Havant’s new mayor pledges to work hard for the borough and its town centre – and will be assisted by a martial arts black-belt deputy
A CEREMONY in Havant has seen the mayoral robe change hands and the arrival of a martial arts black-belt - in the form of the borough's youngest ever deputy mayor.
Families, friends, politicians and dignitaries packed into the Havant Borough Council (HBC) chambers today as Councillor Diana Patrick was elected to the post for 2019/20.
The ceremony saw former Mayor Peter Wade and his consort, wife Janet, pass on their responsibilities after a year of hard work in the community.
Cllr Diana Patrick, who has represented the Stakes ward since 2015, has previously served as chairwoman of the development management committee, as well as being deputy mayor for the last year.
Accepting the new responsibility, Cllr Patrick said it was an 'exciting time' to take on the role, with a 'need to attend to business' redeveloping Havant town centre.
She said: 'We are all exceptionally fortunate to live in this borough.
'We have all that anyone could want at hand - glorious countryside, the coastline and water sports, and history with our forts, docklands, and naval connections.'
The council elections last week saw Cllr Patrick fighting for her position on the council - whilst preparing to taking on the position of Mayor.
She said: 'I would like to think of this borough as a team irrespective of party. I would hope my councillor colleagues will join with me in supporting the role, because quite often it’s not as well supported as it might be.
'The Mayor always works very hard to support charities across the borough.'
Following custom, Cllr Patrick has chosen two charities to support throughout her forthcoming time in office – armed-forces group SSAFA and Dementia Friendly Hampshire.
Taekwondo-trained Councillor Prad Bains, elected last year to represent Hart Plain ward, will serve as the borough's youngest ever deputy mayor.
Cllr Bains, whose mum, Narinder Bains, represents Cowplain ward, said: 'I got my black belt when I was seven, but to be honest, I have not done it for a while.
'I think councils are changing - you only have to look at some of the new candidates who have just been elected to see the average age has come down.
'i think it's a really good thing - it's something we need to tap into as an institution.
'One of my main aims it to target that younger audience.'
The ceremony also saw tributes to two councillors – Gerald Shimbart and Rivka Cresswell – who died this year.