A NEW Mayor of Bury has been installed via a unique annual council meeting.

Cllr Tim Pickstone will be the borough's first citizen for 2020-21, with his partner Wayne Burrows named as the Mayor's Consort.

The Liberal Democrat councillor for Holyrood took over the chains of office from Cllr Trevor Holt at the authority's first-ever annual meeting staged by means of a virtual video conference.

Cllr Pickstone was first elected to Bury Council in 2000, and for the last 16 years he has served as leader of the Lib Dem group on the council.

He was brought up near Chorley, Lancashire and has lived in Prestwich all his adult life. But he can trace his roots back via the Pickstone family, who lived in the Prestwich, Whitefield and Radcliffe areas since the 17th century. His ancestors Richard and Eleanor Pickstone's gravestones are among the oldest at Prestwich Parish Church.

Cllr Pickstone is also chief executive of the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors, having previously worked as a manager in the charity sector, and a governor of St Margaret’s CE Primary in Prestwich.

Cllr Pickstone said: “This is a very great honour you have bestowed on me and I am very grateful.

"Wayne and I will do our very best to fulfil the duties of our new roles to everyone’s satisfaction, to serve the borough well and show that we are worthy of the confidence and the trust you have placed in us.”

The mayor has chosen Bury Samaritans to benefit from his annual charity Appeal, and will also support the work of George House Trust, Greater Manchester’s HIV charity.

Cllr Pickstone added: “Over the next year we want to particularly celebrate the important work undertaken by volunteers right across the borough.

“Both the Samaritans and George House Trust are excellent examples of charities which have volunteering at the heart of what they do.

"Bury Samaritans support people through some very tough times, and we will do what we can to support the work they do, as well as through the Mayoral Charity Appeal.”

Councillors also voted to install Cllr Holt as deputy mayor for the coming year, and his wife Evelyn will be deputy mayoress.

Cllr Holt said: “Evelyn and I have had a lovely year as Mayor and Mayoress. We have visited many organisations, community groups and schools; we have also received a large number of visitors to the Mayor’s Parlour, including employees of Bury Council, church groups, youth groups, beavers, cubs and brownies.

"We have also had visitors from several different countries, including Costa Rica, Ukraine, and from our German twin town of Schorndorf.

“Our borough is rich in diversity, goodwill, community spirit and selfless dedication to helping fellow citizens. This has been evident during the current difficult time due to the coronavirus.

"The manner in which our borough has responded to the challenges presented by Covid-19 has made us very proud to have been Bury’s ‘first citizens’ for the past 12 months. We have many fond memories and it is truly a year we will never forget."