Published: 09:18, 15 May 2019
| Updated: 09:28, 15 May 2019
Alison Reynolds has been chosen as Faversham's new mayor for the next year.
She was only elected to the council for the first time earlier this month and will step into the vacancy with outgoing mayor Trevor Abram retiring as a councillor.
Town councillors approved Cllr Reynolds' nomination in a unanimous vote at the first town council meeting of the new civic year on Monday following the elections on May 2.
Cllr Reynolds (Lib Dem) is a familiar face in the town having run the Faversham Gym Club as chief coach for 30 years and running the Jubilee Centre for the past 15 years.
Speaking after her election, Cllr Reynolds said: "Six months ago I had no idea this would happen when Mike Henderson asked me to stand.
"I'm passionate about Faversham and always have been.
"Having finished at the gym I was looking for a new role to help the town.
"I've been so surprised by the number of people I've met doing things for this community that I had no idea about, this is a fantastic town."
In 2018, she was awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours list for services to community sport.
She was nominated to be mayor by Cllr Antony Hook (Lib Dem) who said he believed she would serve the town extremely well.
He added: "We've had a woman [Shiel Campbell] and a man [Trevor Abram] and now another woman.
"51% of the population are women and if you look at the board [of mayors in the Guildhall] we're quite a long way from that."
Cllr Hook paid tribute to Mr Abram saying he had always been fair when chairing debates and has served the town with "warmth and friendliness".
He added there is a Faversham tradition for the next longest serving councillor to become mayor, which is indepedent councillor Claire Belsom.
But she turned the role down for the coming year after being approached to replace Mr Abram in the mayor's seat.
Cllr Sam Blair (Lib Dem) was eventually selected as deputy mayor after no nominations were received and no councillors put themselves forward.
Cllr Hook proposed to review the role of deputy mayor as a potential "job share" explaining no nominations were being submitted because many colleagues have young families and as new councillors they felt concerned they would not be able to dedicate completely to the deputy mayor role.
But town clerk Louise Bareham allayed concerns saying the only official role of deputy mayor is to fill in for Cllr Reynolds when she is unable to attend and chair meetings adding there is no commitment to civic duties and attending events.
Cllrs Reynolds and Blair will be sworn in at the annual mayor making ceremony at the Alexander Centre in Preston Street on Monday at 7pm.