THE new Mayor of Bridgwater for the year 2022-23 is the first woman to hold the office in 36 years.

After being elected at the annual meeting of Bridgwater Town Council this month, Cllr Liz Leavy also became only the eighth female first citizen in the town's history.

She will be supported in the role by Cllr Alex Glassford as her consort.

Cllr Leavy was born in Manchester and later moved with her family to Bridgwater, where her mother Kathleen had relatives.

The family moved around the country as her father, Glyn, was a Presbyterian Minister who held various posts.

They eventually settled in London, where Cllr Leavy went on to study at university in the 1960s.

Like her mother before her, she became both a teacher and a councillor.

Both taught at the Girls Grammar School, but Liz then went on to teach in Somerset at Haygrove, Chilton and Sydenham and then finally at Bishop Fox's in Taunton.

She married Jim, from Athlone, in the Republic of Ireland in 1970 after they met while working for Marshall & Snelgrove (which later became Debenhams) in London.

They lived for a while in Dublin, but they chose in 1971 to relocate to Bridgwater, where the couple had a son and two daughters.

She was widowed in 2001, but has four grandchildren and a great grandchild.

More recently, Cllr Leavy worked in Bridgwater Library and continued as a stalwart of the Bridgwater Labour Party.

She usually stood as a paper candidate in seats that she was unlikely to win.

Then at the election in 2015, she stood successfully in the town council in the Tory stronghold of Wyndham.

Her passage into local politics was made easier as the Conservatives had failed to put up a candidate due to ill health..

She enjoyed representing the area and stood again in 2019, when she was elected to both the town and Sedgemoor District Councils for the Hamp area, to which she was elected again in 2022.

She is a fluent speaker of French and German and takes a special interest in the arts, becoming the town council's portfolio holder for art,culture and heritage in 2019 and now Mayor in 2022.