Cllr Mervyn Langmead promises to ‘make Bideford an even better place to live’.

Outgoing mayor Cllr Simon Inch shakes hands with new mayor Cllr Mervyn Langmead. Pic: Graham HobbsOutgoing mayor Cllr Simon Inch shakes hands with new mayor Cllr Mervyn Langmead. Pic: Graham Hobbs

BIDEFORD formally welcomed its new mayor to the chair yesterday (Thursday) as dozens of people packed into the town hall.

Councillor Mervyn Langmead was elected unanimously into the position on May 15, taking the reins from Cllr Simon Inch, who has been mayor for the past two years.

Speaking to a packed town hall and reflecting on his two years in office, Cllr Inch wished his successor all the best.

He said: “The time has finally come, after two busy years, for me to hang up my red coat, rather like a tired Father Christmas on Boxing Day.

“My advice to you, Councillor Langmead, is to keep an eye on your diary, a hand on your chains, your mind on the job, and to keep a smile on your face.”

Cllr Inch paid tribute to his mayoress, Lorraine Inch, presenting her with a bunch of flowers and calling her an ‘asset to me and to the town’.

He also handed over a cheque for £1,600 to his chosen mayor’s charity, the Macular Degeneration Society.

Receiving the chains of office, Cllr Langmead said it was a ‘great honour’ to take up the position in the town he had grown up in.

“Whatever I have done, I have done with utmost vigour and I have given it 110 per cent, as I will do during my time as mayor,” he said.

“I am not one to hold a grudge, I never have been and I never will be.”

Cllr Langmead paid tribute to his mayoress and wife of 45 years, Gill, and said his chosen mayoral charities would be the South West branch of the Dementia Society and Dr Buckland’s Children’s Holiday Foundation.

He also said he was looking forward to tidying up the town’s benches and bollards on the Quay, and witnessing developments such as Brunswick Wharf and the Port Memorial.

“I promise I will strive to make Bideford, if it’s possible, an even better place to live,” he added.

After the ceremony the party retired to the Royal Hotel in East-the-Water.

Click the gallery on the right of the page to see photos from the mayor’s parade on Sunday.