A new mayor for Reading will be appointed this week at a ceremony which was delayed this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Labour Party councillor Rachel Eden, who stood against Reading West MP Alok Sharma in the 2019 general election, is set to be appointed to the position having held the deputy mayor role for the last 18 months.

Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) annual mayor making ceremony usually takes place in late May but was postponed this year due to the unique circumstances.

READ MORE: Garages site 'known for prostitution and drug dealing’ could make way for flats

The council chose to extend the term of current mayor councillor David Stevens until November due to the heavily disrupted year in 2020-21 amid the pandemic and the accompanying restrictions.

Cllr Stevens’ mayoralty will come to an end at the re-arranged mayor making ceremony, which takes place at the town hall on Wednesday, November 17, at 6.30pm.

Reading Chronicle: PICTURED: Current mayor David StevensPICTURED: Current mayor David Stevens

RBC leader councillor Jason Brock said: “On behalf of everyone in the town, our thanks go to Cllr Stevens for the tremendous job he has done as mayor in what has been a uniquely difficult 18 months.

“Aside from the obvious challenges of the pandemic, David represented the town with great dignity in the days and weeks that followed the horrific events at Forbury Gardens in June last year, and I would like to place on record my own personal thanks for the support he gave me in the aftermath.

“The mayor making ceremony next week will be unusual in that it takes place in November rather than May, but it was the correct decision to extend the mayoral term by six months to provide some continuity of civic function through the disruption of the pandemic.

“As is the custom, the current deputy mayor, councillor Rachel Eden, will now become our nominated candidate for the mayoralty.”

Like Cllr Stevens, Cllr Eden will serve for 18 months, until May 2023. She is set to be joined by new deputy mayor Ayo Sokale.

READ MORE: Wenzels bakery opens first store in Reading

Cllr Brock added: “I’d like to thank Rachel for her patience before taking the helm and I am absolutely certain that she will be an excellent champion for our town and a dedicated first citizen.

“I am also delighted to announce councillor Ayo Sokale as our nomination for the deputy mayor post, which will run until May 2022.

“If agreed at the mayor making ceremony, Ayo would become one of the youngest deputy mayors in the history of the borough, and certainly the youngest in recent years.

“We all look forward to Ayo also being a great ambassador for Reading and for young people in our town and I know she is looking forward to doing her part to support Rachel’s mayoralty.”

Reading Chronicle: Councillor Ayo SokaleCouncillor Ayo Sokale

Cllr Sokale would only take the role for the next six months, with a new deputy mayor to be elected in May 2022 for a full year.