OSWESTRY'S new mayor has pledged to use his term to continue to heal divides in the council chamber after he was sworn in on Monday night.

Councillor John Price has succeeded Cllr Sandy Best who carried out the role for the past year, while the position of deputy mayor has been taken up by Cllr Duncan Kerr.

Cllr Price was elected onto Oswestry Town Council in 2013, and becomes mayor following his term as deputy mayor as per council tradition.

The well-known bus driver, known by many as “John the Bus”, will be joined by Joyce Barrow who will be his mayoress during his time in office.

“I sincerely thank all my colleagues for the trust they have put in me,” said Cllr Price, who added it was an honour to serve as mayor.

“It is a great honour to be elected as mayor of this historic town in which the office dates back to 1674.

“I truly commit to carrying out my duties as mayor to the best of my ability, always respecting tradition and the expectations in the position as mayor.

“In the last few months we have had some upset in the chamber, and in my view, we have come out of that period stronger as a team, and we recognise the many opportunities and challenges that we face going forward.

“Our common purpose continues to be to build a strong and vibrant Oswestry, working together with our main partners, including Shropshire Council.”

During his speech, Cllr Price also gave a special mention to the outgoing mayor and her mayoress Marilyn Taylor, for their work during their spell in office.

He added: “Being mayor certainly won’t be about me, but it will be about representing the town and the people of Oswestry.

“Our agenda for the upcoming year is considerable, and it is important that the councillors work together, regardless of political and personal views, for the greater good.

“In becoming mayor, I am following in the footsteps of councillor Sandy Best.

“Sandy has been a resolute and robust leader in this council, bringing together new and experienced councillors.

“I would like to congratulate Sandy on a successful, busy and challenging year in office. In addition, I sincerely thank Marilyn for her support given to Sandy.

“I want to stress how fortunate and proud I feel to be elected as the mayor of this town.

“I’m sure we can continue to build on the many successes of this council, doing at all times what is best for this town.”

Cllr Price was not the only person to offer thanks to the outgoing mayor and mayoress, with councillors Rebecca Evans and Rosie Radford putting forward a vote of thanks.

Outgoing mayor Cllr Best reflected on her time in office during the meeting. She said: “I would like to thank all my fellow councillors and the staff at the council for their considerable support, kindness and patience throughout the year.

“I would also like to thank my Mayoress Marilyn for her unstinting support throughout the year.

“It has been a special year for me and having her support and encouragement and company has created memories that I will look back fondly upon in the years to come.”

Cllr Kerr was installed as the new deputy mayor after months of controversy in the chamber regarding the role earlier this year.

He said: “I look forward to working with John and Joyce to serve the people of Oswestry.

“We want to continue to build a better, stronger and more resilient community, that’s what we’re all here for.

“My thanks to my fellow councillors and the people of Oswestry for putting their faith in a councillor not originally from here.

“Congratulations to John – I think there has been excellent spirit and camaraderie tonight, and I look forward to trying to maintain that.”