ENCOURAGING more residents to volunteer will be the focus for the man who has become the First Citizen in Basingstoke and Deane.

Councillor Roger Gardiner, a Conservative member for Pamber and Silchester, was appointed as the borough's new Mayor at the annual Mayor-making ceremony last Thursday.

The 65-year-old councillor and his wife, Tricia, the new Mayoress, took over the chains of office from fellow Conservative councillor Dan Putty and his wife Julie.

Addressing the council and guests at the official ceremony, Cllr Gardiner said his priority during his year in office will be persuading more residents to make a difference in the community they live.

Cllr Paul Harvey, deputy leader of the Labour group, formally proposed Cllr Gardiner as new Mayor, and was seconded by Conservative councillor Marilyn Tucker, who represents Pamber and Silchester.

In his nomination speech, Cllr Harvey said: “His family are going to be a huge support and I hope they are looking forward to it. It is going to be full of challenge, opportunity and events that you will enjoy. Have a great year.”

Cllr Gardiner was born in Reading and attended schools in Sonning and Wargrave before studying business at Reading Technical College.

He attended Hull University to study economics and accounting, which is where his interest in politics grew.

Whilst at university, Cllr Gardiner was elected as a Conservative member of the student union council and he was also treasurer of the university's raising and giving (RAG) committee.

He moved to Pamber Heath in 1977 and, in 1980, joined Tally Limited as chief accountant. During his 22 years with the company, he saw it grow in size and eventually move to Basingstoke.

Cllr Gardiner took on the role of treasurer for the local Conservative Association and joined Pamber Heath Parish Council in 1991.

The following year, he won his first seat on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in the Calleva ward.

In 1997, Cllr Gardiner met Tricia, who was the parish clerk of Pamber Heath Parish Council, and married her the following year at Basingstoke Register Office.

Cllr Gardiner is stepfather to Tricia's son and daughter from a previous marriage, and the couple have three grandchildren.

The new Mayor has been involved with various groups in the borough, was the council representative for nine years on The Haymarket Theatre board, from 1996, and he is also a member of the advisory committee for the Hampshire Wildlife Trust.

Cllr Gardiner successfully stood for election in the Pamber and Silchester ward in 2012 following a four-year break, which brings his total number of years in service to 18.

Addressing the council and guests, Cllr Gardiner said: “Thank you to my proposer and seconder for their kind words. I am looking forward to my year as Mayor.”

Donations to his year-long charity appeal will go to The Basingstoke Charities, Basingstoke Dial-a-Ride and the Basingstoke Young Carers.

Conservative councillor for Kempshott, Anne Court, has been appointed as Deputy Mayor for 2014-15.