Our Mayor


Councillor Rachel Eden was elected Mayor of Reading on Wednesday 17th November 2021 and will now serve as Mayor for a period of 18 months, until May 2023.

Rachel Eden has been a serving Whitley ward Councillor since 2010 and was previously a lead councillor for Housing and Neighbourhoods and Adult Social Care.

Rachel is a Director of Reading Community Energy Society and is outgoing Chair of West Reading Together.

Outside of politics Cllr Eden is the founder of an accountancy firm that works with a range of local small businesses and charities. She’s also a proud mum of two amazing children who attend school in Reading.

She has chosen five themes to focus on during her Mayoralty which are:

  • Sustainability and the drive to net zero
  • The best start in life for our young people
  • Improving the end of life for all
  • Getting through – and recovering from – the Covid pandemic together
  • Equality and diversity

The Mayor’s chosen charities will reflect her chosen themes. They are:

  • Parenting Special Children (supporting families who have children with special needs)
  • The Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality (bringing diverse communities together)
  • The Sue Ryder, Duchess of Kent Hospice (supporting people coming to end of life, with specialist medical care alongside with other emotional, practical and spiritual support)

As part of the Mayor’s focus on sustainability all hospitality provided by the Mayoralty during her term will be vegan or vegetarian. This also ensures that our catering will be welcoming to the diverse needs and preferences of our communities. Note that if you host the Mayor she will, where practical and as long as it will not cause offence, chose a vegetarian or vegan option. However, she does not have specific dietary requirements so please do not be concerned about needing to accommodate this.

Councillor Eden said:

“Being Mayor of Reading is a huge privilege and honour. We are a truly great town and I hope to uphold the best traditions of the Reading Mayoralty in bringing our community together whether in difficult times or when we have things to celebrate. Every Mayor has their own style and I hope to focus on encouraging a sustainable Reading with our push to net zero carbon; encouraging the best start in life for our young people and promoting better support for people at end of life, as well as of course celebrating our town’s amazing diversity and pushing for equality for all as we get through the pandemic.”

Mayor hosts online auction for chosen charities


The Mayor represents the council at events, welcoming guests and visiting local organisations. She also chairs full council meetings. The Deputy Mayor (Cllr Debs Edwards) may stand in if the Mayor is not available.

Invite the Mayor to an event

Contact the Mayor’s secretary with the date of your event. If there is a space in the Mayor’s diary, you can invite her to your event.

Our Deputy Mayor

Councillor Debs Edwards has been elected Deputy Mayor of Reading until May 2023.

Debs has been a Labour Southcote Councillor since 2006 and was re-elected in 2008, 2012, 2016, 2021 and 2022. She was honoured to be the Worshipful Mayor of Reading for the 2011/2012 and 2018/19 terms. 

Debs has worked not only in the community sector but also in the public and private sector.

As a Councillor, she is currently serving as Vice-Chair on the Licensing Applications Committee and Sub-committees, Fostering Panel, Vice Chair Standards Committee,  Trustees Sub-committee, Appeals Panel and the Audit and Governance Committee.

Since living in Reading, she has held a number of voluntary community posts, the most recent being: 

  • School governor for Manor Primary School.
  • Chair of SITE (Southcote IT Experience), an award winning UK Online community project. I have written courses and trained local people in IT skills. 
  • Member of the Patient Participation Group, Circuit Lane Surgery, Southcote
  • Member of the Southcote Community Association. 
  • Governor of the Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Berkshire Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Trustee for Launchpad and No5

Debs runs her own book-keeping business dealing with small business accounts and is an Independent Examiner of accounts for charitable bodies. She raises funds for charities and has a passionate interest in life-long learning and personal development for all. In her free time, she swims, walks, and is an avid reader of detective novels.