A former bar and restaurant manager who was elected to her late husband’s seat on Newark and Sherwood District Council has been appointed its chairman.

Mrs Linda Tift (Lab) who represents Rainworth North and Rufford, was handed the chain of office by outgoing chairman Mr Tony Roberts (Con) at a council meeting on Tuesday.

She received unanimous cross-party support for the role, despite the authority being led by Conservatives.

Mrs Tift, who was nominated by Labour group leader Mr David Staples, said it was an honour to be chairman.

She said there would be challenges for the council in the year ahead with its move to new offices at Castle House, Newark, but she was confident the staff would handle it smoothly.

Mrs Tift replaced her late husband, Mr Allen Tift, on the council in 2010 after standing for his seat in a by-election.

The 34th chairman of the authority in its current guise, she was born in Malta and moved with her family to Kent, where she attended school.

She then worked in a shipyard and then became an air stewardess.

After the couple married, they ran bars and restaurants in London before moving to Rainworth.

Mrs Tift became a member of Rainworth Parish Council and her husband was elected to the district council.

'Whatever Linda does, she loves'

She worked in sales and as an international telephone operator.

Mr Staples said: “Whatever Linda does, she loves, and she brings to it an enthusiasm and a love of meeting people, which will be invaluable in her role as ambassador for the community.”

Council leader Mr Roger Blaney (Con) who seconded the nomination, said as chairman Mrs Tift would be the first citizen of Newark and Sherwood and would represent everyone in the community and the council.

“That’s why I’m particularly pleased that the proposer and seconder are coming from the two sides of this council,” he said.

“She has proved to be an able councillor. She has won our respect.”

Outgoing chairman Mr Tony Roberts attended more than 100 events during his time in office.

He said the highlight was a civic service at the gatehouse at Newark Castle, which commemorated the 800th anniversary of the death there of King John.

Conservative councillor Mr Keith Walker, who represents Farndon and Fernwood, was elected vice-chairman unanimously, after being nominated by party colleague Mr Keith Girling.

Mr Girling said: “Keith will be a good ambassador. I have no doubt he will carry out his duty with kindness and dignity.”