Former council leader made mayor of Great Yarmouth

Just weeks after voters rejected the idea of an elected mayor, and Great Yarmouth Borough Council bestowed the civic role to former leader Barry Coleman on Monday.

The Town Hall played host to an evening in which dignitaries, councillors, family and friends alike witnessed Mr Coleman being handed the ceremonial robes by predecessor Michael Jeal.

And it was in an unprecedented move that Mr Coleman, a Conservative, chose the person who 'knows me best' to act as his nominator- his wife Mary.

Selected for the position of mayor for the second time, the avid Norwich City football fan who has led the council from 1999 until this year described the honour as 'something that takes your breath away'.

He said: 'I intend to use my experience and position to build upon the foundations of work done to further the lives and aspirations of those in the borough.'

A former teacher who met his wife at a teacher training college near Grantham, he moved to what is now Flegg High School in 1973 before embarking on a career in politics.

This year's mayor's charities related to St Mary's Church, Martham, groups offering support for those with Parkinson's as well as those who have suffered from strokes, and research into a rare disease named Myasthenia.

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Following her husband explaining he had chosen her to propose him because the unusual choice reflected her 'unique' character, councillor Mary Coleman spoke of her husband's 'honesty and integrity'.

And it was to cheers from the audience that she commented on the elected mayor referendum result of May 5, adding: 'I'm especially pleased that I will not after all be the last civic mayoress.'