BLAENAU Gwent council has chosen deputy mayor Bernard Willis as its new mayor for 2014/15.

Councillor Willis will replace current mayor Mostyn Lewis on May 8, at the council’s annual general meeting.

At a meeting of the council yesterday members voted unanimously in favour of Cllr Willis, who has represented Tredegar Central and West ward for four years. Labour councillor Mr Willis is a member of Tredegar Town Council and former mayor of Tredegar.

He left school to start an apprenticeship with gas board, which he sold in 2000. He continued to work there until 2008, when he joined Tredegar Town Council.

Born and bred in Tredegar, both he and his parents before him grew up in the village of Troedrhiwgwair, just outside the town.

When the then borough councillor for Central and West died, he was asked to step in and stood for his seat.

“I did the final bit of Derek’s term which was about two years, and then stood for the seat in the following election,” he said.

“It’s a big job to be mayor of Blaenau Gwent.”

Divorced with a son, daughter and four grandchildren, Cllr Willis has already decided his daughter Kim will be his consort during his time as mayor.

“She was my consort when I was mayor of Tredegar so she already knows what to expect,” he said. “I have already decided on my charities for the upcoming year – Breast Cancer Wales and Velindre.

“Both are very close to my heart for personal reasons, and they do some fantastic work.”