POPULAR Dartmouth councillor, Melvin Stone, says he is 'deeply honoured' to be chosen as mayor-elect for the town.

Cllr Stone, who joined the council in 1987 and regularly tops the polls in elections, will be inaugurated as the town's mayor at a ceremony in the Guildhall in May. He will take over from Cllr Paul Darby.

But, it was a close call for the man who called himself the 'voice of the people' in his election manifesto.

The vote by councillors to choose the next mayor tied at seven for Cllr Stone and seven for Cllr Richard Rendle.

However, Cllr Rendle withdrew from the voting, leaving the way clear for Cllr Stone.

Speaking after the council met to vote in the mayor-elect, Cllr Stone said: 'I cannot thank Richard enough for his gentlemanly conduct. It was a courageous step'.

But although Cllr Rendle wished Cllr Stone well for his mayoral year, he said later that his actions were more for the good of the council.

He explained: 'Good luck to Melvin, but I stepped down because to have a division would make it bad for the next council.'

High on the agenda for Cllr Stone, who served as deputy mayor for Cllr Brian Measures in the early 1990s, is to ensure that Townstal and Dartmouth come together.

He commented: 'I would like to see the segregation stopped. The past years must be forgotten.

'I also want to support concepts such as the Flavel Hall and the watersports project. I do hope they both succeed.

'I would also like to pay tribute to my wife and family and to the community who went to the polling booths to elect me as both a town and district councillor.'