THE new mayor of Milton Keynes has been elected, but not before his predecessor bowed out in style.
Councillor Alan Richards was elected as mayor for the coming year but thanks were extended to popular outgoing mayor, Councillor Debbie Brock.
Mr Richards served as deputy mayor last year and, as is customary, was formally sworn at a council meeting at the Civic Offices on Tuesday.
The leader of the opposition, Councillor Sam Crooks, gave his thanks to the outgoing mayor as well as welcoming in the new one.
Mr Crooks said: “Alan is one of those extraordinary people who seem to grow younger, not older. He has already had four careers and is now embarking on a fifth.”
Mr Richards was born locally and lived in a Stony Stratford orphanage before attending the Radcliffe School.
He served in the Army before entering the private sector as a buyer for Marks & Spencer and then moving over to local government as chief procurement officer for the former Bedford Borough Council.
The fourth career that Sam referred to was Mr Richards’ work with the Royal British Legion and Newport Pagnell Town Council.
This year Alan will be supporting MK Snap and ex-soldier charity Care for Casualties as his mayor’s charities.
Mr Crooks added: “It is that which I believe Alan, along with his wife Christina, will bring most to the mayoralty, that while he may be first citizen of Milton Keynes, every citizen whatever their background will be just as important and merit just as much attention.”
Both Mr Crooks and leader of the Conservative party, Councillor Andrew Geary, said that the outgoing mayor was seen as an approachable and friendly character who ‘always had a word for everyone.’
Addressing the mayor directly on Tuesday night, he said: “You have drawn us out to Olney for receptions and the civic service. For those of us whose heart is in the city it is very important, and you did not let us forget, that we are part of the wider borough.
“Thank you for your year in office and thank you also for those new directions in which you took the mayoralty.”
Conservative councillor Catriona Morris was sworn in as deputy mayor for the coming year.