THE last mayor of the now defunct Christchurch Borough Council has been named as the first mayor of the new town council.
Cllr Lesley Dedman was unanimously elected to the position at the first annual meeting of the new Christchurch Town Council.
Nominating her for the position, Cllr David Jones said Cllr Dedman had done a “fantastic” job in the preceding year and said she was the best person to lead the town council through its first year.
The town council was created by the borough authority prior to its abolition at the end of March.
Councillors, who had opposed the creation of the new conurbation unitary authority, felt it would give people in the town a voice on matters, including planning applications, while it would also take on traditions such as the mayoralty.
The ceremonial position has been existence in the town since 1297.
At its first annual meeting at Druitt Hall, councillors also appointed Cllr Sue Bungey as the deputy mayor for the next year.
Cllr Dedman had played a key role in setting up the new town council.
“We will all agree that last year was not the easiest year to be mayor but Lesley coped with all the difficulties,” Cllr Jones said. “She showed great courage and diplomacy in her work.
“It has been a funny two-month period where we have been a shadow town council but we are now moving into the light.
“I can think of no-one better to lead us through the first year of the town council.”
Having been sworn in to the position, Cllr Dedman praised the work of councillors who had worked to establish the new council
“I hope that we can really get going and do the best for the town that we love,” she said.
In a change to tradition, rather than appointing an escort to attend functions with her, Cllr Dedman said she would bring along any town councillor who would be interested in joining her.