CHESHIRE West and Chester Council’s new civic team has started its year of office.
Elected chairman of the council at the annual meeting, held in Chester Town Hall, was Cllr Neil Ritchie (Con, Broxton) with Cllr Barbara Roberts (Con, Eddisbury) as vice chairman.
Cllr Ritchie, last year’s vice chairman, succeeds Cllr John Ebo (Con, Hoole and Newton).
In a separate ceremony Cllr Ritchie became Lord Mayor of Chester with Cllr Pat Lott (Con, Upton) as sheriff of the city and Cllr Roberts as deputy lord mayor.
Cllr Lott succeeds fellow Upton councillor Hilarie McNae in the ancient office.
Cllr Ritchie told the annual meeting he would do his best to represent the council.
He said he hoped to continue the work of previous chairmen Cllr Brian Crowe (Con, Mickle Trafford) and Cllr Ebo in further establishing a common identity for all the different parts of the borough.
He told Cllr Ebo: “You have done a superb job. You have been chairman for the momentous first year of the new council and you have had to establish an awful lot of things from scratch”.
Cllr Ritchie pointed out that Cllr Roberts had been nominated by all the councillors in Cheshire West and Chester and that also showed the progress which had been made in unifying the new borough.
“It is going to be for me a very hard act to follow,” said Cllr Ritchie.
Cllr Ebo described his 13½ months in office as ‘quite extraordinary’.
“We have all made history I believe by being part of a new authority,” he suggested.
Cllr Lott has been an Upton parish councillor since 2002 and was a Chester city councillor from 2004.
She has been a member of Chester MENCAP for 40 years.
“I hope to raise the profile of such organisations during my year in office and highlight work undertaken to improve the life of children and adults with learning disabilities,” said Cllr Lott.
She says she will work hard to promote Chester.
Cllr Roberts, a former city councillor for Tarvin, is a member of committees dealing with licensing and planning.
Her other interests include Cheshire Community Action and Duddon St Peter’s CE Primary School.