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Brian Fitch to become Brighton and Hove mayor after 40 years of service
He has served the residents of Brighton and Hove for 40 years. As a final hurrah before drawing a line under his political career, Brian Fitch has been chosen to become the city’s mayor for 2014/15.
It will be a fitting farewell for a man who has seen the seaside town he was born in morph into one of the most vibrant cities in the country.
Brian Fitch will be the next mayor of Brighton and Hove.
Coun Fitch, who has said he will step down as a councillor at the next local elections in May 2015, said: “It’s my last year on the council so this is a real privilege to me.
“I have already been mayor of the borough of Brighton.
“But during almost 40 years of service I have represented three parts of the city.
“Now as a councillor for Hangleton and Knoll in Hove I am truly a Brighton and Hove city councillor having served right across the city.
“I was born in the city, lived in the city and loved the city.”
Coming from one of the most established of Brighton’s political families, Brian seemed destined to enter the world of local politics.
His father Stan was a well known Labour councillor who served for nearly 30 years while brothers Reg and Ron both were involved in left wing groups.
Brian was first elected on to Brighton Borough Council in 1973 representing Elm Grove.
Shortly after, he also won election to East Sussex County Council.
He has also represented Hanover and Hollingbury before being elected to serve Hangleton and Knoll in 2003.
A keen swimmer, sport and physical activity have always been close to his heart.
Among his personal highlights of his political career are improving sports facilities in the city, such as building Moulsecoomb Leisure Centre, and investment to the seafront.
He has also served as a peace messenger and promoted closer links between countries at various international gatherings.
In 1989/90 Coun Fitch achieved a lifelong aim when he was selected to be mayor of Brighton.
Nearly 25 years on, he will do it again for Brighton and Hove.
He said: “It’s a different council and a big part is about unifying Brighton and Hove.
“I believe I will have the opportunity to promote some of the ideals that have made my life.”
Brian became mayor elect after receiving the backing from the majority of councillors on Thursday.
With backing from the Green group and his Labour colleagues, he was chosen ahead of Conservative candidate Lynda Hyde for the role.
He will succeed current mayor Denise Cobb in May.
Coun Fitch said: “One of the saddest things we experienced as a family was that my father could not serve as mayor as my mother was too ill.
“Maybe this decision rights that balance.
“It saddens me though that he will not be here as he would have loved to have see this happen.”
Joining Coun Fitch on hundreds of community events and engagements will be his wife of 20 years Norah.
A fellow member of the Labour party, she is well used to mingling with politicos.
Mrs Fitch said: “It came completely out of the blue but I’m well aware of the pressures and really looking forward to it.
“I think I’m a lucky girl going into something like this with somebody that has done it before.”
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