Kendal Town Council has elected Cllr Douglas Rathbone to serve as Mayor of Kendal for the coming year.

Cllr Rathbone, who serves the town council’s Heron Hill Ward, was first elected in 2018 and has previously served as chairman of the council’s planning committee. Cllr Rathbone also serves as the district councillor for Kendal South and Natland.

He succeeded Alvin Finch at Tuesday night’s Kendal Town Council meeting and was seconded by Cllr Andy Blackman.

Due to Covid restrictions, the regular mayoral investiture will be scaled back.

In a break with tradition, the meeting was held virtually, just like every other meeting since April 2020.

Traditionally, the mayor is elected at a mayor-making ceremony in the town hall. This formal ceremonial event will now take place in September, when it is hoped Covid restrictions will have been lifted sufficiently for the usual large audience to attend.

Tuesday night’s meeting did not involve any acceptance speeches but Cllr Rathbone paid tribute to his predecessor.

He said: “Cllr Finch dealt with the challenges of the Covid pandemic and raised the bar for the town’s mayoralty in his diligence and commitment.”

Cllr Rathbone describes himself as a historian interested in the history of Kendal, its heritage and its buildings. He lives in a house he has traced back to the 1620s. He said: “I learn more every day.

“I thoroughly enjoying helping people and solving local issues where possible.

“It is the links with the past as well as the dynamics of shaping a future that really interests me.”

Cllr Julia Dunlop, who represents the town’s Mintsfeet Ward, was elected deputy mayor.

Councillors heard the government has not renewed the legal power for the council to meet remotely, which means subsequent meetings before June 21 will have to take on a revised format.

There are no announcements that live streaming will be wound up for residents wanting to still view or participate in council meeting from a safe distance.