A PROPOSAL to scrap the mayor making ceremony in Ross-on-Wye and keep the civic service was met with opposition, with one councillor saying she believes the church should be disestablished.

Mayor of Ross Town Council Colin Gray put the proposal forward on Monday night after working with the parish clerk to reduce costs.

The council heard that there is a £750 budget this year for the two events, and he proposed keeping the civic service which is held at St Mary's Church and scrapping the mayor making ceremony at The Larruperz Centre.

He proposed that this could be held instead in the council chamber.

Cllr Jane Roberts said she would rather keep the mayor making event, which is when the new mayor is elected each year.

She said she has no religious faith and feels uncomfortable in participating in religious events such as the civic service.

Cllr Roberts said: "I worry about the civic service. I think it excludes people, such as myself, who are not practising members of the Church of England.

"I think there is an important matter of principle here. I personally believe that this country would be better placed if the church was disestablished and a proper separation between church and state.

"The civic service perpetuates the links between the church and state within the town."

But Cllr Phil Cutter said he believed the civic service was important as it recognised the people who work in the town.

He added: "Whether it is to do with religion or whatever, we must make sure all of those people who work behind the scenes are recognised for what they do in the town for something they can be at or invited to or even if they are not invited, which they can go to."

Cllr David Ravenscroft said he would prefer both events were held and kept within the budget, with just tea and biscuits, instead of a buffet.

But Cllr Colin Gray said:"In almost two years of being the mayor I have been to a lot of places and not many have mayor making."

He said it was a matter of cost, and the clerk told the meeting there were hidden costs with both events, such as officer time to organise them.

But Cllr Ravenscroft suggested an amendment to the proposal that both events will be held within the budget. This was voted through, with two councillors voting against it.