BOURNEMOUTH’S next mayor will be West Southbourne councillor Chris Mayne.
The Conservative councillor was the overwhelming choice of the Tory-dominated council, ahead of Labour candidate Dennis Gritt.
He has been credited with raising thousands of pounds for charity, has chaired the Friends of Fisherman’s Walk and has played cricket at Dean Park for more than 50 years.
Cllr Mayne was first elected as a Liberal Democrat in 2003 but lost his seat when the Conservatives returned to power four years later. He stood as an independent in a by-election before returning to the council as a Tory in 2011.
Cllr John Adams moved that the council choose him as mayor, saying he would be a “proud ambassador for Bournemouth”.
He said Cllr Mayne was an all-round cricketer, a musician, and former head chorister at St Peter’s Church. He had organised events for the last three mayors and raised “thousands of pounds for the mayor’s charities”.
Cllr Mayne, whose family were in the council chamber to see him selected, said his term of office would be “a very challenging year”.
He added: “I look forward to serving the town and to giving Bournemouth 100 per cent.”
He paid tribute to the opposition’s choice of candidate, Cllr Gritt, adding: “Hopefully, one day Dennis might get the mayoralty.”
Labour group leader Cllr Ben Grower had proposed Cllr Gritt, who he said had served a total of 17 years on the council and was “by far the longest serving member whose name is before you today”.
After heavily losing the vote, Cllr Gritt joked: “I demand a recount.”
He wished the mayor-elect “a highly successful and enjoyable year”.
The current mayor, Cllr Rod Cooper, was chosen to be deputy mayor when Cllr Mayne becomes the first citizen in May.