The new Deputy Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Cara Hunter, said the memory of her late friend Zachary Geddis, had inspired her to run for politics and to put her self forward for the role.
Speaking at the Council AGM on Monday, the SDLP Councillor paid tribute to her former schoolfriend who tragically died by suicide at the age of just 20 in 2017.
“I’d like to give my greatest of thanks to my late friend Zachary whose life and legacy inspired me to run for Council and to put myself in for this role,” she said during her maiden speech.
“I look forward to championing mental health as a priority and tackling the suicide epidemic in our area and being a voice for young people in this current political climate,” she added.
The new Deputy Mayor said she was proud to have been chosen to take on the position and that she looked forward to deputising for the new Mayor, Michaela Boyle.
“To anybody I haven’t met here yet on the Council I look forward to working with you all in these coming years.
“It’s a pleasure to be here tonight and a privilege.
“I’m delighted to be elected and to be nominated for this role as Deputy Mayor.
“I look forward this year to devoting my time to helping all people right across this beautiful and historic city and the wider district. I truly believe that cross-community and cross-party conversations are key to peace-building and reconciliation in our communities, the progress of politics on this island, and the prosperity for its people.
“I look forward to working with Michaela this year on doing just that.”
She thanked her friends and family without whom she said she wouldn’t be “sitting here”.
“I’d like to thank my mother Pauline for her ongoing and unwavering support since 1995 and my father for his witty words of wisdom and, of course, my SDLP colleagues for their guidance and having faith in me in this new role,” she declared.