A FORMER leader of a rural council has been confirmed as a borough's new Mayor.

Keen hillwalker Stuart Hirst is taking over as Ribble Valley's First Citizen.

The 64-year-old who represents the Wilpshire and Ramsgreave ward, was born in Darwen and grew up in East Lancashire.

He attended Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Blackburn, Hymers College in Hull and the University of Dundee.

He then worked as a commercial manager in the print and paper manufacturing industry, before starting his own print company in 1991. He sold the business in 2003, before starting another.

Cllr Hirst joined the Conservative Party aged 16 and has 27 years’ service as a councillors on two district authorities.

From 1984 to 1992, he served on Blackburn Borough Council and has been a Ribble Valley borough councillor since 2003

He was the council’s deputy leader from 2011 to 2013, leader from 2013 to 2017.

He is a trustee of the Salesbury Memorial Hall, governor of Salesbury Primary School and active member of St Peter’s Church, Salesbury.

He is married to Elaine, who will be his mayoress, and they have two adult children, Rob and Annie.

His chosen charities are MS Society UK, the Pink Ribbon Foundation, and Lancashire Linus.