Councillor Gail Smith has been voted in as the new Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor of Sheffield.
She was inaugurated at Sheffield City Council’s Annual General Meeting held at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, instead of the Town Hall, to allow for social distancing for all attending.
The Lord Mayor’s consort will be her husband, Stephen Smith.
Councillor Smith is the city’s 124th Lord Mayor and welcomed her new role. She said: “Today I sit here before you, humbled and enormously proud to be the Lord Mayor of Sheffield and first citizen of our great city. Thank you for this honour. Sheffield is my home and I intend to live here for the rest of my life. I remember clearly my first council meeting after being first elected 30 years ago and the kind words of Tony Damms when he welcomed me to the council chamber.
“This is going to be a family affair. My family and I are up for this challenge and we will work together for the city this year. I couldn’t have got where I am without the support of my family and my brothers Gerald and Jeffrey.”
Councillor Smith is the youngest of 7 children and was born in Handsworth. This is where her politics first began listening to her siblings and her father discussing and debating. She added: “Being heard in my house was never easy, being the youngest and just listening to them all.” She attended Beaver Hill school, then at the age of 15, she started work in the publicity department at Moore & Wright at Handsworth.
Whilst working there, Cllr Smith took photographs of all the instruments and sent out leaflets around the world to advertise their products. From there, Cllr Smith then went to work for a solicitors on Corporation street and after that left to study orthopaedics at King Edward Cllr Smith attended Beaver Hill school, then at the age of 15, she started work at Moore & Wright at Handsworth in the publicity department.
Cllr Smith first became a Liberal Democrat councillor for the Brightside Ward in 1992 and is now councillor for Mosborough. She has been chair of a number of committees including licensing, environment and health and social care.
Councillor Smith has chosen the three charities that she will fundraise for this year under the Lord Mayor’s Charity Fund. Her first chosen charity is The Salvation Army, because “it was my mother’s favourite charity who said they looked after your granddad in the first world war so if you give to anyone, give to them” Her second charity is the Sheffield NHS Trust. Her third chosen charity is High Fives. From a young age, Cllr Smith was passionate about young people with learning difficulties and helping them to live the best life possible. In 2009, she was so taken up with the young people that she set up this charity to support them which she still runs to date.
In Cllr Smith’s personal life, she has two daughters, Elizabeth and Rachel, with three grandchildren all under the age of 2 years which keep her very busy.