A FUNDRAISING record has been set by the city’s outgoing Mayor.
Councillor Pete West will pass on his chains of office at this afternoon’s annual Mayor-making ceremony with the thanks of the charities which will receive a share of more than £94,000 raised with his help this year.
Cllr West raised eyebrows a year ago when he abandoned the traditional model of choosing three charities to support.
Instead he selected 27 which could use his seal to benefit from his fundraising efforts.
But a year of efforts, including walking or cycling 250 miles in the space of two weeks, has seen his vision bear fruit and smashed the previous year’s record total of £60,000.
Cllr West told The Argus that beyond the money, he was pleased to have raised the profiles of the organisations he had supported, and that a “network” had been created with smaller charities working in partnership with each other.
He also said he had “no plans” to stand down as councillor at the next election (due in 2019) as many former mayors do.
Major fundraising efforts in which the mayor has participated have included a Brighton to Paris bike ride which raised £34,000. There was a sponsored walk around the proposed Brighton and Hove Way walking route round the boundary of the city, which generated £14,000 and two traditional gala dinners which raised £8,000 each.
The 52-year-old Green councillor also abseiled down the cliffs at Peacehaven.
He told The Argus: “It’s been a real privilege to see so much of the city and meet so many good natured people. I never imagined how much positivity there is out there. One of the highlights was the Brighton and Hove Way walk. That was something I’d worked on for a long time, I want a new designated pathway.
“And that event let us tread the idea in. We had 350 people and almost all of them completed all 18 miles.”
“Also, being at the front of Pride. That was very emotional. It was after the Orlando shootings and we were all carrying photos of the victims.”
He added: “People light up when they see the chains, I will miss wearing them. You get such a strong welcome.
“I just wish everyone was as well-disposed to each other as they are at the Mayor.”
Cllr Mo Marsh will become Mayor this afternoon. Cllr West said his advice was simply “enjoy it.”