West Norfolk’s new Mayor pledged to work for greater social cohesion as he took up the chains of office.
Barry Ayres was sworn in as the borough’s new civic leader during a ceremony at Lynn Town Hall on Thursday evening.
He said he was “deeply humbled” to have been chosen for the role, adding: “I’m aware I follow in the footsteps of many greater than me.”
Originally from Essex, Mr Ayres, a former engineer and teacher, has represented the St Lawrence ward since 2003 and served as chairman of the village’s parish council for 14 years.
He said Lynn had a “very diverse society” and there was much for all communities to learn from each other.
He is also keen to see continued development of the town’s waterfront and said: “Good works have been taking place over the last year and I am sure the whole borough will reap the benefits.”
Mr Ayres will be supported by his wife Christine, who was sworn in as mayoress and whom he described as his “rock”.
He added: “West Norfolk is a wonderful place to live.
“Neither Christine nor I can imagine living anywhere else.”
Mr Ayres’ deputy is Heacham councillor and retired police officer Colin Manning, who said he and his wife Julie, who will be deputy mayoress, were looking forward to supporting Mr and Mrs Ayres over the coming year.
Mr Manning will chair the Mayor’s charity committee, which will raise funds for the Prince’s Trust and the Kandoo Club, based at Lynnsport.
Warm tributes were also paid to outgoing mayor, Elizabeth Watson, during the ceremony.
Mr Ayres said he hoped to carry on where his predecessor had left off, while council leader Nick Daubney said he had been “honoured” to stand alongside Mrs Watson at numerous events over the past 12 months.
He said: “You can be rightly proud of all you have achieved over the last year of service.”
Mrs Watson paid tribute to her consort, Alex Langley, and the civic office staff as she reflected on what she described as an “amazing” year.
She said one of the most moving moments had been at last weekend’s Grand East Anglia Run, when she saw two children get out of their wheelchairs just before the finish so they could walk across the finishing line.
She added: “I don’t come from King’s Lynn, but my heart will always be in King’s Lynn.”
Father Adrian Ling, the rector of All Saints’ Church, Hillington Square, Lynn, has been appointed as the Mayor’s chaplain for the coming year.
And three new Mayor’s Cadets – Hannah Phillips of the Lynn Sea Cadets, Danielle Whisker of the Lynn Air Cadets and Oliver Groves of the Lynn Army Cadets – received their badges from Mr Ayres during the ceremony.