Lord Mayor is icing on the cake

Sheffield's next Lord Mayor for 2013/2014 - Cllr Vickie Priestley at her home in Loxley with husband Lloyd.
Sheffield's next Lord Mayor for 2013/2014 - Cllr Vickie Priestley at her home in Loxley with husband Lloyd.

Vickie Priestley grew up in Walkley as part of a family of seven, her father working in Daniel Doncaster steelworks.

Her work has never taken away from Sheffield. After Myers Grove School, she ended up in a solicitor’s office, then, after having two daughters, in shops.

One of her passions is for baking and cake decoration. She has been putting in one day a week at a little shop in The Gallery in Castle Market, which sells everything for cake-making, and she produces her own cakes and gives talks to groups.

Now comes the icing on her personal cake.

Vickie has been a Liberal Democrat city councillor for 13 years, initially representing Walkley, before Stannington - and next Wednesday she will be sworn in as the city’s 117th Lord Mayor. Her husband, Lloyd, a retired detective sergeant in South Yorkshire Police, becomes Consort.

It’s a huge honour for the girl from Walkley, one that she never imagined “in my wildest dreams.

“It’s just a little sad that my parents won’t see it. My mother has dementia and my dad died in 1995.”

Traditionally, the Lord Mayor nominates charities to benefit from the year of office, and Vickie has chosen the Children’s Hospital Charity and St Wilfrid’s, which works with homeless and other vulnerable people, in Queens Road.

There’s a personal reason for wanting to help the Children’s Hospital. Her youngest grandson, George, now four, was treated several times for chest problems, and Vickie was overwhelmed the staff’s “fantastic care”.

He’s fine now, and he will be part of the family, including Vickie’s daughters, Victoria and Stacey, who both work at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, watching the swearing-in ceremony at the town hall.

She will be straight into the job, chairing the annual meeting of the council, going to the Cutlers Feast the next day, visiting Tapton Hill Congregational Church on its centenary the next before hosting a group of Spanish dancers and watching Manor Operatic’s Beauty and the Beast at the City Hall.

Much of her schedule will be high profile, but she is especially looking forward to meeting couples celebrating their 60th anniversary or people reaching their 100th birthday. She is, she says, a “people person”.

It’s going to be a busy time. “It’s a year out of your life, but you have got to be prepared for it.”

Deputy Lord Mayor will be Labour councillor Peter Rippon and Deputy Lady Mayoress, his wife, Susan.