Councillor Geraldene Lucia-Hennis, who represents Crayford, was chosen as the London Borough of Bexley's 56th Mayor at the Council's annual meeting on Wednesday 29 May 2019.
Geraldene is the 80th person to hold the title of Mayor of Bexley, since the old Borough received its charter in 1937.
Geraldene's husband, retired London Brigade Fireman Peter Lucia-Hennis, will be the Mayor's consort.
Geraldene was born in West Hill Hospital, Dartford in 1950. She has lived in Crayford all of her life, first in the High Street and then in Iron Mill Lane. Like her father before her, Geraldene attended St Paulinus School, she then went on to Crayford Secondary School for Girls. Geraldene is Crayford 'through and through' and is able to trace her family roots in the town back to 1786.
A keen businesswoman, Geraldene has run a number of businesses in her hometown, including a dry cleaners. It was only when she closed the doors that she finally gave in to local MP Sir David Evennett's request to run as a local Councillor. She stood in 2006 and has represented the town ever since.
Geraldene is fiercely proud of her four children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, who all live close to the family home. She takes her roles as mum, grandma and great-grandma extremely seriously and has great involvement with each generation.
Geraldene's other passion is for the local rivers. She is the Director on the Dartford and Crayford Creek Restoration Trust and is very active in her role there. Her ambition is to try to re-open the Crayford Creek waterway for river pleasure boats.
She said: “I am very much looking forward to my year in office. I have considered running for the post for a number of times, but this year is particularly special as we celebrate the 'Alcock and Brown' centenary, a project that I am helping to lead as part of the 'Alcock and Brown Centenary Project Group, Crayford'. It is an honour to be able to help mark their link with our great borough – and my home town!”
“I am looking forward to getting out and about as much as possible, representing Bexley and putting us on the map. It is going to be hard work but I'm looking forward to every minute.”
The Mayor's Chaplain will be Reverend Paul Prentice from Cllr Lucia-Hennis' church, St Paulinus.
The Mayor has decided to support a number of smaller local charities, under the slogan 'Doing it for Bexley and celebrating winning for Bexley'.
Geraldene has appointed Cllr James Hunt to be her Deputy Mayor and James' wife Christine to be Deputy Mayoress. Cllr Hunt is a Ward Member for Blackfen and Lamorbey. He has been a Bexley Councillor since 2006 and has lived in Blackfen all his life. He and Christine have two children aged four and seven and a English springer called Jasper.
Cllr Hunt is Vice President of GLSE Scouts, Vice Chairman of Bexley Scouts and a Non-Exec Director of Bird College. He is the Head of Fundraising and Engagement for The Haemophilia Society.
For more information on the Alcock and Brown centenary celebrations visit Alcock & Brown.