Mayor misses his ceremony
The Lord Mayor of Leicester will not attend a cathedral service which traditionally welcomes him to his new role – and neither is the Bishop of Leicester who was due to lead the service.
A traditional civic service is held every year at Leicester Cathedral for the new Lord Mayor, but Councillor Colin Hall has informed officials he will not take part this year.
Mr Hall was unavailable for comment last night, but used social networking Twitter site to explain his decision.
He wrote: "Bear in mind though, I am Lord Mayor for all people of Leicester and not just those from the Church of England.
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"I've attended four religious ceremonies already as Lord Mayor – another six are planned in the next three weeks.
"The Church of England can't argue. I'm being unreasonable."
This Sunday's service will be conducted by assistant Bishop Christopher Boyle, as the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Rev Tim Stevens, had already planned to take part in a parish visit elsewhere.
The Bishop of Leicester's office said it was unaware of any Lord Mayor declining the invitation in recent years, including Hindus, Sikhs and atheists who all took part.
The Bishop's office said it was informed "within the past few days" that Coun Hall would be replaced by the deputy Lord Mayor Robert Wann instead.
A Leicester City Council spokesman said: "The Lord Mayor is not able to attend the civic service, but his deputy is attending instead.
"This is common when the Lord Mayor is unable to attend an engagement.
"We have discussed these arrangements with the Bishop, who is satisfied there will be a suitable civic presence at the event."
Andy Morris, 54, planned to attend the ceremony.
He said: "The appointment of a new Lord Mayor is a historic occasion and I was looking forward to attending this ceremony.
"A Lord Mayor has to put politics aside when they become the first citizen of the city, but they should also put their religious beliefs to one side, too.
"I think Colin Hall needs to realise what a special office he holds and act accordingly."
Mr Hall, who represents the New Parks ward, received the chains of office at a Town Hall ceremony on May 27.
He was first elected to Leicester City Council in 1991, as councillor for the Belgrave Ward.
In 2007, he was elected as one of three councillors for New Parks.