A NEW mayor has been elected to serve Worcester.

Councillors voted Cllr Jo Hodges in for her second term, replacing outgoing mayor Cllr Allah Ditta, who has completed his second stint in office.

Cllr Hodges is the second Mayor after Cllr Ditta to serve two terms, having already been in office in 1999/2000.

The vote was held on Tuesday’s meeting of Worcester City Council, which was held by video conference.

Accepting her new role, Cllr Hodges said: “It is a great honour and privilege to be elected Mayor. This is the 399th year there has been a mayor, but this is the first to be done in this remote way and I am sure you will all hope it will be the only one.

“The present situation is frightening and worrying and is full of daily difficulties. It is fitting in this Mental Health Awareness Week to choose mental health awareness as my theme for the year. My concern is for all those with mental health difficulties, especially our young people.”

With this in mind, Cllr Hodges chose the Worcester Community Trust and Lightbox as her chosen charities for the year.

Speaking after handing over the mayoralty, Cllr Ditta thanked his fellow councillors and council officers, as well as his family for their support over the last year.

He said: “When I first sat in the chair as Mayor I said I wanted to bring communities together, and actually being able to do that is very special.”

Leader of Worcester City Council Marc Bayliss paid tribute to Cllr Ditta’s efforts over the last year, saying he brought communities together and promoted a positive image for the city.

He said: “Ditta has played a significant role on a number of occasions, particularly in bringing communities together, which is his enduring legacy. He broke with tradition by hosting a mayoral banquet for the community rather than just civic leaders, being keen to make sure the mayoralty went out to the people of Worcester.

“I would like to thank him for that and for representing the city with pride at many ceremonies, working extremely hard throughout. He was a very open mayor, very welcoming to people from Worcester and further afield.”

Cllr Stephen Hodgson was also voted in as deputy mayor for 2020/21 and Cllr Marc Bayliss was elected head of the council again with Cllr Adrian Gregson being chosen as deputy leader.