WESTHOUGHTON'S new mayor said being the town's figurehead for 2014-15 will be the perfect way to celebrate his 50th birthday.

Cllr Kevan Jones will formally assume mayoral responsibilities in May after he was nominated for the role by town council colleagues on April 14.

The 49-year-old will also be marking the 30th anniversary of his association with the town, after he started working there in 1984 before moving to his current home in Common Street in 1996 from Heaton.

Cllr Jones said: “To be mayor of this wonderful town will be a great honour.

"It is the perfect time to put my admiration for the people and love of this town into one big celebration."

He first became a Bolton borough councillor in 1996, and served as member for Westhoughton South for four years before he stepped aside for personal reasons.

During his spell he sat on the education committee and contributed to the overhaul of provision in Westhoughton, a policy that led to the founding of The Gates Primary School, where he is now a school governor.

Cllr Jones regained a Westhoughton South seat on Bolton Council in 2010 and became a town councillor for the first time, representing Central ward, in 2011.

His first experiences of the town came working at the John Holt Sports Centre, where he coached up to 150 youngsters in a variety of sports, including canoeing and abseiling.

Cllr Jones said: "I struck up a great accord with the youth of Westhoughton straight away.

"I realised how forward thinking they were and immediately felt at home with people from the town."

Professionally a train manager for Cross Country, he has selected Derian House Children's Hospice and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution as his nominated charities.

Cllr Jones said: "I used to have a boat and the RNLI's slogan 'train one, save many' resonates with me.

"Derian House does a wonderful job looking after these poorly children.

"I'm proud to have them as my two chosen charities."

Westhoughton's new mayor will be officially dedicated as Cllr Christopher Peacock’s successor on Sunday, May 18, at Westhoughton Parish Church.