The town’s first virtually appointed mayor aims to make the town plastic free after he was elected first citizen on May 14.

Cllr Ian Bark said he was ‘honoured and proud’ to take over the role of Bridport mayor from Cllr Barry Irvine for 2020/21 after being nominated by Cllr Irvine and Cllr Sarah Williams.

Cllr Dave Rickard was re-elected as leader of Bridport Town Council and Cllr Sarah Williams was elected deputy mayor.

On accepting, Cllr Bark thanked Cllr Irvine, outgoing deputy major Cllr Anne Rickard, his wife Anne, and Linda Bullock who has stood down as mayor’s secretary.

He said: “I am extremely proud and honoured to stand here as the elected mayor of this wonderful, vibrant, creative and diverse town of ours.

“My fellow councillors, you bestow a great privilege and responsibility upon me, and I express my sincere appreciation to you all for placing your trust in me.

“I take this take this responsibility and the trust you have shown in me very seriously. I commit to serving the people of Bridport to the best of my abilities with enthusiasm, compassion and devotion to our community.

“In normal times I would now be looking forward to a busy and exciting year ahead promoting our exceptional town and spending as much time as possible meeting local people and finding out more about everything that makes Bridport such a special place. But these are not normal times.”

The mayor making was held through video, the declaration of acceptance of office and mayor’s chain was delivered to Cllr Bark by town clerk Will Austin, which he signed in front of the other councillors and his wife put the chain on him as part of the virtual ceremony. It is hoped there will be a normal mayor making ceremony later in the year.

Cllr Bark was first co-opted onto the Bothenhampton and Walditch Parish Council in 2014 and continued to serve until being elected to Bridport Town Council in 2019. He was a member of the Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan joint committee and after five years of hard work and public consultations achieved the successful delivery of the completed plan this year.

He is also a miller and tour guide at Lyme Regis Town Mill, treasurer and volunteer co-ordinator for Bridport Community Orchard Committee and has established a small community orchard in Burton Bradstock.

Cllr Bark now aims to make Bridport a plastic free town.

He said: “Getting plastic free status for Bridport is my next target. It’s single-use plastic that’s the problem and that means the public, council, shops and businesses all need to work together to reduce our footprint where that is concerned. If we get that right, we become a plastic free town.”