JOHN Mills has agreed to succeed Charlie Hewlett as chairman of Sydenhams Wessex League outfit Lymington & New Milton.

Hewlett and his treasurer wife, Sally, made up their minds last week to step down for personal reasons, but did not want to overshadow Saturday's FA Cup tie at Salisbury City, where the Linnets were beaten 5-1 in the fourth qualifying round.

Their resignations were accepted with regret at a meeting of the club's executive committee on Monday.

Hewlett's departure after a year as chairman opens the door again for Linnets stalwart Mills, chairman of the old AFC Lymington club for eight years who oversaw the merger with New Milton Town in 1998.

He left four years ago when he moved up north for work reasons, but returned to Fawcett's Field during the summer.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Linnets confirmed: "Charlie and Sally Hewlett wish it to be known that their resignations are due solely to personal reasons and that they have no dispute with the club, management or players with whom they have enjoyed working and will continue to support.

"Club president Jack Holliday wished them well in the future and stated that he had formed a close working relationship with them over the past 12 months, resulting in the club now being in a strong position financially and the team - under the guidance of manager Ian Robinson, who was appointed at Charlie's instigation - performing well."

Having twice been forced to withdraw their application for Southern League football for financial reasons, the Linnets are determined to make it third time lucky.

The statement continued: "John is looking forward to working with the executive and football committees and Ian Robinson and his team."