Community groups set for recognition during new mayoral year.

A FORMER midwife is set to become the Mayor of Barnstaple.

Councillor Valerie Elkins was first elected onto Barnstaple Town Council as ward member for Pilton in 1999 and has stood as deputy mayor since 2012.

The Barumite mum and grandmother trained as a nurse at the North Devon Infirmary and went to Glasgow to further her training and become a midwife.

On her return to North Devon, Mrs Elkins worked at the maternity unit in Barnstaple until she retired.

She said family and roots were both important to her, and hoped to be able to use her time as mayor to acknowledge the hard of the town’s community groups – big and small.

“Most of these groups are run by volunteers who give hours and hours of their own time and I would like to acknowledge the work they do and support them where possible,” said Mrs Elkins.

“I look forward to serving the community in the coming year and hope I can fulfil my role with as much dignity as my predecessor Cllr Lesley Brown.

“With the support of my husband Roy and the deputy mayor Cllr Julie Hunt, and all the members of the town council, I am ready for the challenge.”

Mrs Elkins was chosen as mayor-elect by fellow councillors at a meeting in the Guildhall on Monday week.

She will be formally appointed as chairman of the council at a special ‘mayor-making’ ceremony on May 15.