Published: 11:09, 16 May 2018
The outgoing mayor of Tonbridge and Malling handed over the ceremonial reins this week.
Cllr Roger Dalton passed on the title to Cllr Pam Bates at a ceremony on Tuesday evening.
The grandmother-of-seven has served Trench ward as borough councillor since 2011.
For the past year the retired secretary has served as deputy mayor, having lived in the Trench ward since 1976.
Following Tuesday's ceremony, Cllr Bates said: "I thoroughly enjoyed my year as Deputy Mayor serving the community of Tonbridge and Malling and I’m really looking forward to continuing this work in my role as mayor this year.
"It will be an honour to help raise awareness of all the fantastic work carried out by volunteers, community groups, schools and businesses and to meet more residents during my travels around the borough.”
The Conservative councillor has chosen Tree of Hope as the mayor's charity for the coming year.
The charity helps families raise money for specialist care to treat children or young people suffering from disability or illness.
Born in Penshurst in 1948, Cllr Bates attended Penshurst CofE Primary School before moving on to Hillview School for Girls in Tonbridge.
She then attended Constables Commercial College in Tunbridge Wells where she learnt her secretarial skills.
The 70-year-old has five children, four girls and one boy all of whom have now grown up, with her late husband Keith.
For more than 30 years, Cllr Bates has served on the committee of the Six In One Community Centre in Tonbridge.
Prior to retiring, Cllr Bates worked as a secretary at Geering & Colyer Estate Agents, later joining Wiltshire Building Contractors after having her children.
She finished her career as personal secretary to the chairman and managing director at R Durtnell & Sons Ltd, the oldest family owned builders in the country.
Tuesday night's meeting also saw the deputy mayor elected.
Hadlow and East Peckham councillor Jill Anderson has been appointed the new deputy mayor, stepping into Cllr Bates' old shoes.
The full council meeting also voted a motion of thanks to outgoing mayor Cllr Dalton.
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