COUNCILLOR Eric Harries became mayor of Milford Haven for the third time when he was officially voted in this week.

The chain of office was handed over by outgoing mayor Rhys Sinnett at the Milford Haven Town Council AGM on Monday after a unanimous vote by council members.

The 70-year-old has already had two terms as mayor, once in 1979 and again in 1990, when Milford Haven celebrated its first ever Founders Day.

The former leader of Pembrokeshire County Council first started off his career in local politics at 28 when he was elected to the Milford Haven District Council in 1964.

He said: "It is 42 years almost to the day that I first entered as a member of this council. Subsequently I have served on Preseli Pembrokeshire District Council and was chairman of that, Milford Town Council, Dyfed County Council and on the re-organisation in 1995 I became the first leader of Pembrokeshire County Council until I lost my seat in 1999."

Eric Harries was born in Milford Haven and during his formal address he said: "Fortunately I spent nearly all my working life in Milford Haven and I sincerely hope that many more people will be as fortunate as I am with improved economic prosperity and that more and more people will be able to enjoy their experience here."

Cllr Harries hopes to concentrate on the council's role as a responder to consultation' and on LNG.

He said: "I am most anxious that the developments in natural gas go ahead in a way that brings a very positive spin-off to the town."

At the special mayor-making meeting on Monday Cllr John Roberts proposed that Cllr Harries be elected as mayor and was seconded by Cllr Tony Eden.

Cllr Roberts told the council: "I've known Eric Harries all my life, and without giving any secrets away, we are but for a few months the same age. At the age of 16 I left for a career at sea so our paths parted for 42 years. In 1993 we were both members of the council. He hadn't changed a bit and I think I looked even younger."

Cllr Harries thanked Cllr Sinnett and his wife for their dedicated service, describing the former mayor as a "gentleman and a gentle man."

He appointed Canon John Davies as his chaplain and announced Civic Sunday will be held on Sunday June 11 at St Katherine's Church.