Greenwich’s new Mayor for the coming year has been named, while late councillor Christine Grice was fondly remembered by her colleagues, in the first annual meeting to be held remotely in the authority’s history.

Ahead of Cllr Linda Bird being unanimously voted in as the new mayor for the Royal Borough, she and colleagues spoke of their former colleague Christine Grice, who died earlier this month following a battle with stomach cancer.

Speaking of Cllr Grice, council leader Dan Thorpe recalled her initial election in 2014 as the ward member for Kidbrooke with Hornfair, as well as her delight at being elected deputy leader of the Labour group earlier this year.

“She arrived onto the council with very clear views about what we needed to be doing and set about sorting us out quite quickly,” he said.

“Her consensual approach won her plaudits both across the chamber and in the Labour group, and I can tell you all wholeheartedly she was absolutely delighted to be elected as deputy leader of our group earlier this year and was really looking to getting going.

“It was a role she thoroughly deserved, and one I know she would have used to ensure we delivered against our shared aspiration of building a fairer Greenwich.”

“I have no doubt Christine would have been a truly outstanding deputy leader and we have lost not only a colleague, but a friend.”

His views were followed by outgoing Conservative leader Matt Hartley, who said the former finances and resources cabinet member “was always thinking of others”

“Her passing has hit us all hard. She really set such a strong example for all of us, she commanded such respect across both sides of the council chamber and across the council.

“Christine has left a real legacy in this borough and beyond it too. I have no doubt she would have achieved even more in her time as deputy leader of this council.”

Ahead of accepting her naming as Mayor, Cllr Bird also paid tribute to her close friend.

“From the very beginning, we worked closely, championing voices of the  backbenches,” she said. Adding they were “two very similar northern women with almost identical beliefs and common interests”.

“How lucky am I to have had such a  good friend and these memories of Christine.”

The new Mayor added: “As I approach this year without my colleague and friend, I’ll share  with you that much of my vision for the mayoral year is based on that relationship and our many conversations”.

The new Mayor will be assisted by former economy and skills cabinet member Denise Hyland, who takes the deputy role.

Following the meeting, the Eltham North ward member said rebuilding the borough in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic was among her key focuses.

“My priorities as a local councillor and now as Mayor have always intended to be harnessing the power of diversity and difference, and championing equality and fairness,” she said.

“The coronavirus crisis lends these priorities a renewed focus, and a chance to support the rebuilding of the Borough in a way which serves the whole community.

“My Mayoral legacy will be to foster and continue to grow our borough’s community spirit, an initiative to build hope for the future.”

Her consorts will be her daughters, Amy and Emily, while she’ll support local charities Metro Greenwich and Greenwich Starting Blocks throughout her Mayoral year.