Published: May 10, 2012
In photos: New Mayor is elected in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge

Town councillor Ken Smout was elected as Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge's new Mayor on Wednesday night (May 9th).

The former police officer was chosen by town councillors to fill the busy role previously held by Michael Clarke, pictured right, whose two year stint has ended.

Cllr Smout and his wife Janet said they are looking forward to a busy year ahead as Mayor and Mayoress.

Cllr Martin Cox was also elected Deputy Mayor and Cllr Mike Mansfield became the new Second Deputy Mayor (pictured top with Town Clerk Eileen Shaw).

Ken told "It is a great honour to be chosen as Mayor - my wife and I looking forward to an active year, particularly with the Queen's Jubilee in June."

.Meet Burnham and Highbridge's Mayor

Ken became a Town Councillor in 2001 and a District Councillor in 2011.

He has served on numerous council committees and local community groups, including BIARS, the BAY Centre, Highbridge Community Hall, The Princess Theatre and Arts Centre and the Mary Portas Town Team.

He is married to Janet and has a son living in Burnham and a daughter in Taunton.

Ken worked in Somerset's police force for many years and served all over the force area including Bristol, mostly in CID or squads.

He was posted to the CID office in Burnham-On-Sea in 1979 until he was promoted to Det Sgt in 1984, then to Det Ins in Bristol in 1990 and Det Ch Ins (Head of CID for Somerset West District) in 1997. In 2000, Ken was posted to Police HQ as Head of Special Branch.

He retired in 2002 and was asked to set up a Force Vetting Unit to examine all police employees and recruitment. He was Force Vetting Officer until 2011.

"We will try to match the huge commitment and dedication shown by Michael and Maria over the past two years and are looking forward to supporting the community."

"I am particularly keen to recognise groups in the town and intend to award certificates to those who give the most to our community."

Outgoing Mayor Michael Clarke said: "The support shown by the people of Burnham and Highbridge to Maria and I has been unbelievable. We both feel very privileged to have served the towns as Mayor and Mayoress - it has been a very happy two years and we thank all for their backing."

Michael was presented with a Bristol Blue glass decanter and Maria was given a bouquet of flowers to thank them for their work in attending dozens of engagements.

Cllr Neville Jones thanked the couple for their work, saying: "When you assume the office of Mayor you must put aside both prejudice and favouritism. Your duty must be one of strict impartiality and fairness. That Michael has achieved these, and at the same time remained highly popular, is quite an achievement in itself. For the past two years, Michael and Maria have never tired of carrying out their civic duties and this demonstrated their great dedication to the role."

Cllr Martin Cox was elected Deputy Mayor, Cllr Pauline Pollard was elected Deputy Mayoress for the year, and Cllr Mike Mansfield became Second Deputy Mayor.

From left to right: Martin Cox, Pauline Pollard, Mayor Ken Smout, Mayoress Janet Smout, Mike Mansfield with Maria Clarke and Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke handing over his Mayoral chain to Ken Smout during the town council meeting on Wednesday evening

Town councillors with the new Mayor at their meeting on Wednesday


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