Witney's youngest-ever mayor said he was "honoured, grateful and dead chuffed" to be elected to the role.

Cllr Liz Duncan handed over the chain of office to Owen Collins at the Annual Council meeting on Wednesday, May 17.

Mr Collins said she had been "a terrific ambassador for our town over the last year". 

Mr Collins has lived in Witney most of his life and attended Our Lady of Lourdes and Henry Box schools.

He said: I feel deeply rooted in our town, having grown up within the warp and weft of Witney – playing for its hockey and football clubs, performing on stage at the Corn Exchange as part of its dramatic groups, campaigning as part of such grassroots causes as Witney Refugee Action Group and Save the Rock Barn, and – of course – regularly enjoying its many excellent pubs." 

Oxford Mail: Witney elects youngest ever mayor

He has worked for local businesses including Waterstones and for the charity West Oxfordshire Community Transport.

He said he wanted to embrace the diversity of the town.

"As Mayor, I want to represent every single person that calls Witney home – of all ages, all faiths, all backgrounds, abilities and genders," he said.

"The pandemic and lockdowns gave us a glimpse of the power of a community pulling together, and it’s vital that as a town we continue to celebrate and strengthen that community, and that solidarity, that we are all a part of." 

Mr Collins has chaired the Corn Exchange working party for the past four years and has a particular interest in the arts and culture.

Oxford Mail: Witney elects youngest ever mayor

He said: "I’m keen to keep the ball rolling, and highlight the huge breadth of creativity and imagination throughout Witney. 

"As possibly Witney’s youngest-ever Mayor (so far…) I’m proud to have this opportunity, and I will be privileged to work with you, represent you and meet you over the coming months." 

The deputy mayor is Georgia Meadows, the leader of the council is Dr Ruth Smith and the deputy leader is Joy Aitman.