THE chains of office were handed over at Hampshire County Hall as the new chairman of the council Colin Davidovitz took up his role.

Cllr Davidovitz said he felt “humble” but also “proud” to be elected for chairman as he took over from Cllr Ken Thornber who he described as “hard-working” and “inspirational” over his work in the last year.

He said the theme of his chairmanship would be to support the families of the county’s armed forces.

He said: “As you are aware our county is home to a great number of service and ex-service personnel and their wives, husbands and families. They have all served and our country well but now they need our help.

“I hope you will join me in assuring that they receive from us in all that we do.”

After serving in the council for the last 37 years and standing as party leader for 22, Ken Thornber returns to the back benchers for the controlling Conservative group.

He said: “As I rejoin you on the back benches, a word to you all about what I have learned in my 37 years here.

“Never forget who gave you the privilege of serving on this county council, your constituents. You own them your loyalty, and loyalty sometimes transcends your own party loyalty.”

Conservative Jonathan Glen was unanimously appointed as the new vice-chairman.