A NEW mayor says he is honoured to take on the historic role.

Councillor Bill Kellett was installed as the Mayor of Durham in a ceremony full of pomp and ceremony at Durham Town Hall.

He will combine the role with being chairman of Durham County Council, having been elected to that post a fortnight ago.

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Cllr Kellett, whose consort is Cllr Jean Chaplow said after the ceremony: "I started on this trail in 1981, when I became a parish councillor. I never expected back then to become an county councillor let alone in two years become chairman of Durham County Council and Durham Mayor.

"For me, it is the ultimate honour and I really appreciate everybody's support over the years."

Cllr Bill Kellett, 77, a former Durham City Council leader and member for Sherburn, has has chosen the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) as his charity.

He said: “My youngest daughter suffered a serious horse riding accident seven years ago, when the horse threw her and trampled her.

"She had fractured ribs collapsed lungs. That could have been fatal without the intervention of the air ambulance,

"My family and I will always be indebted to this great charity.”

Cllr Kellett, who was a nurse at the former Dryburn Hospital in Durham where he met his wife-to-be Elizabeth Ann, also a nurse, later gained an honours degree in economics at Durham Technical College.

He followed it up with an MA in economics for which he had his thesis published and went on to teach economics at Seaham Comprehensive School and Peterlee Tertiary College as well as becoming an A-level examiner.

Cllr Katie Corrigan was installed as Deputy Mayor of Durham.