THE Mayoress of Torfaen pledged to raise funds for a hospice that helped her family after taking the chains of office.

Cllr Mandy Owen said St David’s Hospice was her main charity as it had assisted her grandmother Sylvia White and mother-in-law Christine Owen before they passed away.

The mum-of-four added that she would support two other charities this year, Tenovus, which helps cancer sufferers and Torfaen Opportunities Group or Togs, which organises trips for disabled children.

She spoke to the Argus after being unanimously elected borough mayor at Pontypool Civic Centre on Tuesday May 20.

Mrs Owen, 45, said: “It is an honour to serve. It came as a bid of a shock so soon after becoming a councillor.

“I would like to thank everybody who voted for me last night.

“I look forward to serving the borough, working also with small groups and attending events the public would like me to.”

She thanked her family, friends and former mayor, Neil Mason, adding: “You’re going to be a hard act to follow.”

Within the mayor making ceremony, Cllr Mason thanked his team for their support over the year. He said: “I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a hard job and a difficult job to do.”

Mrs Owen, a former hairdresser gave up a job in retail to serve as a full time councillor in 2012.

Her tenure will last for a year and she will continue to represent constituents in the Greenmeadow ward where, she has lived since the age of two.

“More than anything I want to preside over a fair and equal chamber and act as an ambassador for the area," she added.

Cllr Giles Davies was appointed the post of deputy mayor.

Mrs Owen’s husband, Richard Owen, was announced as mayor’s consort with Mandy Price, as deputy mayoress. Father Michael Phillips will be the mayor’s chaplain.

It was also decided in the meeting that labour Cllr Bob Wellington will remain leader of the council.

Labour councillor Lewis Jones will remain deputy leader.