AN olive tree was presented to Haslemere’s new mayor Malcolm Carter to symbolise a fruitful term of office at the town council’s annual mayor-making ceremony last Thursday night.

Councillors voted unanimously for the town’s deputy mayor to become mayor with his wife Sandie, consort, and for councillor David Round to become deputy mayor with his wife Melanie Odell, who has served as town mayor three times, as consort.

The Rev Jonathan Carter, senior pastor and founder of 3 Counties Church, presented the olive tree to the new mayor, saying: “I pray you will be like a fruitful olive tree”.

In his speech of thanks for his new role, Mr Carter said: “This is a privilege and an honour. I will do my utmost for you and the town I represent.

“Sahran has been a wonderful mayor and a very difficult act to follow.

“He ensured Haslemere was on the map. People have asked me if I will dress similarly - all I can say is, I wish.

“I want to ensure town services are maintained. The Royal Surrey County Hospital chose not to be a stroke centre of excellence.

“While I applaud introducing 24/7 services, it is unacceptable they should be based at Frimley Park Hospital, which is unaccessible by public transport and that our ambulance service is in special measures,” he added.

Mr Carter welcomed the town push to preserve dementia services at Haslemere’s Marjorie Gray Hall but deplored the possible loss of both town post offices, in West Street and Wey Hill, from next January.

He named his chosen charities as Canine Partners, Haslemere Penny Ha’penny Trust and 3 Counties Church’s money advice service, based at Haslewey Community Centre.

Former mayor Brian Howard also presented a symbolic gift in the form of a pair of scales – a timely reminder, he said, that the secret of success always hangs in the balance.