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Boston's 483rd Mayor chalks up a first

Boston's new Mayor - it's 483rd and the first from Northern Ireland - has called on fellow councillors to be "innovative" as the UK enters a new era on the world stage.

Cllr Bernard Rush (known to all as Brian) said wearing the "red robes of Boston" was a very proud moment in his life and would make the people of Omagh, his home town, proud.

He also said his late mother, Jean Frances but known to all as Jenny and the family matriarch, would have also been so proud to tell all: "That's my boy up there. Yes, he's the Mayor, God love him."

Cllr Rush was proposed by Cllr Yvonne Stevens and seconded by Cllr David Brown. Cllr Stevens said she had known Cllr Rush since 1988 and a conversation with him after Mass one Sunday had triggered her involvement with local politics.

She said: "He is driven and dedicated, extremely professional in all he does, and a kind, warm and approachable individual. I am pleased to call him my friend."

Cllr Rush placed the chain of officer on the new Mayoress, his wife, Jayne, sealing their new partnership with a kiss.

There was laughter in the packed council chamber when he came to place the chain of office around the neck of his Deputy Mayor, Cllr Barrie Pierpoint. Their height difference saw Cllr Pierpoint drop to his knees  to accommodate Cllr Rush who quipped: "Arise, Sir Barrie."

Cllr Alison Austin seconded Cllr Rush's proposal for his deputy. She said Cllr Pierpoint was a talented individual who had a successful career in marketing and management and would help form a strong Mayoral team.

Deputy Mayoress is Miss June Petherick, Cllr Pierpoint's cousin.

Outgoing Mayor and Mayoress, Cllr Stephen Woodliffe and his wife, Catharine, were praised for their efforts by Cllr Peter Bedford, who gave a resume of some of the events they had attended as Boston's ambassadors.

Cllr Paul Gleeson seconded the thanks, saying they had attended more than 200 functions.

Cllr Woodliffe thanked his wife for her unstinting support, saying she often had to work extra hours in order to accommodate their duties. He thanked outgoing Deputy Mayor, Cllr Maureen Dennis, and Deputy Mayoress Helen Staples for their support.

He had advice for Cllr Rush saying he would have to think on his feet, quoting an example of an event where the person introducing him covered the main elements in the carefully-rehearsed speech he had put together and he had to very quickly come up with something new.

He told Cllr Rush he would be in the capable hands of the Mayor's officers, Alison Hull, Andrew Lamming and Alec Wilson, who he also thanked for all their assistance.

New Mayor's Scout is Mikey Dore and the new Mayoress's Guide is Jessica Winrow. Cllr Woodliffe thanked outgoing Scout Dax Blackhorse-Hull and outgoing Guide Jordan Smith, handing both presentation plaques.

At the Annual General Meeting of the council, Cllr Michael Cooper was elected Leader of the council. Deputy Leaders are Cllr Michael Brookes and Cllr Aaron Spencer.

The new Cabinet is: Cllr Michael Cooper, Leader; Cllr Michael Brookes, Deputy Leader and with main responsibility for waste services; Cllr Aaron Spencer, Deputy Leader with responsibility for finance; Cllr Paul Skinner, town centre; Cllr Claire Rylott, grounds and open spaces, and Cllr Martin Griggs, housing, property and community.

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Boston's new Mayoral party. The 483rd Mayor, Cllr Brian Rush is congratulated by his Deputy, Cllr Barrie Pierpoint. Right is Mayoress Jayne Rush and left Deputy Mayoress June Petherick