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Longstanding local resident and family man Peter Reader was elected as the new Mayor of the London Borough of Bexley on May 24 Council meeting. His wife Irene, who also has a long connection with the borough, will serve with him as Mayoress.

The Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress will be Cllr John Wilkinson and his wife, Carol.

The new Mayor has lived in the borough since the age of five and has been married to Irene for the past 30 years. They are looking forward to meeting new people and discovering more about the borough and the local organisations that are such an important part of the community.

Peter and Irene live in Bexleyheath and have five adult children, 16 grandchildren and one great grandchild. The Mayor has two sisters who live in the USA.

Peter’s mother died as a result of Parkinson’s 17 years ago and he and the Mayoress have chosen the Bexley & Dartford branch of Parkinson’s UK as their charity for the year.

His parents moved to Bexley from Southampton, when Peter was a child. He attended Normandy Primary School, Barnehurst Junior School, Brook Street Secondary School and the North West Kent College of Technology. After his A-levels, he followed his father into the Merchant Navy, but his career was brought to a premature end by deteriorating eyesight.

After leaving the Merchant Navy, Peter was articled to a firm of chartered accountants. He later set up his up own accountancy practice, where he and his wife worked together until their retirement, last September.

He first became seriously interested in politics in 1965. He was elected to the Council in 1968 and served initially until 1971. His latest spell on the Council started in 2006. He has served as Chairman of the Planning Committee for the past six years, a demanding role from which he has taken great satisfaction. He also has an interest in adult social care and is proud of the role he played as chairman of a Council sub-group reviewing accommodation options for elderly residents.

Peter’s real passion is collecting books, with a special interest in medieval history, the physical sciences and science fiction. He has been studying the physical sciences with the Open University for a number of years and is keen to encourage the teaching of science in local schools.

He is a longstanding Charlton fan. His interest was first sparked by his colleague, Cllr Phil Read. He has a vivid memory of the 1998 play-off final between Charlton and Sunderland which he describes as “the greatest game I’ve ever seen”. One of the first away games the couple attended was in Carlisle and they can still remember travelling to and from the match on the same day!

As Mayor of the London Borough of Bexley, Peter will be the Borough's First Citizen. He will represent Bexley at many events during the year, as well as chairing Council Meetings.

If you would like the Mayor and Mayoress to visit an event involving a local organisation with which you are involved, please call 020 8303 7777 and ask for the Mayor’s office.