NEW town mayor Paul Wells has pledged to throw himself off Bognor Regis Pier during his year in office.
Cllr Wells was unanimously elected to become Bognor’s first elected resident at the town council’s annual meeting on Monday.
He chose the recently-formed Friends of Bognor Regis Pier as his good cause for the coming 12 months.
The group has been working with the pier’s owner, John Ayers, to safeguard the historic structure and bring it back into community ownership.
Cllr Wells, who has always lived around Bognor, said: “I believe, with all the talk of regeneration, our pier should be at the heart of any regeneration proposals in the town.
“As the mayor of Bognor for this year, I will be supporting this aim and will be organising a range of fundraising events to support the aims of the new trust.
“Who knows, I might even throw myself off the pier at the International Bognor Birdman.”
Liberal Democrat Cllr Wells, 39, has been a keen backer of the pier for at least 29 years.
He co-wrote a book about it in his teens and was involved in a bid for Heritage Lottery Funding in the nineties which he described as unlucky to fail.
He said the coming year would be important for the town. The decisions made would affect generations to come.
“Our biggest asset and selling point is our seafront and I believe we should be building on the strengths of this,” he stated.
Paul has been a councillor since 1999 and has served on town, district and county councils. He runs a shop in The Arcade, lives in North Bersted and is married with two children.
He was proposed by Cllr Jeanette Warr.
She told councillors: “Paul has had a keen interest in Bognor from an early age.
“He instigated the very successful Sands of Time and has been involved with the Birdman rally since 1996.
“I believe you will all agree Paul is a person who has totally earned the privilege and honour of serving our town as mayor.”
His deputy town mayor was chosen by 7-6 votes as Independent council member Adam Cunard.
At 26, he and the mayor have to be the youngest pair in the senior elected roles since Bognor’s council was formed in 1894.
Cllr Cunard defeated Conservative Pat Dillon.