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Friday, 24 October 2014

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Country’s youngest mayor takes office in Workington

It was all about youth at Workington town council’s annual mayor-making ceremony last night as Andrew Lawson became the country’s youngest mayor.

Workington mayor photo
New mayor Andrew Lawson with Lucy and Nik Hardy, deputy mayor Konrad Hansen and mayoral consort Carly Wilson

The 21-year-old took over the chains and robes of office from Nik Hardy in front of a packed audience at the Carnegie Theatre.

The bar worker, of Napier Street, will be supported in his new role by close friend and colleague Carly Wilson, 23, of Hyde Street, who he described as a rock in his life.

Nominating Mr Lawson, fellow Labour councillor Barbara Cannon said he would bring a fresh perspective to a role usually associated with older people. She said: “In the last year he has grown in confidence and shown us that his relative youth is not going to be a barrier to being able to fulfil his civic duties. The age profile of the council has taken a long, long time to change.

“Our first citizens have tended to be of mature years but we are now seeing younger and younger people entering political roles and so they should.

“I believe that Andrew will span the generations and make sure this council works for the whole community in a way that has never been done before.”

Joking that his election last year had reduced the average age on the council by 45 years, Mr Lawson said: “I have been given a great opportunity to follow in the footsteps of some of the town’s most distinguished citizens.

“I want this council and our partners in this next year to engage with the young people of the town. I want the town’s young people to be encouraged to become more active in the community.

“We will strive to make the town even better than it already is.”

Mr Lawson’s charities for the year will be the 4th Workington Scouts and Guides and Workington Sea Cadets, which he was keen to support because of their work with young people, and Workington RNLI.

Konrad Hansen, 37, of Frances Croft, was elected deputy mayor.

The move means that, when he takes office as mayor next year, the town will have had three consecutive first citizens under the age of 40.

Tributes were also paid to the late Mel Pettit, whose untimely death last summer led to Mr Hardy taking over as mayor.

At the end of the ceremony Westfield Primary School choir sang a selection of rock and pop favourites and hymns.

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