KNUTSFORD has welcomed a new mayor.

Cllr Mike Houghton was installed at the annual town council meeting on Monday by outgoing mayor Cllr Stewart Gardiner.

His wife Kate was invested as mayoress and Cllr Jan Nicholson was elected deputy mayor.

Scout Jamie Duncan is the new mayor’s cadet.

Councillors joined mayors from neighbouring towns and the new mayor’s family for the mayor making ceremony at Knutsford Academy.

Mavis Parr, 92, widow of the late Ron Parr, the town council’s first mayor elected in 1974, was among the special guests.

“I feel honoured,” said Cllr Mike Houghton.

“I accept the role of mayor of this quite wonderful town and promise to serve you all to the best of my ability.

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“I have lived in Knutsford with my wife Kate for more than 25 years.

“Both our children were baptised in Knutsford and attended Bexton Primary and the Academy.

“I was going to launch into a lengthy piece on how wonderful my wife is but she would be mortified with embarrassment.

Knutsford Guardian: New Knutsford mayoress Kate Houghton and mayor Cllr Mike HoughtonNew Knutsford mayoress Kate Houghton and mayor Cllr Mike Houghton

“What I will say is I love her to bits and she genuinely is my inspiration.”

Cllr Houghton said positive mental health ‘a subject very close to his heart’ will be the theme of his term in office.

The mayor will be supporting two charities which inspire children and adults to develop skills, discover hidden talents, make friends and tackle challenges.

Knutsford Scouts and the UK Men’s Shed Association will be the focus of his fundraising.

“The Scout movement develops life skills for children and young adults and promotes an active lifestyle, all of which helps enormously with mental health wellbeing,” said Cllr Houghton.

“We have a thriving Scout community in Knutsford and some amazing volunteer leaders but they need help.

“They receive no outside support. I look forward to raising as much money as we can through the various events we have planned.”

Men’s sheds are places to pursue hobbies, practice skills and enjoy making and mending.

“Those of you who watch TV’s The Repair Shop will get the idea,” said Cllr Houghton.

“Research has shown the negative impact of loneliness and isolation on a person’s health and wellbeing.

“Men typically find it more difficult to build social connections. Sheds typically attract older men but many have younger members and women.

“My ambition is to raise funds to establish a shed in Knutsford.

“It would become an independent charity so it not only needs members but people to help run it.”

Plans to develop shared community space at 60 King Street, he said, could include a shed.

Anyone interested in getting involved should contact the town council.