Young voters have elected a new mayor to represent them at their town hall.
Laurelle Henry has been declared Lewisham’s 14th Young Mayor following an election that attracted a turnout of 54.64 per cent of the borough’s school pupils.
The 14 year-old Sedgehill School pupil won after taking 1,223 votes. In her manifesto, Laurelle said she wanted to work with other young people to improve Lewisham for everyone.
The new Young Mayor said: “I am so happy that so many voted for me and trust me to represent them. I intend to make a difference in my year in office. I will give young people a chance to say what they want to say and do the things they want to do.
“I want to take this opportunity to recognise the person who has done so much to put young people in a position where we can play a meaningful local democracy.
Sir Steve Bullock is a champion for young people. He created the young mayor programme because he knew that it’s important that we are properly represented.”
Forest Hill School student Edafese Erhenede, 16, was elected Deputy Young Mayor. The election, held during Local Democracy Week, saw 9,334 youngsters voting, representing a turnout of 54.64 per cent – an 11.44 per cent rise on last year.
Laurelle will be in office for one year and will have a budget of £25,000 to spend on priorities identified by young people.
Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: “Once again, young people have demonstrated their commitment to democracy and belief that it works for them in Lewisham. “Over the last five years the young mayors have made a significant impact in Lewisham, not only for young people but for the community as well.
“It’s been a pleasure working with outgoing Young Mayor Kayla Sh’ay, her deputy Tekisha Henry and their colleagues. My congratulations to Laurelle and Edafese on a fantastic campaign and I look forward to working with them over the coming months.”
Alan Smith, Deputy Mayor of Lewisham, said: “For 14 years the young people of Lewisham have chosen their own Mayor and once again we’ve had an outstanding set of candidates for the post. “We give our young people real power which past young mayors have used excellently and I’m sure Laurelle and Edafese will do the same this year.”
The Young Mayor received 1,223 votes and the Deputy Young Mayor polled 1,178. Third place went to Abdul- Rahman Javed, 16, who attends Prendergast School, with 710 votes and in fourth place was Bonus Pastor Catholic College student Shemar Stewart, 14, with 698 votes.