STOURPORT’S Mayor has opened his heart to The Shuttle about his depression, which has affected him carrying out his duties in his year of office.

Gary Talbot says he now hopes he can draw a line under a row with fellow Independent Community and Health Concern (ICHC) councillors over his attendance record.

Mr Talbot said he would continue with his mayoral duties after missing several appointments in the last few months, including the town’s Remembrance Day parade.

The absences resulted in ICHC leader Nigel Thomas calling in November for Mr Talbot to resign due to ill health in a letter headed “final warning”.

Mr Talbot’s attendance has improved since the row was sparked and both men now say they hope that will be the end of the issue.

Mr Talbot said: “I am not resigning, I am carrying on and I was very angry about the letter. It was very ambiguous, saying we would like to help you – why don’t you resign?

“On Remembrance Day I was ill with a viral infection which prevented me from going outside and my doctor said had I gone out, I could have infected someone.”

Mr Talbot said he also suffered from depression, which caused him to miss “one or two” appointments.

“This affects everything I do in life,” he added. “Sometimes I will be going out the door, all ready to go and then will just have to turn around and come back in.

“It is not something I can really control and anybody who has ever had depression will know you cannot just say ‘pull yourself together’.

“I have a wonderful Mayoress [Sarah Bowman] who helps me out. I have attended appointments during the past week and look forward to carrying on with my duties.

“I would like to think this is all over now.”

Mr Thomas said: ”We have not fallen out but we are very clear he has to carry out his duties. He has said he will carry out his duties and, hopefully, that will be the end of it now.”