The new mayor of Hertsmere has been sworn in, though the handover of the chains of office was conducted in an unusual way due to ongoing lockdown restrictions.

Councillor Cynthia Barker was formally appointed as mayor at Hertsmere Borough Council's annual meeting yesterday on Wednesday.

Cllr Barker becomes the first Philippines-born individual to hold the office in the borough - but she was denied her full moment in the spotlight because the meeting was held virtually.

Ordinarily the appointment of a new mayor and deputy mayor is a major milestone in the civic calendar.

A ceremony is held at the civic offices in Borehamwood attended by community leaders, friends and family and other invited guests.

Conservative councillor Barker, who has been deputy mayor for the last year, said: "While it is disappointing that we weren't able to mark the moment in the usual way, I am still so proud and honoured to take on this role.

"I'm fully aware of the importance of the role of mayor at this time of uncertainty, fear and sadness for so many.

"The Mayor serves as a figurehead for the whole of the Hertsmere community and can really help to bring people together."

Cllr Barker, who will work closely with the children's charity NSPCC over the coming year, thanked the departing mayor Councillor Rabbi Alan Plancey.

Councillor Anne Swerling has been appointed deputy mayor.

Hillingdon Times:

Outgoing mayor of Hertsmere, Cllr Rabbi Alan Plancey

At the same meeting, Cllr Morris Bright was reappointed as leader of the council with Cllr Caroline Clapper remaining as his deputy.

Cllr Jeremy Newmark continues as leader of the Labour group while Cllr Andrew Melville stays on as Liberal Democrat leader.

There was a small change in Hertsmere Borough Council's senior committee - the Executive.

Councillor Paul Morris has left his role as portfolio holder for community and economic development to take on a new role as chairman of a newly-established cross party group, the Post Covid-19 Recovery Working Group.

Cllr Morris' colleague, Cllr Meenal Sachdev has replaced him on the Executive.

Cllr Sachdev's responsibilities include regeneration, employment growth, and promoting the region as a tourist destination.

Hillingdon Times:

Cllr Meenal Sachdev