Councillor Eve Rose Keenan and Mr Pat Keenan Mayor & Consort
of Rotherham 2017-2018
Taking office after a year as Deputy Mayor, Eve says she “can’t wait to get started” and is looking to bring vibrancy and energy to civic office, with events surrounding arts, culture and communities being planned as the focus of her tenure.
Born and raised in Rainham, Kent, Eve moved to Leeds to attend college in 1982 where she worked for a local church youth project, helping vulnerable young adults who were victims of abuse. It was her work with the church project which inspired her to become a member of the clergy. “I worked with abuse survivors at the time- speaking with one girl, I mentioned that I had come on the path of a church charity, and she burst in to tears and said “what church would want me?”. It was after that when I got involved more because I wanted to become a priest to build a church where people wouldn’t feel like that.” After training at Queen’s Foundation Theological College in Birmingham in 1999, and completing her curacy as an apprentice back in Leeds, Eve became an ordained Church of England priest at Ripon Cathedral in 2001.
Her first role with the clergy came in 2004 where she took up the role of Hospital Chaplain at Humber Mental Health Foundation Trust in Hull – a post which she still fulfils.
As well as her commitments with the priesthood, it was in Hull where Eve first got in to local politics, b ing elected to the Hessle parish council in 2011.
She now lives in Rotherham with her daughter Rosina, 25, and husband Pat. Eve also has a son, Adam, 28, who lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand.
Her chosen consort is husband of three years, Pat, who is a former British Steelworker from the age of 16 and lifelong Rotherham resident. They met six years ago at Wortley Hall during a regional Trade Union Congress meeting, where Eve said she not only fell in love with him, but with Rotherham. “Pat offered to move to Hull for me, but I didn’t want to leave, I love Rotherham as much as he does and I find now you can’t get me out of Rotherham! Where I live around my ward, and all over since I’ve been Deputy Mayor, people take the time to talk to you and they’re lovely. I like the real sense of community you get here.”
Eve was elected to her first council seat in Rotherham in 2015, representing Swinton, moving to the Rotherham West ward in the elections of the following year. Asked why she decided to put her name forward for Mayor of Rotherham, Eve hopes she can bring out the best in the local communities she will represent and bring Rotherham together in the spirit of harmony and kindness. “I really love people here, and to be the Mayor is a bit like being a parish priest – it’s about spreading the love as much as possible and helping people in a very visible way, and representing the town I’ve fallen in love with.”
The new Mayor’s chosen charities are five local causes within Rotherham, Shiloh; a charity for homeless and vulnerable people; Thornberry Animal Sanctuary, a rescue home for neglected domestic and farm animals; community cohesion group Love is Louder; drama and arts charity Open Minds and Rotherham United Community Sports Trust.
“My charities are ones which I’m very passionate about and ones which I’ve done work with in my time as Deputy Mayor. I was keen to focus on smaller, local charities which do wonderful work within the community and these five are perfect – best of all they’re communicating with each other already, so I’m hoping they’ll all benefit from each other and collectively grow during my time in office.”
Eve will be supported in her role as Mayor by the incoming Deputy Mayor, Cllr Alan Buckley.
Asked how she has prepared for office after a year as Deputy Mayor, she added: “I’ve learnt that I can spend every day with Pat, my best friend, and never get bored. Knowing that I’ll be doing everything with him as my partner, my consort and man I love, is something I can’t wait to do.
“I’ve been to brilliant places and met brilliant people and learnt that Rotherham is a thousand times better than what I already knew it was. I can’t wait to get started.”