WIRRAL'S new mayor has taken up the chains of office during a ceremony this week.

Conservative councillor for West Kirby and Thurstaston, Geoffrey Watt, was installed on Monday, following Labour predecessor Ann McLachlan as first citizen of the borough.

Addressing family, friends and colleagues in his debut speech as mayor at Wallasey Town Hall, Cllr Watt - whose mayoress is wife Anne - said: "I'm deeply honoured to be elected mayor of Wirral.

"We're looking forward to our term in office."

His chosen charities are Wirral RNLI and Wirral’s Forester’s Horn Group of the Riding for the Disabled Association.

The Mayor's special charity fund will also make contributions to other charities and voluntary groups at the end of the mayoral year.

Cllr Watt, a lifelong resident of West Kirby, was educated at Kingsmead School, Hoylake and Dean Close School in Cheltenham.

After leaving school, he worked in banking and estate agency.

He is a past Commodore of Hoylake Sailing Club where he has been an active competitor from the age of nine, racing the local classic 'Opera' Class boats.

He is also a regular supporter from the touchline at Caldy Rugby Club and a season ticket holder at Sale Sharks in Rugby Union's Premiership.

Geoffrey and Anne celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on Monday.

They have a grown-up daughter and son, both now in their final year at university.

Geoffrey was first elected to the Council in 1999. Anne is also a life-long West Kirby resident.

She was educated at Avalon School, Upton Hall School and Birkenhead Technical College, where she studied legal and secretarial skills, eventually becoming personal assistant to senior partners in a Liverpool law firm.

Labour councillor Tony Smith was elected as deputy mayor on Monday.

Reflecting on her time in office, outgoing mayor Ann McLachlan said: "It has been a whirlwind year at times, but a great honour and privilege to be mayor of Wirral."