A FORMER social worker and nurse has officially donned the ceremonial robes to become mayor of Lancaster.

In a ceremony at Ashton Hall, Cllr Andrew Kay took over as mayor from Cllr Roger Mace in a centuries-old tradition.

Mr Kay moved to Lancaster in 1972 to study philosophy and religious studies at the university and decided to make the city his home.

He worked in seasonal jobs on Morecambe promenade and then as a psychiatric nurse at Lancaster Moor Hospital from 1977 to 1980, when he returned to Lancaster University to study to become a social worker, qualifying in 1982.

He has since worked as a social worker and family support worker, initially for Cumbria and then Lancashire County Council, before retiring last month.

Mr Kay grew up in Berkshire and attended Windsor Grammar School.

He was first a Lancaster city councillor from 1995 to 1999, and was elected again in May 2007 to represent the Bulk ward. He has served on the city council ever since.

During his mayoral year he will be supported by deputy mayor Cllr Claire Cozler.

The mayor’s chosen charities for the coming year are St John’s Hospice and Lancaster & Morecambe City of Sanctuary.

"I am delighted to have the opportunity to serve as mayor," he said. "It is such honour and privilege for me and I look forward to meeting the many members of our diverse community during my year in office."