KNUTSFORD’S new mayor is ‘honoured’ to serve the town and has vowed to focus on the needs of young people.

Cllr Colin Banks was installed at the annual town council meeting on Monday by outgoing mayor Cllr Peter Coan.

The mayor-making comes just one year after he was elected as a councillor.

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Cllr Banks said: “As well as being a tremendous honour to be elected town mayor by my fellow councillors, I am conscious that I am new to the council and new to the town.

Knutsford Guardian: Knutsford's new mayor Cllr Colin Banks has vowed to focus on the needs of young peopleKnutsford's new mayor Cllr Colin Banks has vowed to focus on the needs of young people (Image: Knutsford Town Council)

“I moved here 12 years ago when my wife, Christine and I intended to marry.

“It is a testament to how friendly a place Knutsford is that I am now in this position with a packed-out school hall at the mayor making.”

Sadly, the mayor’s son Michael, 33, died recently from a brain tumour, leaving partner Rhea, and son Presley.

Cllr Banks lost his first wife, Marie, to bowel cancer in 2006 and has two other children, Jenny and Alex.

His wife Christine’s children Lilly and Nicky now live with the couple and they have all become a close-knit family.

“I want to carry on as mayor,” said Cllr Banks. “My son would have been disappointed if I hadn’t.”

After a career in the science industry selling lab equipment, he retired last year, and said he had been expecting a ‘life of leisure’ until he was encouraged to stand for election.

“Last May, when an unprecedented change in the town council took place, 10 independents were elected,” he said.

“Party politics is seen as less important in government at this local level.

“I am proud to say that all our councillors work so well together and any differences are expressed respectfully.

“We’re just ordinary guys wanting to help.”

Cllr Banks is keen to bring people together.

“My aim is to emphasise that we live in one town,” he said. “No stigma should be attached to living in one neighbourhood or another.”

Knutsford Guardian: Cllr Colin Banks and wife Christine run a walking groupCllr Colin Banks and wife Christine run a walking group (Image: Supplied)

The mayor plans to hold fundraising events in different areas to support two chosen charities.

The first is Just Drop In, which offers free counselling to teenagers in schools and at a Knutsford office.

Cllr Banks said: “Mental health is the hidden sickness in our society and I think Just Drop In is an invaluable asset.”

The Welcome is his second charity.

“This is yards from where I live and offers so much,” he said.

“A hub for local people, it seeks to reach out to provide a plethora of services.”

A community café, language lessons, a boxing club for young people, woodland crafts, meals on wheels and advice on benefits and housing are among its many offerings.

“They co-ordinate The Bread and Butter Thing which sells surplus food at around 25 per cent of cost,” he said.

The mayor also pledged his support to improve patient health care and wellbeing.

Cllr Banks said: “I am committed to continuing Cllr Coan’s excellent work on the proposed new medical facilities so badly needed.

“We are way past the time when residents have to sit in drafty, mildewed offices in Victorian buildings with doctors.

“We will try our best to get funding. It is long over due.

“It will be a busy year but I am very excited.

“I have great pride in Knutsford. It is a great place to live.”