Councillor Phil Pester and his wife Pam take the reins at official Mayor’s Introduction ceremony last night (Thursday).

Bideford welcomed its new mayor, Cllr Phil Pester, at its traditional Mayor’s Introduction ceremony last night (Thursday).

Outgoing mayor Cllr Mervyn Langmead formally handed over the reins, and paid tribute to the last 12 months.

He told a packed Bideford Town Hall: “It was one of the proudest moments of my life to be mayor of our Little White Town, where my wife and I were both born and that is close to our hearts.”

Cllr Langmead presented two cheques, each for £2,000, to his two chosen charities, Dr Buckland’s Children’s Holiday Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Society for Dementia South West.

Cllr Pester said he was looking forward to the next 12 months as mayor of Bideford.

He said: “As a council we are constantly being asked to pick up the shortfall from Torridge District and Devon County Councils.

“This puts a great strain on office staff.”

He said grass cutting was high on the council’s agenda, and he hoped to see work start on the ‘blots’ of Brunswick Wharf and Tantons Hotel.

“If you’ve got a problem, please contact your local councillor,” he added.

“Any problems, we are here to serve you as a community.”