BEWDLEY’S new mayor has vowed to make the town a “better place” to live in and visit.

Long-serving parish councillor Derek Killingworth, 67, was elected to the role during the annual Bewdley Town Council meeting.

Mr Killingworth, who was also mayor in 2009 and will replace Linda Candlin, said: “To have a vote of confidence from my colleagues makes me so proud.

“I want to be free of politics so that I can work for the good of the town and its residents, especially the young people.

"I want local people to feel that they have a say in the future of the town and will look to increase our power so that we have more control and distance from Wyre Forest District Council to make decisions that we want to make.”

The mayor, also an Independent Community and Health Concern councillor, added: "There is so much more we can do to make Bewdley a better place for the people who live here and ensure it is somewhere visitors want to keep coming back to.

“I will work hard to make sure that Bewdley is not forgotten and will put as much pressure as possible on the district and county councillors to have more money spent in the town to keep it up to the high standards it deserves.”

Mr Killingworth has chosen to support Kemp Hospice and Bewdley Youth Cafe during his year as mayor, two charities he has a personal connection with.

He helped set up the youth drop-in centre, served as its chairman of trustees and ran its breakfast club for five years, while his family received support from the care hospice during his mother's illness.

Mr Killingworth said: “Bewdley Youth Cafe provides young people with a place to go, somewhere they can call their own, meet friends and enjoy themselves in a safe environment.

“Young people can easily be drawn into drugs and drink in the town and therefore there has got to be something for them.

"The work of Kemp Hospice to support people with life-limiting illnesses is also wonderful."

He hopes to raise significant sums for both charities through a range of functions and events.

The commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the First World War will also feature heavily in his mayoral plans.

The mayor has lived in Bewdley for 27 years, while his association with the town goes back even further to the days he visited the area with his father, who was a keen fisherman.

Mr Killingworth was re-elected to the town council as a representative for the Bewdley West ward in last month's elections.

He said: “I am so terribly proud that the voting public of Bewdley wanted me back and it means such a lot that the people have confidence in me to work for them.”