FIFTY years after his first election, Councillor Eric Harries has stepped up to the role of Mayor of Milford Haven for the fifth time.

Taking over the reins from Cllr Yvonne Southwell, Cllr Harries was welcomed into the role at the Town Hall on Monday night (May 19).

Nominating him for the position, Cllr Tony Eden said the former leader of Pembrokeshire County Council had an ‘exemplary record’ in public office, having represented Pembrokeshire on town and county councils since 1964.

“As a leader he has been rock-solid – never one to court publicity, and earnestly promoting the needs of the town and county council. No doubt he will continue to do so.”

Cllr Eden also praised Cllr Harries’ work with Milford Haven Museum, Milford Haven Sea Cadets, the James John Trust and the Waterloo Club.

Seconding the proposal, Cllr Mike George quoted actress Elizabeth Taylor, saying: “On her eighth honeymoon, she was reported as saying ‘I know exactly what to do – the problem is how to make it interesting’.”

Cllr Harries said he was looking forward to the coming year, and hoped it would be a good one despite the ‘black cloud of uncertainty’ hanging over the town’s Murco refinery.

“I will do my utmost to live up to the confidence that has been placed in me,” he said.

He also paid tribute to his late wife Joyce, for her unfailing support during his first election 50 years ago, and the many since then. Taking the role of consort will be his daughter-in-law Lynwen Harries.

Thanking councillors for their support during her year in office, Cllr Southwell said the time had ‘flown by’, and the job had been ‘exciting and rewarding’.

“It was a great honour to represent the town across Pembrokeshire. I would not have missed it for the world.”

She said her highlights had been welcoming eight cruise ships to the town, meeting two centenarians and one 101-year-old, celebrating the 105th anniversary of the opening of Milford Haven railway station, and seeing the excellent work Milford Haven Sea Cadets do.

Cllr Southwell also paid tribute to her husband and consort Ron, Father Harri Williams, her fellow town councillors, and her “right-hand woman” - town clerk Moyra Galliford.

On behalf of the council, she also wished deputy clerk Meriel Waid, who will be retiring later this year after a decade with the council.

Elected as deputy mayor for the first time was town and county councillor Stephen Joseph, who said he was looking forward to getting ‘stuck in’ to the role.