THE new mayor of Kidderminster has paid tribute to one of his "very, very best friends", the late former Wyre Forest councillor Mike Oborski, after being becoming the town's first citizen for 2014/15.
Mike Price, who is also a Wyre Forest district councillor for the Liberal Party for Offmore and Comberton ward, was handed the town's golden chains at a Mayor making session held in Kidderminster on Thursday last week, taking over from John Campion.
Mr Price, 62, was born in Droitwich and moved to Kidderminster in 1970 when his father got a job in the town. He moved to Stourport after his father died, where he was a Stourport town councillor between 1979 and 1984. He moved back to Kidderminster 18 years ago and was first elected to Wyre Forest District Council in 2007, following Mr Oborski's death.
He added: "I took over from Mike when he died, he was one of my very, very best friends. I have been friends with Mike and Fran Oborski for 40 years and knew them before they even got elected."
The new Mayor has also been deputy Mayor for the past year.
He told The Shuttle: "It is an absolute honour and I am so grateful for the chance to do this and I shall do my utmost to promote the town. I have had 12 months as [district council chairman] Fran Oborski's consort, so I have been to all the functions I shall go to again this year, where I got to meet a lot of people, so I have had a bit of a practice run and really enjoyed it.
"A lot of past Mayors attended last week's ceremony so their support was really nice."
Mr Price's civil partner of eight years Paul Simpson will be the Mayor's consort for the year. His Mayoral charities will be Wyre Forest Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) and the First Kidderminster Boys' Brigade.
"SARA is an absolutely wonderful organisation and solely funded by the charitable organisers and they do an excellent job and they are nice people, I think it really is a wonderful cause," he added. "The Boys' Brigade turn up to a lot of functions and any time you want them to help out with a band or marshaling, they are there. I wanted to give them a helping hand."
Outgoing Mayor Mr Campion said: "[Consort Sally Chambers] and I have had a fantastic year celebrating all that is good about Kidderminster. We have unashamedly highlighted the good things. I have enjoyed celebrating all the voluntary groups whether it be SARA who we raised £6,000 for, Mentorlink or the Severn Valley Railway - all of which depend on people giving their time.
"As first citizen of Kidderminster what stood out for me was the town's marking of Remembrance Sunday and being able to take the salute and see the hundreds of people who turned out to pay their respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice."
At last Thursday's ceremony, Labour councillor Barry McFarland was voted deputy Mayor for the year.