The Lord Mayor of Exeter

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2. The Lord Mayor & Deputy

The Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor & The Deputy Lord Mayor

The Lord Mayor & Deputy



Councillor Rob Hannaford was born in 1972 in Torquay, and was brought up in Dartmouth where his parents were both born.  He attended Dartmouth Primary and Secondary Schools and later King Edwards College in Totnes.  He has had a range of careers and jobs over the years in tandem with being a Councillor for many years.  These have included working in local government, personnel and management, and also in credit control & debt management for three large private companies based in Exeter.

Councillor Hannaford has lived and worked in Exeter since 2001, and has been involved in community work in St Thomas and Exwick since 2003.  He was first elected as a Councillor in 1995, and has previous and existing experience of being a Town, District, City and County Councillor.  In these roles he has served on many committees, lobbied and campaigned for local people, and secured a range of neighbourhood improvements. He has also previously served as the Deputy Mayor of Dartmouth and Deputy Lord Mayor of Exeter.

Over the years he has served as a Governor at several local schools, including as a founder Governor of the West Exe Children's Centre, and in addition to this he is involved with the St Thomas Community Association, the Exwick Community Association, the St Thomas Traders and Neighbourhood Association, and is a founder member of the Cowick Street Improvements Working Party.

Councillor Hannaford adds; “It is a great privilege and honour to be given the opportunity to be Exeter’s Lord Mayor for the Mayoral year 2018 – 19. Exeter is a wonderful and vibrant city, and it has a real sense of community pride, with strong local neighbourhoods. This is all strengthened by our various schools, neighbourhood watch groups, churches, charities, sports teams, local associations, and others, together we are a community.  I look forward to working with the Deputy Lord Mayor in civic duties, and I am very proud to be part of this year’s civic team representing and promoting our great City.”  

“This year marks the hundredth anniversary that the First World War ended, so my chosen Lord Mayor’s charity for my Mayoral Year will be SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association). It’s the oldest military charity in Great Britain having been founded in 1885, primarily to help the wives and families of soldiers and sailors wounded or killed in the service of their country.  It has for the last 133 years worked tirelessly to help transform the lives of veterans and their families who need help and support.”

“Assistance comes in various forms ranging from provision of white goods or mobility aids for those with injuries and disabilities, to help with food, clothing, furniture and accommodation for those suffering financial hardship and distress.  A significant number of them are now younger veterans of the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan who are suffering from mental illness and associated problems.  Apart from a small team in SSAFA’s Central Office in London, the charity is manned entirely by volunteers, people from all walks of life who give their time and energy for free to help those who have fought for and protected our nation over the years. I passionately believe that that those who have served our country, and protect our rights and liberties, should get the best possible support when they need it.”



Councillor Rachel Lyons was born and raised in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire where she attended Stroud High School for Girls.

After leaving school, Councillor Lyons trained as a nurse at both the Winford Orthopaedic Hospital and the Bristol Royal Hospital.  After qualifying in 1965, Councillor Lyons worked as a Staff Nurse at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.  During this time Councillor Lyons was married to John and received a wedding gift of 6 months of night duty from the Matron.  Moving onto Winford Hospital she worked first as a staff nurse and then as a night sister.  Now living in Winford, her children Stephen and Christine were born and with no nursing posts available after the birth of Christine, Councillor Lyons starting commercial canvassing which was to be of useful experience for when she became a Councillor.

The next period of Councillor Lyons’ life was spent in various working roles including that of a home help, nursing agency work, working with The Marie Curie Foundation in locations all over the County of Avon, at various care homes and also spending 4 happy years working in the village post office/general store.

It was during this time, that by working in the Post Office, it meant that Councillor Lyons was at the centre of village life, and broadcast live on Radio Bristol every Tuesday afternoon for 3 years, often while serving customers with a telephone in her hand talking about events taking place in the village and surrounding area, after which her father would call to tell her how many times she had said the word “Um”!  Councillor Lyons was also influential in starting a local playgroup, a member of the village hall committee, a school governor and had her first taste of life as a Parish Councillor.

Councillor Lyons became estranged from her husband in 1988, which is when she moved to Exeter after buying Cranleigh House, looking after 5 men with long term mental health problems.  Councillor Lyons then met Roy Libby in 1992 who was her partner until his death in 1997.

As her father was a Parish Councillor it was a natural progression for Councillor Lyons that she firstly become a Parish Councillor in Winford where she held a seat for 15 years and more recently as a City Councillor for Polsloe Ward, a seat which she held from 2000 to 2008 and regained in 2012. On the boundary change 0f 2016 she became councillor for the new Pennsylvania Ward which incorporates most of the old Polsloe Ward. Councillor Lyons is very much a community orientated person and was on the steering committee for the formation of the Polsloe Community Association of which she is currently the treasurer. In 2013 she was elected Lord Mayor and her chosen charity for her Mayoral Year was Ataxia. In 2014 in preparation of her retirement from politics she joined the Exeter Club of Lions International with which she is quite active, and also the St James memory café, and a local knitting group. Sadly because of mobility issues she has given up her allotment and contents herself by growing vegetables in tubs and pots.