ONCE, twice, three times a Janet. York's city leaders donned their finest garb for an ancient civic ceremony, as the new Lord Mayor and Sheriff took up their posts.

Councillors, aldermen, distinguished guests and members of the public turned out at the Guildhall to see Janet Hopton take up the post of Lord Mayor.

She is the third consecutive female civic head, and the third consecutive Janet, following Coun Janet Looker in 2004/05 and Coun Janet Greenwood last year.

Following a formal ceremony at the Guildhall, in which the outgoing and incoming office-holders swapped robes and chains, the official party was led in procession through the city centre to the Merchant Adventurers' Hall.

In her acceptance speech, Coun Hopton, who is originally from Somerset, said: "I feel very honoured to have been entrusted with the post of Lord Mayor for 2006/07."

Coun Hopton, whose husband, David, becomes Lord Mayor's Consort, added: "It was chance that brought us to York to settle 34 years ago. Dave and I thought ourselves fortunate then, and increasingly so as the years have passed. Our children also realise how fortunate they were to grow up and be educated in the city."

The outgoing Lord Mayor, Coun Greenwood, said she had greatly enjoyed her year in office, with highlights being Royal Ascot last June, last summer's celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, and the inauguration of Dr John Sentamu as the new Archbishop of York in November.

Coun Greenwood becomes deputy Lord Mayor, while Richard Baldwin replaces Coun Gilbert Nimmo as Sheriff of York.

Updated: 08:49 Friday, May 26, 2006