CONSERVATIVE Cllr Norman Critchley, who has represented Bromley Cross since 1988, became Bolton’s First Citizen yesterday, taking over from outgoing mayor Cllr Anthony Connell.

Over the next 12 months, Cllr Critchley and his wife, Delyse, who will be Mayoress, will carry out civic duties across the borough and raise funds for a number of local good causes.

After the mayor-making ceremony in the council chamber, Cllr Critchley was joined by councillors and local dignitaries at a drinks reception and luncheon at the Albert Halls.

Cllr Critchley said: “I give sincere thanks to Cllr Anthony Connell and his wife, Maureen, for being wonderful ambassadors during this municipal year.

“I am looking forward to meeting so many people, organisations and businesses during my year in office.

“I cannot express enough the gratitude of being given this highest honour. I have a reputation for speaking my mind and, once my speech was vetted, all I was left with was a small piece of paper which said: ‘Thank you and good day’.

“But as Baldrick said: ‘I have a cunning plan’.”

Cllr Critchley then went on to pay tribute to the people of Bolton. He said they tackled any problems they faced head on.

He also paid tribute to his ward colleagues and past ward colleagues, the late Barbara Hurst and the late Donald Carr, who were an inspiration to him.

The mayor’s charities for this year are the Manchester Heart Centre at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and the Bolton Thoracic Unit at the Royal Bolton Hospital, Diabetes UK North West, in memory of his good friend Donald Carr, and Bolton Destitute Animal Shelter, because of his wife’s love of animals.

Cllr Connell, the outgoing mayor, said: “I have met so many wonderful people and have had so many moments which I will treasure.”

Cllr Connell will become deputy mayor.