A NEWLY-ELECTED mayor has given an assurance that his hundreds of customers will not have to wait longer than normal for him to clean their windows.

Sid Hawke, who has just taken over as Mayor of Ripon, said that, because he now worked only part-time, his long established window cleaning round in the city would not see a lesser service.

Coun Hawke, whose daughter, Julie Spence, is the new mayoress, said his customers were "over the moon" about his mayoral role as a member of Ripon City Council.

For some time now, Coun Hawke's window cleaning round has worked hand in glove with council business.

When he did work full-time, he often got up at 2am to clean windows at commercial properties in the city and then turned out later to ensure residential properties were given their regular cleaning service.

The new mayor says he often picked up council issues needing attention when he has descended from the ladder. He believed the job was ideal for keeping closely in touch with local residents.

Requests for help and advice are regularly passed to him while on his round, most them pleas for road and footpath repairs.

Coun Hawke, who is 60, is also a member of Harrogate Borough Council, where he sits as an independent member representing part of Ripon.

"I enjoy cleaning windows because being on the round means I am out and about meeting and chatting to the people I represent," he said.

Coun Hawke, a true Riponian, lives in the house where he was born at Ailcey Road and is proud of his local roots.

Before being elected, tradition dictates that fellow councillors must find where the mayor-elect is hiding before the installation ceremony can continue.

It took 20 minutes to discover the latest mayor's hiding place - in the clerk's office at the town hall.

Coun Hawke had wanted to break with tradition by hiding at the nearby Unicorn Hotel but had been told that would be beyond the hiding limits.