THE new Mayor of Dudley was officially sworn in as the first citizen of the borough tonight (Thursday).

Councillor Margaret Aston pledged to help two charities - Action Heart and Guide Dogs - as she took the chain of office in front of a packed council chamber.

Councillor Aston, said: “It is a great honour to be a part of the borough’s history as Mayor of Dudley. It is also a wonderful position to raise lots of money for charity, which is something that is very close to my heart.

“I’m also looking forward to meeting people out in the communities across the borough and championing the work of our wonderful volunteers.

“As deputy mayor I was fortunate to visit a number of arts organisations, and I am looking forward to continuing to see the wealth of drama, music and dance talent we have in the borough during my Mayoral year.”

Cllr Aston takes over from Councillor Alan Finch who has been Mayor for the past year.

Cllr Finch ended what he described as a "great, successful year" by announcing he had raised £46,736.93 for his chosen charities, White House Cancer Support, Dudley and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

Councillor Steve Waltho is now the Deputy Mayor of Dudley.