SMITHILLS councillor Carole Swarbrick has been unveiled as the new Mayor of Bolton for the next municipal year.

Cllr Swarbrick was inaugurated as the borough council’s 42nd mayor during a special ceremony in Bolton Town Hall, where she received the ceremonial chains from the outgoing Cllr Martin Donaghy, who was confirmed as deputy mayor for the year.

The new mayor appointed her good friend Jaleh Hayes as her mayoress for her year as the borough’s first citizen.

Speaking during her confirmation, the mother of two and recent grandmother outlined ambitions to “capture the richness and diversity of Bolton” by asking residents to send in photographs of themselves in their favourite parts of the town to feature in a special ‘Humans of Bolton’ book.

She nominated Bolton Hospice, Bolton Lads and Girls Club and Urban Outreach as her mayoral charities for the year.

The 60-year-old is originally from a town called Blackhall in the North East and has been a Liberal Democrat councillor in Smithills since 1996.

The gathered guests heard Cllr Swarbrick speak of her 40-year career in education, where she worked largely with young people with special needs, a role which left her feeling “privileged and proud.”

Explaining about her life in Bolton, she said: “We settled in Bolton because we believed it would be a good place to bring up our two boys and I have not been disappointed.”

“One of the attributes of this town which is sometimes overlooked is the spirit, warmth, humour and caring nature of Bolton’s residents.”

She said she had been “overwhelmed” by the support she received when her husband Tom died suddenly several years ago.

Cllr Swarbrick faced a nervous wait to see if she could take up the important ceremonial position as she was re-elected as a Smithills Councillor earlier this month.

She said: “I must thank the residents of Smithills who remained loyal, giving me the wonderful opportunity to be Bolton’s first citizen.”

Officially proposing Cllr Swarbrick as Mayor, deputy council leader, Cllr Linda Thomas said: “Both Carole and Jaleh may be small in stature but they will be a dynamic duo for Bolton.”

Liberal Democrat leader Roger Hayes, a good friend of Cllr Swarbrick and husband of Mayoress Mrs Hayes, paid tribute to the new civic leader, explaining that she wishes to be referred to as Madame Mayor, adding: “anyone who addresses her as the traditional Mr Mayor will be offered a voucher for Specsavers.”

He said: “Carole will be an excellent first citizen for Bolton and a very good ambassador for the council.”

Tributes were also paid to the outgoing Mayor, Cllr Donaghy, whose year has included a successful campaign to get scores of apprentices into work.

Conservative leader David Greenhalgh, addressing Cllr Donaghy and his Mayoresses Gay Wharton and Jacqueline Tracy, said: “You have been wonderful first citizens of this town.

He added: “Martin, whatever the occasion, be it sombre or happy, you have been a fantastic orator and have delivered speeches from the heart for the whole Bolton family.”