A MAN who has been a part of Earley Town Council for more than eight years has promised to keep the town moving forward in his year as mayor.

Conservative Cllr Tim Chambers took the chain of office at the annual meeting of the council on Wednesday last week from fellow Tory Cllr Peter Willis, who lost his Radstock seat in this month's elections.

Taking up his role, Cllr Chambers, who had previously held the title of deputy mayor, said: "I would obviously like to thank Peter for all of his hard work in Earley. Peter speaks of the town wherever he goes and has done an excellent job at bringing Earley into people's thoughts and minds."

Clllr Willis added: "It has been an honour to serve as mayor and I would like to thank all councillors for their friendship, advice and support."

Cllr Chambers faced competition from the Lib Dems, who hold six seats on the council. Lib Dem leader Tahir Maher said: "We won a seat at the elections and I think we should have an opportunity to have a mayor, not necessarily now, but certainly within the four year term."

But Conservative leader Norman Jorgensen said: "We have an electoral system that is first past the post and the people of Earley have elected a Conservative council. In the past, whichever party is in control of the council has held the mayor's seat and that is the way I see it continuing in this term and in the future."

The role of deputy mayor will now be filled by Conservative Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, who was absent from the meeting. Councillors also voted in the same colleagues to run two of the council's committees, with Cllr Michael Firmager remaining chairman of amenities and leisure and Cllr Linda Chambers continuing as chairwoman of planning. Cllr Norman Jorgensen was elected as chairman of policy and resources after fellow Tory Cllr Shakeel Khan lost his seat in the elections.