VETERAN councillor Steve Coventry was welcomed as the new Mayor of Milton Keynes last night in a packed ceremony in the Council Chamber.
Mr Coventry, who has served Milton Keynes for more than 20 years in various council roles, took over the reins from the outgoing mayor, Councillor Keith McLean.
Mr Coventry said: “Milton Keynes is one of those places that gets into your soul. It gets into your system and I am proud to be given the opportunity to serve this city as Mayor of MK for the coming year.
“I am particularly pleased to be serving as mayor in the year which leads into the 50th anniversary of Milton Keynes.”
The ceremony got off to a rousing start with three musical numbers from pupils at the Redway School, which is Mr Coventry’s official charity for his Mayoral year.
The Redway School caters for children between the ages of two and 19 with a wide range of learning difficulties.
These include complex medical conditions, profound and multiple learning difficulties, severe learning difficulties and those with an autistic spectrum condition.
Warm tributes were paid to the outgoing Mayor, who will have raised nearly £11,000 for his official charities, the Royal British Legion and the Milton Keynes Hospital Cancer Care Unit.
Mr McLean started his departing speech simply with: “Well - what a year!”
Particular highlights included the Rugby World Cup 2015 and three matches at stadiumMK, which attracted millions of viewers around the world. He also enjoyed attending various armed forces events, spending time with the various emergency services, working with the Community Foundation and meeting world champion ping pong player Andrew Baggeley.
Mr McLean said one standout moment was when he and his wife Victoria visited the Redway School, where they found the experience ‘humbling and uplifting.”
He said: “During the year we have met some wonderful people in lots of locations, many of which were new to us. In the first three months some of these people became acquaintances and by the end of the year a significant proportion have become very good friends; you know who you
Cllr Coventry, who lives in Northampton, is an avid Chelsea FC supporter, although since the MK Dons arrived in Milton Keynes he has had split loyalties, and tries and go to see them when he has the time and opportunity.
He has three grown children.
The new deputy Mayor will be Cllr David Hopkins, another long-serving councillor for the borough.