Chris Tratt installed as mayor

PUBLISHED: 14:48 03 June 2008 | UPDATED: 21:53 15 June 2010

IN a break with tradition, Honiton's ancient mayor-making ceremony was held outside the council chamber on Monday night.

IN a break with tradition, Honiton's ancient mayor-making ceremony was held outside the council chamber on Monday night.St Rita's Conference Centre, in Ottery Moor Lane, was packed during the spectacle, attended by former mayors, dignitaries from district and county councils, and representatives from a cross-section of community organisations. Town crier Dave Retter and town clerk Lyn Hargood ensured the ceremony kept to strict tradition.It was a poignant occasion for former deputy mayor Councillor Chris Tratt, a Honitonian, who succeeded Councillor Vernon Whitlock as mayor.Giving his address, after being installed as mayor, was a moment Councillor Tratt had dreaded, he admitted. He said he is a man who likes to be judged on his actions, not words."I'm delighted that you have been able to join me on this most important day in my life," he said.He promised to do the job to the best of his ability and paid tribute to outgoing mayor Councillor Whitlock, saying thanks to his efforts the town council was now much more responsive to the needs of local residents.He said it was fitting that he and deputy mayor Councillor Vivienne Ash are both district councillors at a time when boundary changes and other pressures could impact upon Honiton.He said he liked Councillor Whitlock's legacy - a "can do" attitude.Councillor Tratt ended his speech by paying tribute to his wife of 40 years, Jean, saying she had put up with his decades in the Special Constabulary and now had to contend with civic duties.Councillor Ash thanked her fellow councillors for their support, and she congratulated Councillor Tratt on his appointment, describing him as "an excellent ambassador for the town".She spoke of Honiton in glowing terms, saying it is "wonderful, with glorious surroundings".In particular, she paid tribute to the town's youth, saying they have been "damaged" by negative publicity. She praised the efforts of Councillor Whitlock in forging greater links with Honiton Community College and the youth of the town. As a result, she said, Honiton Town Council had "good dialogue" with young people. A youth council is likely to be set up, she revealed.Councillor Ash thanked people in Honiton who have "supported and encouraged" her as a councillor, and she paid a heartfelt tribute to her partner Roy.

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