WORTHING’S new mayor has pledged to ‘promote the aspirations’ of residents in his forthcoming year in office.
Canadian-born Michael Donin was elected to the ceremonial role on Friday at a special meeting of the borough council at Worthing Town Hall.
Outgoing mayor Vic Walker spoke of his honour of attending nearly 400 engagements in his time.
“It’s an amazing town,” he said.
“I have been so impressed with the people. Thank you all for electing me as mayor. It has been the greatest privilege.”
Mr Donin, councillor for Durrington, becomes the 99th mayor and will be joined by deputy mayor Sean McDonald, a former police officer and his deputy mayoress Vicky Vaughan.
Guests at the traditional mayor-making ceremony applauded as Mr Donin took the oath of office, dressed in the borough’s lavish mayoral attire.
Worthing and Adur will have a colonial feel this year, with Mr Donin’s chairman counterpart in Adur hailing from the Bahamas.
He said: “Thank you fellow councillors for giving me this honour and privilege to be mayor for 2015/16. I will do my best to promote the aspirations of residents.
“I will also do my best to promote Worthing socially and economically by working closely with Alex Bailey (chief executive) as well as the leader and leader of the opposition.”
Worthing youth mayor Harry Williams gave a rousing speech before being presented with his chain of office.
He said: “What is a young person? Is it someone who doesn’t care about their community? Is it someone who sits inside and watches TV all day? Is it somebody who is a drain on society?
“If you believe any of those, I invite you, implore you, to come to our youth council meetings and prepare to be amazed and inspired by our young people.”
Mr Donin’s chosen charities will be Kamelia Kids, Guild Care and Canadian Roots.
The latter is a nod to his roots, having been born in Toronto before moving to Montreal.
After his father was discharged from the Canadian Army in 1946, he owned two hairdressing salons in Montreal.
Mr Donin joined those family businesses in 1968.
He and his family moved to England following political problems with Quebec French separatists in the late 1970s. His partner, Linda, will accompany him as mayoress.
He worked for Wella for 25 years and was elected to the council in 2006.