YORK'S new Lord Mayor has today spoken of her pride that a working class daughter of a political refugee should have achieved such high office.

Cllr Sonja Crisp, who was officially appointed at an annual City of York Council meeting at the Guildhall yesterday, revealed how her father Tage Larsen had fled Nazi-occupied Denmark during the war.

She also said female Lord Mayors had not been allowed until 1941 but out of the 15 people holding the post since 2000, nine had been women.

Cllr Crisp, 62, whose husband Ian will be her consort, said that when she arrived in York almost 25 years ago, she would not have believed she would one day become a councillor and then Lord Mayor.

Guest speaker, former York Central MP Sir Hugh Bayley, referred to her background, saying her father had gone on to serve on the Atlantic convoys after arriving in Britain. He said that at a time of rising nationalism and intolerance towards refugees, it was important to remember some refugees could be good people who could contribute something to the country.

The Lord Mayor revealed that she will only have the use of the Mansion House for the first three months of her time in office, because a major refurbishment is due to start in August.

She appealed for individuals and organisations to offer city centre venues at which she could hold the formal and informal functions which would normally have taken place at the Mansion House.

Former Lord Mayor, Cllr Ian Gillies, revealed that his charities had so far raised £70,000 - thought to be one of the highest sums ever raised for the Lord Mayor's charities - which had paid for a new minibus for York Against Cancer and new portable dialysis equipment for the renal unit at York Hospital.

He said insurance firm Hiscox had also agreed that tradespeople working on its new flagship offices in Stonebow would carry out a 'DIY SOS' refurbishment at a children's centre in Haxby Road as its contribution to his fundraising.

During the ceremony, attended by about 150 guests, Brian Smith took over the role of Sheriff from John Kenny, with Debora Smith as his Sheriff’s Lady.

At the end of the ceremony, the new Civic Party emerged from the Guildhall and paraded through the city centre, led by Police Superintendent Phil Cain and accompanied by the York Guard and the York Waits, to the Assembly Rooms for a private luncheon.