THE new Mayor of Christchurch will "always choose what is right", says the leader of the council.

At the traditional annual council meeting in Christchurch on Tuesday, Cllr Nick Geary was sworn in as this year's Mayor, serving for the second time in his council career.

Formally proposing him during the ceremony at Highcliffe Castle, leader of the council, David Flagg said: "In the time I have known him, I have found him to be a man with the highest principles and integrity who is respected by residents, fellow councillors and officers, and who has always endeavoured to carry out his duty as a council and community representative."

He added: "From his reputation I know he will always choose what is right over what is popular, what's needed by many over what's wanted by few and what's in the wider interest of the community."

Addressing the annual meeting, Cllr Geary said it was appropriate to take time to reflect on the past year's achievements, 'despite the uncertainty of local government reorganisation.'

He will be raising funds for the Christchurch Food Festival Education Trust, Christchurch Lifesaving Club and Highcliffe Scouting Group.

Cllr Lesley Dedman was elected deputy mayor for the next year.

Thanks were also given to outgoing Mayor, Cllr Trish Jamieson, for her commitment to residents of Christchurch.

Cllr David Jones said: "She has worked tirelessly for her charities. She has worked to preserve, protect and defend the borough."

He praised her for being able to "stay in control" during heated talks over local government reorganisation.

Cllr Jamieson said: "It has been a great honour and most enjoyable; I can't believe this year could go so quickly. I have been most impressed by the number of volunteers we have in Christchurch working tirelessly for the residents."

A minutes' silence was held in memory of Conservative agent and honorary freeman, Judy Jamieson who sadly passed away last month.

Cllr Ray Nottage, deposed as council leader earlier this year and former portfolio holders Cllr Bernie Davis, Cllr Sue Spittle and newly elected Cllr Paul Hilliard did not attend.