BEING given the role of mayor is one of the highest accolades for a public servant, spending a year as the head of the local council.

But now, Salisbury City Council's mayor has been given the unusual task of standing for another 12 months, as the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps the world.

Councillor John Walsh will again lead the council until 2021, after a decision was made to suspend this year's mayor making after all local government elections were pushed back.

He was due to be succeeded by Councillor Caroline Corbin in May, but she will now have to wait until taking up her mayoral duties.

Cllr Walsh said: "The suggestion from my fellow councillors that I should stay as the mayor until May 2021 came as a bolt from the blue.

"I had very much enjoyed the first 10 months of my mayoral year, but was starting to realise that the final two months would be rather flat.

"I was actually feeling rather sorrier for my nominated successor, the deputy mayor Councillor Caroline Corbin who was likely to have a very quiet year.

"My fellow councillors obviously shared that view and felt that Cllr Corbin should be given the chance to be the Mayor in what will be happier times."

Cllr Wash added: "It will be a strange year, but I and the mayoress will do everything we can to help our fellow citizens, our businesses and the numerous charitable organisations to get back on their feet.

"The city suffered a severe blow two years ago but bounced back. We will do that yet again.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our key workers and volunteers who are working so hard to keep services running in the city and in our hospital."

Cllr Jeremy Nettle, leader of Salisbury City Council, said: “I am very grateful that Cllr Welsh has agreed to carry on the mayor of the city of Salisbury in these extraordinary circumstances that we find ourselves in.

"With the backing of the deputy mayor Cllr Corbin, and all the city councillors, the council will be able to help our community look after each other and offer support wherever we can.

"I am grateful too to all the staff of the city council too for pulling together in these difficult times”