THE final ever chairman of East Dorset District Council was sworn in at the authority's annual meeting on Monday evening.

Cllr Toni Coombs, who was first elected to East Dorset District Council in May 1999, is now serving her first term as chairman.

She succeeds Cllr Derek Burt who has held the position for the past year.

Cllr Coombs was also elected to Dorset County Council in 2001 and was cabinet member for children from 2005 to 2015.

“It is a huge honour to be elected as the final chairman of East Dorset District Council," she said.

"This council will be leaving a positive and long-lasting legacy for the residents of East Dorset. I look forward to representing the authority within the local community and across the county.

Her chosen charities for the year are Macmillan Cancer Support and Mosaic Family Support, who support bereaved children and their families.

Cllr Andy Skeats, East Dorset District Council's portfolio holder for community, said: “Toni is a first class councillor. She is reliable, dependable and committed, and held in extremely high regard by so many.

"Her previous achievements are down to her hard work and determination and I know what a great ambassador she will be in her year as chairman.”

Cllr Barry Goringe was elected to serve as deputy chairman on Monday