A new mayor of Merton has been unanimously elected.

Wimbledon Park Councillor Janice Howard was voted in last night and takes over from Lower Morden ward representative, Mary Curtin.

Cllr Howard, who was elected to Merton Council in 2010, has lived in the borough since 1990.

The mum-of-two, who served on the borough’s 'health and wellbeing board' for the past year said she is passionate about promoting healthy lifestyles to improve the lives of residents.

“I feel greatly honoured and immensely proud to be able to serve as the mayor of Merton and follow in the footsteps of the great many mayors before me," she said.

"I hope, during the coming year, to be able to continue to spread the messages on how a few simple lifestyle changes can really impact positively on everyone’s quality of life.

"I am also really looking forward to visiting and meeting residents across all the different parts of the borough. Ever since I first arrived in Merton I have been really impressed by the generosity of local people to get involved with voluntary work, to help the most vulnerable in our community.”

During her long career in corporate conference and events management, Cllr Howard also successfully studied for, and achieved a Master’s degree in operations management.

“I didn’t go to university as a youngster but studied later when I was a working mum so I am passionate about spreading the word that it is never too late to learn new things,” she added.

The new mayor will be supported in the forthcoming year by her deputy mayor, Councillor Edward Foley and her consorts will be her husband Andrew Howard, supported by their two grown up children Benedict and Isabella Howard.

Cllr Howard’s two charities for the coming year are to be Macmillan Cancer Support and Faith in Action.