THE new mayor of Oswestry, Councillor Duncan Kerr, believes he and his fellow councillors can play a central role in restoring the town as COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted.

Cllr Kerr was installed as mayor at Wednesday's annual town meeting, replacing Cllr John Price, in a virtual meeting held over Zoom, while Cllrs Kerr and Price were joined by town clerk Arren Roberts at the Guildhall.

Cllr Kerr, who will be joined by Cllr Olly Rose as his consort and has not chosen to appoint a chaplain, believes his year as mayor can build on Cllr Price's good work, and hopes to make it about the people of Oswestry.

"It is a privilege and an honour to be elected as the mayor and I sincerely thank all my colleagues for the trust that you have offered me," he said.

"I commit to respecting and carrying out the duties of Mayor and representing the people of Oswestry to the best of my abilities."

He added: "Being mayor will certainly not be about me – it will be about the council I represent and the town and people of Oswestry.

“One of my aims is to host a virtual, monthly discussion forum for local people. I am committed to better understanding the issues that they face and are important to them.

"Some people might question whether Oswestry should be concerning itself with the election of a Mayor at this time.

"However, I feel that in times of adversity the town council can be a source of re-assurance to our communities that better times will come, even if there are a few changes.

"Oswestry has had a mayor for more than 400 years through the good times and the not so good times, and because it focusses solely on our town, the mayor and the council can play a vital role in seeing us through the current problems and ensuring we get back on our feet as soon as possible."

Cllr Kerr has chose the Shropshire Domestic Abuse Service (SDAS) to benefit from his mayoral fund, and it was voted that the charity received the money directly from Oswestry Town Council.

But he also committed himself to supporting other charities, including a potential Oswestry half-marathon around his garden.

Cllr Kerr finished by paying tribute to his predecessor.

"I would like to congratulate John on what has been a hugely successful year in office," he said.

"He is a well-known and popular member of the community and has brought his own style to the Office of Mayor.

"It says a lot for him that he says he is richer for the experience. Like his bus he casts a very long shadow and will be a very hard act to follow."