Councillor Paul Woodward was appointed as mayor at last night’s Reading Borough Council (RBC) AGM.

He takes over from Cllr Debs Edwards, while Cllr David Stevens will take the role of deputy mayor.

Cllr Woodward said it was a position he did not seek but he accepted the nomination ‘partly because Jo Lovelock is such a persuasive person’.

He paid tribute to the outgoing mayor for working ‘incredibly hard’ and being ‘exemplary’.

The new mayor added: “It is a town worth representing. I am honoured to have been chosen.

“The promotion of Reading as a tourist destination is something I want to sort out this year.”

His chosen charities for 2019/20 are: Reading Family Aid, South Central Ambulance Trust, and Sport In Mind.

Fellow Church ward Cllr Ashley Pearce joked that Paul Woodward ‘earned the unfortunate name of kebab killer from friends’ in his role as licensing chair.

He said he is ‘thrilled to welcome Paul as mayor’.

Cllr Edwards retires from her mayoral duty after one year in the role and will  take on the new mayor’s previous role as Licensing chairman.

It was the second time she has been mayor of Reading.

Cllr Debs Edwards said: “To be the mayor of Reading has been a fantastic honour.

“I have been delighted to represent the Reading community for the past year.

“I love Reading. The town is an inspirational place to work in. You all have supported me, fund raised with me, worked with me and kept me in check.”

Cllr Ennis thanked Debs Edwards for being ‘light hearted and fun’ and committed to fundraising.

He said: “Debs shines out as a beacon and model for all. If we don’t find women like you to get involved in politics then we are all worse off.”

Cllr Edwards raised around £10,000 in her year as mayor, although figures have not been completely finalised yet.