LIBERAL Democrat councillor Marion Le Poidevin has been appointed as the 771st mayor of Poole.

Cllr Le Poidevin, who was first elected to the borough council in 2011, took up the role at the mayor-making ceremony on Friday.

Her deputy for the coming year will be Conservative councillor Bryan Dion with Poole People’s Julie Bagwell named as Sheriff.

Following the merger of Poole council with neighbouring local authorities in Bournemouth and Christchurch earlier this year, its civic positions now fall under the oversight of charter trustees.

The trustees are all of the BCP Council members who represent wards covering the borough.

Fears had been raised that the change could result in the traditions surrounding the mayoralty being “downgraded”.

On Friday, Cllr Le Poidevin became only the 16th woman to hold the position in the more than 700 years it has existed.

She was nominated to the position by her fellow Newtown and Heatherlands ward councillor Millie Earl.

Speaking after her appointment at Poole Civic Centre, Cllr Le Poidevin said the position was still as necessary as it had been, despite the council merger.

“There was a lot of concern that the three towns would lose their identities and one of the ways to prevent that is through the mayoralty,” she said.

“If residents did not want a mayor they would not invite us to events and there would be nothing to do.

“As it stands I had three engagements planned for Saturday – although I gather one has been called off due to the weather.”

Cllr Le Poidevin’s deputy for the next year will be Cllr Bryan Dion, the husband of former councillor and former mayor Cllr Xena Dion.

The retired US Army colonel said he was “looking forward” to supporting Cllr Le Poidevin at events and functions.

Cllr Bagwell will take on the position of sheriff – one of only 15 in existence across the country – which had been held by Elaine Atkinson.