The new mayor of Bideford has pledged to work closely with businesses in the town.

Doug Bushby was officially handed the reins at Bideford’s mayor’s introduction ceremony last night (Thursday), after being voted as mayor on May 10.

With the support of his wife, mayoress Sheila Bushby, he takes the role from former Bideford mayor Dermot McGeough.

Mr Bushby will be supported by his deputy Peter Christie, who is the longest serving councillor on the town council.

In a speech to the packed town hall, Mr Bushby said: “We are so fortunate in Bideford to have so many groups working together for the good of the town.

“During my year in office I intend to work closely with them all, in particular the Bideford Town Centre Partnership and the Chamber of Commerce, as I am a serving member of both.”

Mr Bushby was born in Bideford and served as deputy mayor last year.

Councillor Bushby was also the driving force behind the employment of the town council’s maintenance operatives.

The new mayor said he hoped to use his position to help both improve the town for the residents and businesses.

He added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Dermot’s efforts during his mayoral term.

“I am fortunate enough to work with an excellent team and my thanks go to them all for making the position of mayor so enjoyable.”

Paying tribute to the new mayor, Cllr McGeough said Mr Bushby always worked effortlessly behind the scenes for the good of the town.

“He puts so much into everything,” said Cllr McGeough.

“When he first became a councillor he had no aspirations of becoming mayor of Bideford.

“But I tried to convince him to take office because he’s the right man for the job.

“He’s always working hard behind the scenes and I can assure Bideford he will do a great job.”

Cllr McGeough, who owns DM Scaffolding, thanked his wife Sarah for her support during his time in office.

After handing over the usual trinkets, including the gavel, mayor’s car flag and keys to the wine cellar, Cllr McGeough received a gift from the new mayor - a scaffolding belt.

“You probably haven’t seen one of those for a long time,” added Mr Bushby.