ARCHBISHOP of York, Dr John Sentamu, has joined in celebrations to mark the end of Malton Mayor’s year in office.

Councillor Joan Lawrence, mother of chef Claudia Lawrence, who disappeared while heading to work at University of York in 2009, invited the Archbishop to a Civic Service today (Sunday, May 11) as she steps down as Malton’s first citizen later this month.

Coun Lawrence became Mayor of Malton in 2013 and at the end of May she will complete her term in office.

She said: “I am grateful to the people of Malton who have helped me to rebuild my life. As Mayor it has been brilliant to be able to give something back to these good people.

“Many years ago, I used to be a Brown Owl, so the Guides, Brownies, Rainbows, Scouts, Cubs, Beavers and even the Explorers joined in the Civic Service today.

“These young people are so important and they have so much to offer in our communities. When Claudia disappeared five years ago, the Archbishop said that I must never give up and always to have hope.

“His words have really encouraged me and hopefully his message today at the service will inspire others too.”

Dr Sentamu acted as preacher at the ecumenical civic service at Saville Street Methodist Church, Malton.

Coun Lawrence, who was previously deputy mayor, took over from Coun Jason Fitzgerald-Smith as mayor last year, and has been a member of the council for the past six years.