EXETER'S new Lord Mayor says his appointment is a “great honour”.

Long-serving councillor Kevin Mitchell was officially sworn into the politically neutral, ceremonial role at the council’s annual meeting on Tuesday, May 16.

The Liberal Democrat member for Duryard and St James, who has been a councillor for almost 20 years and served as deputy in 2008/09 and 2011/12, said his is a story of being “twice bridesmaid and now the bride”.

Addressing fellow councillors, Mr Mitchell, who was born and raised in the city and is a nurse at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, thanked his family.

He announced FORCE Cancer Charity will be his chosen charity for the year.

“I know from listening to my patients and their relatives that on a daily basis FORCE provides huge support, but in order to continue to provide its current services it needs to raise £1.5 million a year.

“So I’m really looking to raising its profile this year, whilst raising money for our project which is refurbishment of the oncology outpatients department at the RD and E Hospital.”

Cllr Mitchell concluded: “Exeter is a tolerant city. Exeter is an increasingly diverse city. Exeter is a growing and thriving city and Exeter is my city, and a place that I’ve always been proud to call my home.

“So, Semper Fidelis (the city’s motto that means ‘aways loyal’) and thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart for this great honour and I promise I will not let you down.”

Outgoing Lord Mayor Yolonda Henson was thanked for her service to the city after her year in the role, which coincides with the end of her time as a councillor – more than 40 years since first being elected.

She raised £21,450 for Exeter Dementia Action Alliance during her year as Lord Mayor.

“I shall miss you,” Mrs Henson said. “I shall miss the thrust of debate, because that’s what I enjoyed.”