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The Lord Mayor of Exeter

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2. The Lord Mayor & Deputy

The Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor & The Deputy Lord Mayor


Lord Mayor of Exeter - Councillor Kevin Mitchell

Kevin was born in Exeter and grew up in the Whipton area of the City. Kevin has six siblings and his parents still live in his childhood home in the Thornpark Rise area. He attended Whipton Barton Infants School, Whipton Barton Middle School and Vincent Thompson High School (now St Luke’s) and then went on to attend Exeter College where he completed his 'A ’Levels.

Kevin worked as a care assistant in residential / nursing homes before in 1996 moving to Guildford to commence his nurse training at the University of Surrey. A year later he moved to Frimley and most of his training occurred at Frimley Park Hospital.

In 1999 Kevin qualified as a nurse and moved to Plymouth, where he initially worked on an Elderly Care Ward and then the Haematology Unit both at Derriford Hospital. Kevin very much enjoyed his work but missed his home City of Exeter so in 2001 he moved back to the City after securing a job within the Haematology Unit at the RD&E Hospital.

Whilst completing his Honours Degree at the University of Plymouth Kevin developed a passion for oncology nursing and very much enjoys building up a relationship with his patients and their loved ones. Although his job can be very emotional he believes doing the smallest things can make such a difference for individuals under his care. Kevin therefore moved to the Oncology Inpatient ward at the RD&E in 2003 and worked there for over a decade before moving on to be a Clinical Nurse Specialist initially within the Upper Gastrointestinal team and now within Skin and Sarcoma service. Kevin will continue to work as a nurse during his year as Lord Mayor. He cares passionately about our NHS and hopes to be able to promote some of its excellent work during his year, especially as we mark the 75th anniversary of its formation.

Kevin was first elected to the City Council for St James Ward in 2003 and represented this diverse community until 2015. In 2016 he was elected to represent the newly formed Duryard & St James ward, who he continues to represent. During his time on the Council Kevin has served on Planning, Licensing, as a Chair and Vice-Chair of Scrutiny Committees and as the Portfolio Holder for Environment and Leisure. Kevin has also been a Group Leader and the Co-Leader of the opposition. Kevin believes passionately in Community politics and feels the primary role of a Councillor is to represent the community they have been elected to serve.

Kevin met his husband Ian in 2007, they celebrated their Civil Partnership in 2008 and converted this to a marriage in 2018. Ian is a retail manager at a City Centre Kitchenware shop. They live with their Cat Millie and they both enjoy travelling, watching movies and eating out. Ian will act as the Lord Mayor’s Consort.

Kevin has been Deputy Lord Mayor for Exeter on two occasions firstly in 2008/09 and secondly in 2011/12. Kevin is a very proud Exonian and hopes to ensure his Mayoral year is as modern and inclusive as possible, whilst still upholding the traditions of the Mayoralty which are so important to our City’s heritage.


The Deputy Lord Mayor of Exeter, Councillor Tess Read

Tess grew up in Ealing, London, and attended local schools before successfully begging her parents to let her go to stage school where she explored her passion for drama, dance and music. A few years later, upon realising that few students left to become international mega stars she opted to return to regular education. She took her A levels at a local FE college from where she went to King’s College Cambridge University to study Social and Political Sciences. At Cambridge she was in several Footlights productions, many theatre shows and formed a jazz singing double act.


After Cambridge, Tess started work at the Bank of England where she worked with the then troubled insurance market, Lloyd’s of London. After several years at the Bank, where she met her future husband, Danny, Tess began work in her other passion, writing. Her first book, Vietnam by Rail, led to a substantial time travelling around Asia before she went to Oxford University to study a Masters degree in European Politics. After Oxford she and her husband moved to London where they raised a family and Tess juggled a burgeoning business career in commercial due diligence, wrote several more books and began singing acappella.


Things took a turn for the adventurous when in 2014 Tess and Danny took their 3 kids out of school and travelled around the world for a year, home educating them and seeing the world. It was a wonderful experience with its fair share of highs and lows, a particular low being when a nearby volcano erupted causing the family to drive for two days straight to get out of the ash.


Upon returning to the UK in 2015, Tess and family made the move to Exeter, due to Tess’ love for Devon, from many years of childhood holidays with relatives in Seaton. She is thrilled with her choice of Exeter as a great place to live and raise a family. Here Tess began work as a coach to international students and voluntary work with local secondary schools, and launched her own acappella group, called Tess & the d’Urbervilles. The group rehearses each week, still with many of the original members, and frequently performs in Exeter and around Devon.


Tess continues to write and broadcast, having now written 10 books, writing a column for Exeter Living and Grow magazine for several years, having broadcast on Radio Four and the World Service, and is a frequent interview guest on Radio Devon.


Tess was elected to St David’s ward for the Green Party in 2022. She is extremely proud to speak for her ward and residents, and hugely looks forward to her role in representing the wonderful city of Exeter as Deputy Lord Mayor.