THE new Mayor of Bolton will celebrate “simple acts of kindness”, she told councillors as she was appointed on Wednesday.

Cllr Hilary Fairclough wants to create a Mayor’s Award for community involvement to thank Bolton’s unsung heroes.

In her maiden speech as mayor, she praised the borough’s litter pickers, quiet carers and volunteers who help freely without reward or recognition.

“Bolton is the biggest town in England and I believe it has the biggest heart. I will do my utmost to keep Bolton on the map for all the right reasons.

“I believe that Bolton’s strength is in its residents – local people who go about their daily business but are kind, supportive and will do anything to help one another, or the area they live in. We all know them, maybe not by name, but we see them regularly or benefit from their input.”

The senior Conservative, who has been a councillor for 19 years, has already chosen the five charities she will officially support this year.

They are: Bolton Hospice, Fort Alice, Bolton Dementia Support, Asian Elders and Bolton Scout’s Trust Bibby’s Farm.

She also invited other charities and community groups to get in touch as as for support.

Outgoing mayor, Cllr Elaine Sherrington, thanked all the volunteering groups she has worked with in the last year.

She said: “It’s amazing how these people are all willing to go out there and do something for the rest of us.”

Teary-eyed, she thanked her daughter, Sam, for taking on the role of the mayor’s escort while working full time.

She wished the new mayor well, mentioning that Cllr Fairclough will be the eleventh female mayor out of a total of 153.

Her Labour colleague, outgoing council leader Linda Thomas, told the packed council chamber about Cllr Fairclough’s background as an usherette, hairdresser and shopkeeper before becoming a magistrate and councillor.

She said: “Hilary has travelled a long way and is an example to a lot of young women that if you believe in something and you’re determined, you can succeed.”

Conservative leader, Cllr David Greenhalgh, described his colleague and friend as a “prime example” of someone who did not excel academically but displays a “natural intellect” and given back “so much” to her community and her borough.

He told her: “Your Dad never saw you become a councillor, Hilary. He would have been so incredibly proud of that, but today? As your brother Robert said, ‘You’d need a hammer and chisel to get the smile off his face’. He’d be that proud.”