Seriousness and fun were combined at Garstang’s annual mayor-making ceremony when the new town mayor, Coun Chris Ryan, took over from outgoing mayor Coun Sandra Perkins.
Coun Ryan, 46, spoke of his nervousness on taking on the mayorality.
He said he felt like Rowan Atkinson’s character Mr Bean in “Mr Bean goes go Hollywood”, when Bean had to give a major speech to VIPs.
Coun Ryan said: “I am afraid that you will not hear profound words from me –what you will get though is a determined effort to represent the town and council among the people of Garstang.”
He said he wanted to see clarity from Wyre Borough over the future of the town’s leisure centre and swimming pool, and warned there must be no more cuts to facilities and services in Garstang.
“The people of Garstang are still smarting following the loss of their tip.
“We do not want any more facilities closing or cutting, or having their hours cut,” he told the meeting.
He added that he had only been a councillor for three years and still felt a novice in the role, knowing that he had a lot to learn.
Coun Ryan, an engineer, said it was important Garstang Town Council engaged with the public in initiatives such as the recent setting up of Garstang Youth Council.
Coun Ryan paid tribute to the work of all the town’s voluntary groups, singling out the Fairtrade movement, Kepple Lane Park Trust, the Britain in Bloom team and the Transition Town group for their efforts.
He praised the outgoing mayor, Coun Sandra Perkins, who earlier this month was elected as Independent county councillor for Garstang, and paid tribute to supermarket firm Booths, which is planning to start free parking on the current pay and display car park next to its Garstang store.
In her last mayoral speech, Coun Perkins said she had thoroughly enjoyed her year, which had included the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and the Olympic torch visiting Garstang.
She thanked all who had contributed to the success of her year, and specifically thanked town lengthsman Mr Martyn Rossall.
Coun Ryan’s mayoress is Robyn Halford, who was also mayoress several years ago when her husband, Coun Mike Halford, was mayor.
The new mayor pointed out that just as outgoing mayor Coun Perkins and her mayoress, Gillian Lamb, were known locally as “Hinge and Bracket”, he and Mrs Halford would probably be dubbed “George and Mildred”.
Deputy mayor and mayoress are Coun Tom and Mrs Aileen Balmain.
One of the highlights of the ceremony was when Coun Balmain, known for his serious approach to wpublic affairs, was given a Hawkwind T-shirt by the new mayor, who is a keen Hawkwind fan.
He was urged to try it on, but seemed hesitant, so Coun Perkins wore it on top of her dress at the gathering which followed the formal part of the ceremony when nibbles were provided for the guests.