COUNCILLOR Rose Williams has been sworn in as the town’s new mayor following a ceremony at Reading Town Hall.

Retiring leader, Councillor Mohammed Ayub, gave a speech at the council’s Annual General Meeting in The Concert Hall on Wednesday evening, wishing the new mayor the best of luck in her new role.

Cllr Ayub – the first citizen of Reading - was the first to sign a special book of condolences for the victims of the Manchester attack.

The book will be in the council’s civic offices as of Thursday morning for members of the public to sign.

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Reading Borough Council’s staff choir performed a medley of music while the changing of the robes ceremony occurred in chambers.

Councillor Glenn Dennis was also elected as the deputy mayor.

Southcote councillor John Ennis praised the incoming leader as a true socialist and someone who puts others before herself.

He said: “She is a proud socialist in the true sense of the word. She is a caring person and is committed to the people of Reading.

“She is a mother and a grandmother and she always puts other ahead of herself.

“Rose is not an ordinary councilor. She does not get caught up in political differences and she keen to build ties within the community.

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“Until recently she was the councillor for Katesgrove, but she stepped down to look after her family, before being re-elected in 2016.

“She wants to build a community and fight for Reading and help make people’s lives better.

“I strongly believe she will be a wonderful mayor.”

Cllr Williams, Labour councillor for the Katesgrove ward, was first elected as mayor for the municipal year of 1997-98.

She elected her three chosen charities on the evening, with the City of Sanctuary, Berkshire Physically Handicapped and Able Bodied Group and Readipop all set to benefit over the next 12 months.

Councillors Jo Lovelock and Tony Page retained their respective roles as leader and deputy leader of Reading Borough Council.

There were two changes in lead members, with Councillor Paul Gittings replaced as the head of Culture, Sport and Consumer Services by Councillor Sarah Hacker.

Councillor Ennis took charge of housing in place of Councillor Richard Davies, before guests gathered in the Victoria Hall to greet the new mayor.

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Councillor Ayub added: “It has been an honour to be the mayor of Reading.

"I have had the pleasure of meeting a number of interesting people and I am confident Rose will be a good leader for Reading.

“I would like to thank my family and friends for their support throughout the year and in helping me to make it such a special year in charge.

“Thanks also to Councillor Page for nominating me to the role last year.”