A NEW mayor has been appointed in Malmesbury.

Lifelong Malmesbury resident and town councillor Phil Exton succeeds outgoing mayor Gavin Grant, who has been reflecting on a busy year of putting the bustling Wiltshire town on the map.

Over the last year Cllr Grant he has made it his mission to see many activities and relationships take root and has attended around 110 events in his red mayoral robe and gold chain.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Gavin Grant Gavin Grant (Image: Richard Harris)

Some of his highlights include welcoming a plethora of new businesses to the town, instigating the inaugural Folk & Roots Festival and appointing the town's first two mayoral cadets.

He has also enjoyed working with Malmesbury’s twin and friendship towns including Gien in France, Niebull in Germany, Bad Hersfeld in Germany and soon to be a friendship town Cherkasy in Ukraine. 

Furthermore, he has been leading the project to get CCTV installed in the town centre and has been working with retail expert Graham Soult on a report which suggests different ways to boost business and attract more visitors. 

Although Cllr Grant is stepping down as mayor, he will remain very active in public life as a town councillor, Wiltshire councillor for Malmesbury and chair of HEALS of Malmesbury and Malmesbury Stands with Ukraine.

The outgoing mayor said: "It’s been a real privilege to be the mayor of Malmesbury and to serve the people both within the town and outside in wider Wiltshire and indeed overseas.

“Thanks to the town’s generosity, we have raised a record £14,727 for my three charities - HEALS of Malmesbury, Malmesbury River Valleys Trust and Malmesbury Animal Sanctuary - this year."

Malmesbury born and bred Phil Exton says Cllr Grant has left 'big shoes' to fill but is excited to get stuck in. 

Cllr Exton is one of the town’s Warden and Freemen, a position dating to the time of King Athelstan, so he is looking forward to celebrating the 1,100th anniversary of Athelstan’s coronation as mayor.

He has picked HEALS and Malmesbury Boxing Club as his mayoral charities.

Cllr Exton is also involved in Malmesbury & District Twinning Association, is a former chairman of Malmesbury Victoria FC and is a member of the Royal British Legion, as well as Malmesbury Skittles.

The new mayor said: “Malmesbury means everything to me. 

"It’s my home and I love the spirit of the town. 

“There is only so much we can do as a town council, but we will continue to put pressure on Wiltshire Council to repair the roads.

"As for new housing, the numbers planned already exceed Malmesbury’s allocation set out in the Wiltshire draft local plan, so we will resist pressure for more.

“Gavin did a fantastic job as mayor, and there is no doubt his are big shoes to step into, but I hope I can do as well as he did.”