ILKLEY Parish Council has elected Councillor Stephen Butler as its new chairman at the Annual Council meeting held on Monday at the Town Hall in Ilkley.

Cllr Butler takes over from retiring chairman Councillor Brian Mann, who stood down after two years in office.

Fifty councillors and guests were present at Cllr Butler's installation when Cllr Mann thanked the council for its support over the two years. He awarded four certificates of merit to Ilkley residents Frazer Irwin, Jean Sheen, Shirley Britton-Watson and Wendy Ribbands for their service as volunteers around the town.

The incoming chairman was then elected together with the new vice chairman Councillor Mike Gibbons. After paying tribute to Cllr Mann when welcoming guests Cllr Butler said: "We are here to address issues as they arise. We are pragmatists. We have to solve problems, not just talk about them. It does not matter whose fault it is that the problems have arisen. We simply have to cope with the effects and find appropriate solutions."

He went on to thank the many volunteers who do outstanding work for the town. "You were invited because I know that you give your time as volunteers quietly, unstintingly and without political purpose. You are an example to us all. The town would not be as successful as it is without you."

At a previous Ilkley Parish Council meeting on May 8 a resolution was passed allowing the chairman to select a charity each year to be supported by the council at events. At the annual meeting Cllr Butler announced his choice of charity for the year - the Ilkley Youth and Community Association - which is mainly known for its work at the Warehouse Youth Group. A collection was taken and £110 raised. Martin Smith, a trustee of the charity said the funds would help towards a programme of events being organised this summer for the benefit of young people in the town.

The next meeting of the Parish Council will be on Monday, June 12 and not on June 5, the date having been changed due to the general election.