GOSPORT’S new mayor said the coming year was a crucial 12 months for the town.
Councillor Chris Carter was sworn in as mayor of Gosport at a ceremony in Thorngate Halls in Bury Road yesterday.
He spoke of the coming year being a crunch time in the town’s history as plans for major business development begin to take place.
Cllr Carter, a Conservative member for Lee West said: ‘It is a privilege and an honour to become the mayor of my home town at an important time.
‘It is time for the borough to be open for business and realise its potential.
‘I am looking forward to the year before me and visiting venues and people around the borough.
‘It is funny because I am the third mayor of Gosport in a row who was born in 1943 and I’m fairly sure I’m going to be the last one.
‘My wife Julia and I will do our best to represent you and fly the flag for the borough.’
Cllr Carter announced he will be raising money in his mayoral year for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association Forces Help and other local charities.
He said: ‘I am also very keen to provide help for young people, and the lonely.
‘But I haven’t been able to find a suitable charity so I will be looking for that later this year.’
The official ceremony was supported with music from the Solent Brass Band.
Afterwards, members of the public were invited to view plans for the new Gosport Leisure Complex which were unveiled yesterday.
The town’s outgoing mayor, Cllr Roger Allen, said: ‘I have had an absolutely fabulous year.
‘The experience was one that will be with me for the rest of my life.
‘It has been a privilege and an honour to be the mayor of the town I was born in.
‘It was a perception-changing experience.
‘It really does change your views of things.
‘I have met some wonderful people, made new friends and visited places that I didn’t even know existed in my own town.
‘All the visits to schools were delightful.
‘There is a need to engage with young people who are our future.’
In his first role as mayor, Cllr Carter presented two Gosport citizens with awards.
Babs Giles, 79, of York Crescent, Gosport, won the Gosport Citizen of the Year award.
Babs is a driving co-ordinator for the Lee-on-the-Solent Voluntary Care Group.
She was praised for her hard work providing lunches for lonely residents in Lee-on-the-Solent.
‘I’m not sure I deserve this award but I am thankful for it,’ she said.
‘There are a number of cooks, helpers and drivers and they should be up here receiving this award too.
‘I am happy to accept it on behalf of all those people who work so hard for the group.’
This year’s Young Citizen of the Year award was given to 15-year-old Robert Vine.
Robert was nominated for his commitment to helping others.
The teenager has raised money for a charity trip to work with orphans in Malawi.
He is a delegate for the Hampshire Youth Scout Council and is involved in an anti-bullying programme.
‘I was a bit shocked really because I don’t see myself as doing anything amazing,’ he said.
‘I enjoy everything I do and I’m really proud to have been chosen for this award.
‘It feels great.’