The new Lord Mayor of York today spent his first full day in the job after donning the chains and robes of the country's second highest civic office.

Councillor Derek Smallwood, a retired bus driver, will be the first Lord Mayor to live at home - in a cul-de-sac off Burton Stone Lane - and forgo the splendour of the Mansion House, which is to be refurbished.

At the mayor-making ceremony at the Guildhall yesterday, Coun Smallwood said his main priority was to furnish York with a Christmas lights display to rival northern cities.

He said: "I am absolutely determined that York will put on a real show this year and be second to none in the country."

Coun Smallwood takes over from Coun Mick Bradley, who was elected Deputy Lord Mayor in accordance with custom.

Coun Smallwood's chosen charities for the year are SNAPPY - Special Needs Activities and Play Provision for York - which organises special projects and weekly workshops for children and young people with disabilities, and St Dymphna's nursery for children with special needs, at West Bank Park, Holgate.

He said: "I am determined to do my best to make sure they get all the support they can this year."

After the ceremony, the procession of councillors and civic officials, led by the city's police chief, Superintendent Jim Kilmartin, wove its way through the city centre to the Minster, where Coun Smallwood was blessed.

Onlooker Margaret Hill, 85, said: "It was lovely to see them go by - a very memorable experience."

But it was all change for tradition at lunch time, when the usual ceremonial feast gave way to a "working lunch" of local business leaders. Industry big wigs, including bankers, solicitors and factory bosses from York, joined the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House to discuss economic development and jobs.

Coun Smallwood will be accompanied on official engagements with his wife Marion, the new Lady Mayoress. <!C-#include virtual="/ep/newsfooter.html"

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