THE new Lord Mayor of York has been installed in the traditional Guildhall ceremony, which saw the council bid farewell to outgoing Lord Mayor Cllr Julie Gunnell and Sheriff Cllr Brian Watson.

The Mayor Making and Annual Meeting of City of York Council took place yesterday at the Guildhall, followed by a civic procession through the streets to the Assembly Rooms on Blake Street.

New Lord Mayor Cllr Ian Gillies was took the oath of office alongside new Sheriff John Kenny, and Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Julie Gunnell.

Cllr Gunnell was thanked by the council for her year of service as Lord Mayor.

Proposing a vote of thanks, Cllr Sonja Crisp spoke warmly of Cllr Gunnell's ambitions in her year of office, and her friendly and unique way of carrying out her duties.

She said: "I remember one occasion when a group of young Kenyan dancers came to the Mansion House. The Lord Mayor generously allowed the girls to try on her robes and chain - it was typical of Julie to do that and no doubt those young girls will remember that part of their trip."

Cllr Crisp also praised the outgoing Mayor's work getting White Ribbon status for York as a city campaigning against domestic violence. In a break from tradition she used her vote of thanks to issue a plea for volunteers to help run the Reclaim the Night march - started this year - as an annual event.

Incoming Lord Mayor Ian Gillies, who was Conservative group leader on the council from 2007 until earlier this year, was likened to a stick of rock by his proposer, Cllr George Barton, who said: "He is colourful and appealing, and Pat [his wife] would say he is a little bit fruity. But break him in half and you will see York printed right through the centre."

"To describe him as the archetypal Mr York would be an understatement."

Accepting his position, Cllr Gillies thanked the council and said: "I stand before you as the Lord Mayor and first citizen of the finest city, in the finest county in the finest country in the world, and it makes me very proud."

Cllr Gilles' wife Patricia was installed as Lady Mayoress, while his friend John Kenny, who ran the Cross of York fish stall in Newgate Market, became Sheriff with his wife Jill Kenny as Sheriff's Lady.