THE outgoing mayor Oswestry, Councillor John Price, believes he has become a better man for his experience in the chains of office in the last 12 months.

Cllr Price will be step down next week, to be replaced by incoming incumbent Cllr Duncan Kerr, after serving his year as leader of the council.

Having placed working with groups who are without a voice, such as the disabled, lonely and elderly ­– Cllr Price believes he has been able to grow as a person working in the environment, as well as meeting new people and the support of his mayoress, Joyce Barrow.

And on reflection, Cllr Price believes he has carried out his civic duties well.

"I think I've done well – I've come out of it far better than I went it, and I'm a richer man for it," said Cllr Price.

"I'm richer in friends, I'm richer in knowledge and richer in every conceivable way you can think of – it's been wonderful.

I've always been very Oswestrian, and that's why I've always spent my time working in Oswestry. I'm just a bloke from the town and I love Oswestry.

"I love the rural areas, and it's the people who are a different breed.

"I hope that I have offered representation of the local person – that's what a lot of people have said to me, that I've been here forever.

"There were some lovely comments, but from going to be a bus driver to the mayor of the town, it doesn't sound quite right, but I will always be a bus driver.

"And being mayor was about that localism, and supporting local people and people knew that I care. That's why I've always been a councillor, because I care.

"I hope that I've given a voice to the groups in Oswestry that don't have one, such as the elderly, the lonely and the disabled.

"Someone said to me 'John, you can never fix or cure the world on your own' but I had a damn good go at it and I'm still going to continue to have a good go at it.

"If everyone did, it could be a better world."

Mrs Barrow, who is also a Shropshire councillor in her own right, has been at Cllr Price's side throughout his year in the role, and he thanked her for her help.

The pair represented the council at the hugely-popular Oswestry 10K, the Armistice Day commemorations, as well as numerous community events, something Cllr Price says he is looking forward to continue that work.

"I think I got very luck with Joyce as my mayoress as she was a lot more outgoing than me," he added.

"I'm not the easiest guy to get on with but I think everywhere went, we genuinely had a great time and a great relationship with people.

"We had a lot of fun with pensioners and the older groups, such as the Stroke Club – everything about it was great.

"Starting the Oswestry 10K was huge for me. The guys on the microphone asked me for a comment, but I couldn't, I was too choked up.

"It's the first time in my life I had nothing to say – I was gobsmacked when you see all these people from all over the country coming to our town, and it's me, a bus driver-turned-mayor starting it, it's unbelievable.

"I was proud to be mayor at the Armistice Day parade.

"I fully intended to carry on with my community work – I can't turn my back on what I've done. I want to put more community events together, and I want people to come to me with their problems.

"The people of Oswestry have welcomed me into their hearts and it's my turn to repay that. I want to do more for the socially isolated.

"I wish Duncan all the best for his year as mayor, and I want to thank Joyce for her support, all the councillors and officials at Oswestry Town Council and all of the residents for their support.

"I want to thank people for inviting me to their events, and to all the people who have said 'you've done alright, John'.

"And I'm going to do that parachute jump when it's safe to do so!"