COMMUNITY champion Ginny Alexander has spoken of her joy at being named as Oldham's next mayor.

Cllr Alexander learned of her appointment after attending the Labour group's annual meeting at the civic centre last night (Tuesday, May 7).

She said: “I am so happy my heart is bursting with joy.”

It is a unique double delight for the 63 year old councillor because her husband Adrian will be her consort for the year despite losing his council seat in last weak’s borough elections.

Ginny who lived in the St James ward for more than 20 years, says she became a councillor "to make a difference in the community".

And speaking after last night’s meeting she said: “I was asked by the deputy leader Arooj Shah to go into a side room where I was greeted by the leader Sean Fielding.

“I was feeling a bit apprehensive not knowing what was happening. Sean gave his commiserations for my husband Adrian because he lost his seat in the local elections.

“Then he said that because of all the hard work we had done as councillors helping residents with issues, and also the ill health that we had both incurred during last year, he made the decision to make me the Mayor of Oldham.

“I was absolutely shocked and I cried I jumped up and hugged Sean saying it would be an honour and a privilege to serve the town I was born and bred in, and I would love to take the position.

“Sean made the announcement after he gave his report there was thunderous applause to which I was tearful again people were so kind coming up to me and hugging me, shaking my hand and wishing me well, saying it was well deserved.

“My thoughts were how proud would my mum and dad be if they would have been alive to see their daughter become the mayor of Oldham.

“I have a wonderful mayor's committee that my husband Adrian is putting together.”

Earlier in a personal message to her voters Cllr Alexander said she had been encouraged to become a councillor by her husband, friends, family and colleagues.

“I am very proud and humbled the people of St James elected me as their councillor and I will do my utmost best to serve them well.

“As a carer I understand the difficulties many people face and I intend to be their voice.

“I want to see changes happen to improve the lives of people in my ward especially those who are most in need in the community.

“I am very passionate about this as there are so many carers who are not recognised and do an outstanding job, but many receive little or no income.

“I am campaigning along with my fellow councillors to improve the local environment, amenities, jobs and green spaces in the ward.

“I am also the vice chairman of the District Executive where we come together to have discussions about how to best serve the people in our community.

“I will also be joining other local groups to help and assist in their success.

"I have been proactive in the ward providing assistance and advice, and my fellow colleagues and I will be holding regular ward surgeries so that we can continue to give the best advice and help that we possibly can deliver.”

And she said her charities would be The Steven Gartland Foundation Trust, Christies Oldham, Dr Kershaws, TOG Mind Oldham, Action Oldham, Pennine Pen Animal Rescue Oldham,

RSPCA Oldham Branch.

She added: “We will be working hard to raise as much money as possible in my mayoral year. If you would like to come on board and help in any way please don't hesitate to contact me.”