FORMER headteacher and long-serving Labour councillor Hilary Bills has been sworn in as the new  Mayor of Dudley.

Cllr Bills became the borough's first citizen at a meeting last night (Thursday May 16).

The former teacher promised to do “everything possible” to raise money for Access in Dudley, Diabetes UK and the Friends of Dudley Performing Arts which will be her chosen causes for the year ahead.

Dudley News: Mayor of Dudley - Councillor Hilary Bills, and her husband John - who will be the Mayor's consortMayor of Dudley - Councillor Hilary Bills, and her husband John - who will be the Mayor's consort (Image: Dudley Council)

Cllr Bills said: "It is a real honour to be Mayor of this borough and a wonderful opportunity to raise some much-needed funding for these incredible charities, and I will be doing everything possible to do that and raise their profile too.

"Without these charities people would simply not have access to help and support that they need, so I urge people to give and do what they can to help out.

"I am also really looking forward to meeting new people and flying the flag for the borough at a range of civic occasions."

Cllr Bills was a teacher for 42 years and a headteacher for a decade. She was also president of the National Union of Teachers and is currently secretary of Halesowen in Bloom. The Halesowen North ward councillor has also been a cabinet member and served as Deputy Mayor in 2018/19 and 2019/20.

She now takes over from outgoing Mayor - councillor Andrea Goddard - with her husband John Bills set to accompany her on engagements as her consort.

Amblecote councillor Pete Lee will remain as Deputy Mayor - a role he has held for the past 12 months.