Kingston has installed councillor Julie Pickering as its new Mayor for 2017 to 18.

A Coombe Vale resident of 28 years, councillor Pickering has been an elected member since 2011 and has held responsibility for adult social care, public health, commissioning and partnerships.

She said: “I’m deeply honoured to be appointed Mayor. It’s something I’ve aspired to and I’m glad the nomination has come now.

“As the previous Portfolio Holder for Partnerships, I will be able to take forward a number of those relationships and I’m looking forward to attending the many events planned this year to enhance the borough’s cultural offer. As well as promoting Kingston outside of the borough, I’m also looking forward to meeting lots of the borough’s residents.

“I’m excited to think about the contribution I can make this year as Mayor. I have a clear understanding of the council’s direction and how important it is for future councils to work with their communities and local organisations to improve outcomes for residents.

“For that reason I have decided to lend my support to Love Kingston, to help build a Kingston Community Fund, where individuals, companies, public and voluntary sector organisations across the Royal Borough of Kingston can come together to channel their resources and talents to help local people.

“The fundraising target is set to be nearing £1 million by 2020, which seems a lot, but I know how much people care about Kingston. We want to create a cultural change, to encourage more people across the borough towards philanthropy.”

Councillor Mike Head has been appointed as Deputy Mayor.