WARRINGTON'S first Asian mayor has been officially sworn into office and vowed to 'write off' the next 12 months of his life to dedicate himself to the role.

Cllr Faisal Rashid (LAB – Chapelford and Old Hall) takes over the ceremonial chains from Geoff Settle following unanimous backing from councillors at the Town Hall on Monday.

The 'first citizen' of the town and 133rd mayor will be assisted by wife Aleeza during his mayoral duties over the next year.

Cllr Rashid will be supporting four charities – Warrington Disability Partnership, St Rocco's Hospice, the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace and Brainwave.

And the 43-year-old, who has a masters degree in business administration and works for Natwest as a relationship manager, is launching the 'mayor's achievement awards' to recognise those who have made a considerable contribution to society.

He is also starting an initiative to support businesses called 'Circle – The Future'.

"I first came to Warrington in 1998 and I immediately fell in love with the open green spaces and its people," said Cllr Rashid.

"Moving to the Great Sankey area allowed me more time to become active in the community and area I lived in.

"I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to be the mayor of Warrington – as mayor I feel that the people of the town are family to us.

"When I first came to this town, I never imagined I would become a councillor, never mind mayor, with my wife as mayoress.

"In the past, a number of mayors have been able to carry out this very demanding role without having work commitments to juggle.

"I will be carrying on with my full-time job and of course the commitments of having a young family.

"Bearing this in mind, I still give a commitment to the town and I will write off the next 12 months of my own life to show people what can be achieved with hard work and dedication to make a difference in this town and society.

"As mayor I want to help our economy to grow even further. With this in mind, I have created Circle – The Future.

"This is a three-pronged strategy which will involve business, culture and support and charities.

"This circle will work together to have different segments that will run individually but will come under one circle to create a unified platform.

"I believe that businesses are the life of our economy – if they grow, Warrington grows."

Council leader Terry O'Neill said it gave him 'enormous pleasure' to propose Cllr Rashid, who became a councillor in 2011, as mayor before it was seconded by Liberal Democrat leader Bob Barr and Conservative leader Sheila Woodyatt.

He added: "Like me, he has a goal to see Warrington flourish and be a great place to live, work, raise a family and have a great life. He can make a real difference."

Latchford West councillor Les Morgan, 74, was unanimously backed for the deputy mayor position, with his wife Gwyn now deputy mayoress.