SMITHILLS councillor Roger Hayes has been sworn in as the new mayor of Bolton.
The former long-serving leader of the town’s Liberal Democrats was inaugurated as the town’s first citizen at a town hall ceremony yesterday.
Cllr Hayes, who announced that he is thought to be Bolton’s 150th mayor, and his mayoress, wife Jaleh, were joined by family, friends, and council colleagues for the occasion.
He revealed that his three chosen charities for his mayoral year will be Urban Outreach, City of Sanctuary Bolton, and the Royal Bolton Hospital Charitable Fund.
Cllr Hayes said: “Everybody I know who has been mayor says that discover how many wonderful people and organisations there are in Bolton and the work they do.
“I look forward to finding out about them.”
Cllr Andrew Martin, who has taken over from Cllr Hayes as Lib Dem leader, told the chamber of the 73-year-old’s love of whiskey, jazz, and sport.
Born and raised in Cheltenham, Cllr Hayes moved to Bolton in 1973 and was first elected to the council in 1984.
The Wanderers season ticket holder added: “I have never regretted putting down roots in Bolton and have found the people here to be extremely warm and welcoming.”
Cllr Hayes also joked that, having inherited a town with a Championship football team, he hoped he could end his mayoral year with Bolton as a city with a Premier League team.
Cllr Cliff Morris, the council leader, said: “I know that Roger and Jaleh are looking forward to their mayoral year, and particularly meeting the many people involved in the thousands of volunteer organisations across the borough who do so much work.”
There were also thanks for the outgoing mayor, Cllr Lynda Byrne, who now takes up the deputy mayor’s role.
She said: “It has been a great honour to serve Bolton as first citizen.
“The year has flown by and I have been fortunate to meet people from so many walks of life.”
Cllr David Greenhalgh said Cllr Byrne and her husband, Cllr John Byrne had been “great ambassadors”.
He added: “The way you have welcomed people into the mayor’s office and visited so many people across Bolton has been a credit to you and to us all.”