Councillor Merlita Bryan
I was born in the parish of Saint Thomas, Jamaica, in 1951 and came to join my parents in Nottingham, December 1962 at the age of 11. My father worked as a labourer for British Gypsum and my mother worked in catering for much of her life.
On leaving school I embarked on a life in manufacturing, making everything from women’s clothes for Marks & Spencer’s, to children’s typewriters for Petite Toys. I also gained a diploma in hairdressing from a local beauty school and studied women’s fashion at Clarendon College.
In 1986 I gained employment at British Bakeries and soon joined The Baker’s Food & Allied Workers Union. (BF&AWU) and discovered a passion for fighting for fairness in the workplace. I was soon elected as a shop steward and rose through the ranks of the union becoming Chair of the District Branch and a delegate to both the East Midlands Labour Party and the National Policy Forum. I also served as an Executive Council member on the Union’s Management Board for over 7 years.
In 2001, I was elected full-time District Secretary, for the East Midlands Region working for the Bakers Union, until my retirement.
In 2007 I was elected as a City Councillor representing the Arboretum ward, a move that I felt was a natural progression from working as a trade union officer. Since becoming a councillor, I have served as Vice-Chair and Chair of my ward Committee, Vice Chair of the Young Nottingham Committee and Vice Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee. I also served on the board of directors for Nottingham City Homes, Nottingham City Transport, First Enterprise, Nottingham Racecourse and local community radio station, Kemet FM.
In 2020, I became portfolio assistant to the portfolio of education, in which I visited school on a regular basis, this I really loved as it gave me an insight into modern day schooling.
I am currently the regional coordinator for the East Midlands Diaspora (JDUK), as an organisation we help Jamaicans in this country and abroad with any issues we can. I have been the patron for OSCAR sickle cells, an organisation that looks after people who suffer with a rare blood disorder, the organisation no longer exists, as it was taken over by the NHS.
I am presently the patron for Sistas Against Cancer, a women’s group that support each other who are survivors of cancer, or people who are at the early stage of being diagnosed.
One of my greatest achievements would have to be, being elected as the Sheriff of Nottingham in 2012-2013 and The Lord Mayor of Nottingham in 2013-2014. Then to my delight, I have been re-elected to represent my city again as the Sheriff of Nottingham 2021-2022, representing the city of Nottingham.
Recently in 2023, I decided to step down from my public duties as the local City Councillor for the Hyson Green and Arboretum ward which I enjoyed representing the people of the ward for the last 16 years. On Monday 13 November 2023, I was invited to the Nottingham Council House to be presented with the title of one of the Honorary Aldermen in Nottingham.