New mayor of Weston wants to improve town and change stigma around mental health
PUBLISHED: 15:55 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:35 21 May 2019
The new mayor of Weston-super-Mare is 'honoured' to represent the town and will fight to improve mental health among young people.
Liberal Democrats' Mark Canniford was elected for this year, with Labour's James Clayton to be deputy mayor.
Conservative Martin Williams was due to become the town's next mayor, replacing Mike Lyall, but he was not elected in Milton ward in local elections on May 2.
Having sat on Weston Town Council since 2003, Cllr Canniford is one of its longest serving members.
Cllr Canniford told the Mercury: "I am privileged to represent the people of Weston and hope I can do them justice, they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things for our town and it is an honour to have been elected by my fellow councillors.
"I would love to make improvements, not excuses, seek respect and not attention. This is how I am going to try to enjoy my mayoral year, just trying to make a few other lives a little bit better and I hope I can do some good.
"I'd like to thank all the councillors for their efforts over the years, many whom have now gone, however their volunteering and commitment will continue."
Labour councillor Alan Peak was elected as town council leader, with Lib Dem's Robert Payne named as his deputy.
In Charley's Memory, which supports young people aged 11-25 to improve their mental health, was named as Cllr Canniford's chosen charity.
He added: "This charity is very much needed by our young people in our town, there is a real problem in our younger generation with mental health and personal issues, it is becoming quite devastating and they need support.
"As a governor of Weston College, I am responsible for safeguarding and am fully aware of the great work In Charley's Memory does for our young people, it is reliant on people like us to help them along with donations.
"There is a stigma surrounding mental health and we need to be able to address it before we destroy many of our greatest assets - our children.
"The pressure of social media and instant communication is something many of us have not had to grow up with, this causes a problem for them as they do not have time to think and reflect on the things they say, do and hear."