HIGH praise for Banbury's myriad of charities and hard-working volunteers has been extended by the Banbury Town Mayor at the end of his term in office.

Councillor Gordon Ross will shortly hang up his robes and become 'just an ordinary Joe' ahead of his thus far-unknown successor's inauguration in May.

The Aberdeen-born councillor, who has 13 grandchildren, has spent the past year observing the 'amazing' work of local organisations in the town.

He said: "It has been a bit of a whirl, and tiring, and humbling; you realise how important people doing voluntary work are to the community.

"Wherever I have gone, I've met organisations such as the Rotarians and the Lions, people who work for the community and also enjoy themselves.

"It's quite amazing. That is the lasting impression I will have."

At the annual Civic Dinner on February 24, locals were treated to a 'night at the races' and raised £1,309 for the Citizen Advice Bureau and the Lions Club of Banbury.

Mr Ross himself volunteered as an advice worker Banbury CAB from 1993 until 1997 as well as the Samaritans, his other chosen charity for the year.

He said: "I have a particular affection for the CAB and likewise the Samaritans. There are so many charities out there that could be deserving."

The next councillor, who will be Conservative in keeping with the town's tradition of alternating between Labour and Conservative, will be sworn in on Tuesday, May 9.

On what advice he would give his successor, Mr Ross said: "The thing is to go at it whole-heartedly and do the best you can.

"It's time-consuming and tiring but it's extremely enjoyable."

To request the Mayor's attendance at an event in or around Banbury at any point in the year email info@banbury.gov.uk