KENDAL has a new town crier following the retirement of Richard Mathews after 11 years.

Donning the tricorn hat and red-and-black livery will be former Kendal mayor and town councillor John Bateson, who is chair of Kendal Civic Society and conducts history walks.

Mr Bateson said he was "delighted and honoured" to step into the role, which he said was steeped in history yet worked "wonderfully well in a modern setting".

He added: "It will give me great joy to promote my home town in such a unique and fascinating way," he said. "It is my aim to help promote our wonderful town's cultural heritage, businesses, events and festivals and formal occasions."

Mr Mathews' final engagement was last week's mayor making ceremony, when he was given an engraved Cumbrian Crystal goblet.

His successor, Mr Bateson, was born and brought up in Oxenholme and attended Kirkland Primary and Kendal Grammar School.

After a career in tourism and hospitality, he took early retirement to care for his mother.

Mr Bateson was mayor of Kendal in 2009-2010 and was a town councillor for eight years.

He is well known for his Kendal history walks and talks, and is now taking an advanced internet course on English local history.

The new mayor of Kendal, Cllr Alvin Finch, said: “I am delighted to welcome John as the new town crier. I know he has a wealth of knowledge about Kendal and will I am sure be a great ambassador for the town.

"I would like to thank Richard on behalf of the town Council and residents of Kendal for his many years of service and dedication to the role. We wish him a long and happy retirement.”

Mr Bateson paid tribute to his predecessor, saying: "The retiring crier, Richard Mathews, has been superb during his tenure and has enhanced the role of crier to the delight of townsfolk and visitors. I hope to be able to continue his good work for many years to come.”

Mr Mathews said he had been "very proud" to be Kendal's town crier. "It has been a wonderful 11 years and I have been honoured to be involved in so many fabulous community events.

"I was John Bateson’s town crier during his mayoral year and seeing how much effort he puts into everything he does, I am sure he will be a great success.

"I would like to thank the people of Kendal for putting up with me shouting at them for the past 11 years, and especially the young children who were convinced I was a pirate! I shall miss the fun."