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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 May, 2005, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
First blind mayor takes up office
Richard Lees and guide dog Ramble
Cllr Lees said being made mayor "was full of emotion"
Taunton's first blind mayor was due to be sworn into office on Wednesday.

Councillor Richard Lees lost his sight at the age of 16 after being stung by a swarm of wasps, which badly affected his immune system.

He will go about his civic duties accompanied by his partially-sighted wife Sue and his guide dog Ramble.

Cllr Lees, who works as a student advocate, said that he hoped the civic honour would be an encouragement to others with disabilities.

"I also find this honour to be particularly moving because I will be the first blind mayor of Taunton Deane and also possibly in the country," he said.

"As you can imagine, being made mayor is full of emotion and shows that having a disability does not have to stop you accomplishing life's dreams."

Cllr Lees, who is the Liberal Democrat councillor for Eastgate, has written his own autobiography, A Stinging Tale, and is a registered speaker for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

The Mayor Making Ceremony was due to take place at 1830BST at Bishop Fox's School, Taunton.

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