FORMER nurse Janet Atkinson has become Leominster's first citizen less than a decade after moving to the town from Stoke-on-Trent.

Ms Atkinson (Labour), UNISON branch organiser at the trade union's Hereford office, was unanimously elected by her fellow town councillors as the 464th Mayor of Leominster last Saturday.

She first won election to the town council in 2000 and earned a reputation for blunt speaking and a persuasive, non-confrontational approach.

Ms Atkinson would provide the town council with a strong chair said friend and fellow councillor Ann Tether who nominated her.

The new mayor paid tribute to her Conservative predecessor Roger Hunt and outgoing councillors Richard Westwood, Peter Goody, Tony Forrester, Patty Hall and Gordon Morris.

Her aims were to get a new swimming pool built in Leominster and help secure the future of Waverley House care home for the elderly, she said. Her mayoral 'good cause' fundraising would be for Leominster Scouts and Guides. Leaders from the groups attended the mayor making ceremony at Bridge Street Sports Centre.

Her lifelong partner Eddie Clark will support Janet Atkinson in her new role. Mr Clark will be styled 'the mayor's consort'.

Brigadier Peter Jones (Conservative), former career soldier and United Nations peacekeeper, now a Leominster town and county councillor, was unanimously elected as deputy mayor.