THERE will be a changing of the guard in Devizes in May when Conservative Andy Johnson takes over as deputy mayor.

For the past seven years ruling party Devizes Guardians have held the post and then gone on to become the town's mayor the following year.

But on Thursday evening Mr Johnson was nominated by independent Ian Hopkins and was seconded by Guardian Nigel Carter.

It is understood that in the days leading up to the election a lot of jockeying had gone on between councillors after it had been suggested that a Devizes Guardian would once again be put forward for the prime role.

But several Guardians had threatened to revolt and vote for Cllr Johnson.

At the 11th hour the Guardian councillor, who would have been put forward, decided to withdraw from running and Cllr Johnson was voted in unanimously.

He said: "I am just very grateful to have been elected. I am very much looking forward to taking office as deputy mayor in May and hopefully becoming mayor the year after."

He has an adult disabled son and is keen to support youth organisations and those that help the vulnerable such as the Devizes Foodbank.

He said: "Living with a disabled son gives me an insight into the lives of others with disabilities and their families, so working with the Local Youth Network I helped allocate funds to support disabled youth within existing youth groups as well as organizing general funds for youth clubs from the Devizes Area Board pot, and Devizes Town Council.

"When the food bank was losing its home I searched the town and its estate agents to find it a new base, this resulted in locating space within Devizes Community Hospital."

Cllr Johnson, who is married to Kayoko, has three children. He moved to Wiltshire 21 years ago from South London and has lived in Devizes for 11 years.

He grew up in Aldershot as the youngest of six children and began his working life as an apprentice electrician. He later worked in property management for IKEA and then became involved with video editing an worked for a film studio in London.

He said: "After moving to Wiltshire I organized and ran youth workshops. My life is now all in the voluntary sector, with the youth network, trusteeship of various charities, working with Sovereign Housing Association and of course on Devizes Town Council."

The last time a Conservative was deputy mayor was in 2012/13 when Jim Gudgeon held the role. But there was controversy when he resigned just before becoming mayor in 2013 amid claims he had been bullied.

Cllr Johnson was elected to the town council in May, 2013.

Present deputy mayor Guardian Judy Rose will become mayor in May at the end of Andy Geddes' term of office.