Eastleigh'S mayoralty is in safe hands after councillors unanimously elected former professional goalkeeper Bernie Wright as the borough's number one citizen.

Eighty-one-year-old Councillor Wright, pictured, became the oldest ever holder of the office and the first Hamble councillor to serve as mayor.

He told the Daily Echo: "I want to achieve meeting as many people as I can, helping as many people as I can and to promote the borough of Eastleigh."

Cllr Wright started his sporting career in 1938 when he signed amateur forms for Charlton Athletic Football Club and played as a colt for Essex County cricket Club.

He falsified his age to join the Household Cavalry just before his 17th birthday at the start of the Second World War. But his sporting prowess meant that he couldn't join his fellow soldiers in the Royal Horse Guards on their first campaign in North Africa.

Cllr Wright landed on Gold Beach shortly after D-Day and fought through France, Belgium, Holland and finally Germany.

After the war he signed for Notts County but an injury ended his football career. However, he continued playing cricket for several local clubs.

After serving with Portsmouth City Police for eight years he began his career in local government.

Cllr Wright married his second wife Ruth - who will be mayoress for the year - in 1979 and between them they have six children and 17 grandchildren.

His chosen charities for the year are Homestart Eastleigh, Hamble Lifeboat and Hamble Sea Scouts.