the beach with rides on the carousel by the pier marked the start of Dee Simson’s year as mayor of Brighton and Hove.
The Conservative councillor, who has represented Woodingdean for 19 years, was nominated by her colleague Steve Bell who described her as the ‘heartbeat in our ward’.
He said: “Dee does work tirelessly for our residents of all ages, whether it is with the youth, the elderly, the needy or those who just need a friend.”
Her husband Paul, their three daughters and five grandchildren were all present to see Councillor Simson elected unanimously.
In her first speech as mayor Councillor Simson explained why she was breaking with tradition by holding her reception on the beach rather than in the Royal Pavilion.
It’s part of Brighton’s identity, she said, adding: “If you go anywhere in the world people say Brighton is by the sea.
“We have the advantage of the seafront where I plan to hold fundraising events.”
And when she mentioned the Palace Pier – calling it by the name used by Brightonians – she raised a cheer in the council chamber.
Her chosen charities for the year are the Martlets Hospice, Rockinghorse, Off the Fence and the Grace Eyre Foundation, she said at Brighton and Hove City Council’s Annual Council meeting on Thursday (May 17).
She is asking each of them for a wish list so those who raise money for the mayor’s charities know how it will be spent.
Green councillor Alex Phillips took over from Councillor Simson as deputy mayor and is due to succeed her as mayor in a year’s time.
The new Labour group leader Daniel Yates was formally elected leader of the council unopposed in place of Warren Morgan.