Barry Town Council welcomes a new Mayor


Councillor Ian Johnson became the Mayor of Barry for 2023/24 at Barry Town Council’s Annual General Meeting on Monday 15 May 2023. Councillor Ian Johnson was nominated by Councillor Nic Hodges and seconded by Councillor Steffan Wiliam, with all present council members unanimously agreeing on appointing Councillor Johnson as the new Mayor of Barry.

The Mayor of Barry for municipal year 2022/23 was Councillor Helen Payne, who spoke on the evening about how much she had loved her year, fundraising for her chosen charities; Llamau, Young Minds and Vale People First and was delighted that the office could win the NACO Civic Office of the Year award for 2022. Councillor Payne attended over 90 events during her time as Mayor, including attending ten Queen’s Jubilee street parties, community events and sixteen street parties for the King’s Coronation.

Councillor Payne stated:
“Some of the highlights have been representing our town at the merchant navy memorial day at Trinity Square in London, Barry lost more personnel than any other town and I was honoured to remember them.
I unveiled a plaque to Gareth Jones and along with the Ukraininan ambassador to the UK, Jane Hutt and Mick Antoniw MS, Barry Town Council gave him the recognition he was due here in Wales.”
“Probably my favourite bit was the Storytime with the Mayor where I got to read my favourite children’s books for Summer, Halloween and Christmas to an audience of 0 – 6 year olds who are the toughest of critics (I did miss a page!)

Also delighted that we could make a funding contribution to save the Cadstock Music Festival on 22nd and 23rd July”
Councillor Johnson takes the reigns from Councillor Helen Payne, in the traditional Mayor Making Ceremony held at Cemetery Approach Community Centre. The ceremony includes the Mayor’s Mace Bearer escorting the Mayor and Mayor Elect into the meeting and taking up the role of protector, dedications are also made from the new Mayor of Barry and the Deputy Mayor.

Councillor Ian Johnson has been a member of Barry Town Council since 2012, having been elected three times for the Buttrills ward in the centre of Barry. When younger, he was a pupil at Romilly Primary School and Barry Boys’ Comprehensive, where he was later a school governor.
Cllr Johnson is also known for his support of Barry Town United, having published a book on the club’s history in 2019.

Speaking to councillors and guests at the Mayor Making event, Councillor Johnson spoke fluently in Welsh, which was translated to English by an on-site translator:

“It’s a great honour to become Mayor of Barry, the town in which I grew up and live. As Mayor, I will be promoting arts and culture in the town, and telling people about the fascinating history and heritage of Barry. That includes the stories of Gareth Jones, the Barry born journalist who told the world about famine in the Ukraine, and Abdulrahim Abby Farah of Thompson Street who led the UN delegation to South Africa that ended apartheid.

“I am looking forward to opening our music festivals over the Summer, supported by Barry Town Council’s Vibrant Culture Grant, including Cadstock, Glastonbarry and Gŵyl Fach y Fro. As Mayor, I will also be promoting the Welsh language in Barry, again an integral part of our town’s history since the very beginning.”

The Mayor of Barry is accompanied by their consort, with Councillor Ian Johnson selecting Councillor Millie Collins as his consort for municipal year 2023/24. The Deputy Mayor of Barry for municipal year 2023/24 is Councillor Sian Thomas who was nominated by Councillor Payne, with Councillor Payne stating that Sian is an ambassador for disabled rights and a fluent Welsh speaker, alongside Cllr Johnson.

Councillor Bronwen Brooks, Barry Town Council Leader said:
“I am delighted to give a vote of thanks to Cllr Helen Payne, who has served as the Mayor of Barry over the last year. Helen worked incredibly hard to promote the town of Barry, as well as attending and hosting so many events in support of her charities and local organisations.

It’s been an honour to support Helen and I would also like to extend my sincere congratulations to Cllr Ian Johnson as the Mayor for the forthcoming year and I look forward to supporting him in his role.”