The Gazette caught up with Councillor Paul Crabb for his views on what will happen in the coming year

The next Mayor of Ilfracombe hopes to put the health of townsfolk first in what he says is a 'challenging and exciting' year ahead.

Councillor Paul Crabb will be formally installed into office at the annual Mayor Making ceremony on Monday, May 9, with Cllr Val Gates as deputy mayor.

Mr Crabb told the Gazette it was 'an exciting time to be mayor', with many town council and One Ilfracombe projects starting to make a real difference.

He also served the town as mayor in 2003-04.

"It's come to the point where people are noticing the difference we are making, particularly in the health sphere," he said.

"But challenges remain. Life expectancy in parts of Ilfracombe are still too low, but it's important to remember that a lot of that is down to disadvantaged people being moved into the area by outside agencies."

He said they also needed to try and resolve the issue of the Tyrrell Hospital, whose future remains uncertain.

"There are problems, but I think there are a lot of opportunities too," he added.

One Ilfracombe has numerous health projects, including a strategy to bring NHS and non-NHS public services together using joint resources to try and improve the health of residents.

Mr Crabb said the town was beginning to see great benefits from other One Ilfracombe projects too and from assets the council had taken over, such as the Ropery Road and Cheyne Beach car parks.

"One of the main challenges this year will be keeping everything moving and co-ordinated," said Mr Crabb.

"I am tremendously honoured to be chosen as mayor by my colleagues and hope to repay their trust."