The first chairman of the new Dorset Council is Blackmore Vale councillor Pauline Batstone.

She is one of Dorset's longest serving councillors and may find her background in the probation service useful for maintaining order.

A Conservative, who lives at Sturminster Newton, she has spent almost 50 years at County Hall – 12 as an employee, starting work in the typing pool, and 24 as a councillor.

Thanking councillors for their confidence in her she said that she hoped the new council would prove itself to be a 21st century council, working together for the best of Dorset. She said she would work hard to repair what she acknowledged might have been damage done to relationship with town and parish councils during the process of merging six councils into one.

The vice chairman will be Val Pothecary, another experienced Conservative councillor who was the outgoing chair of North Dorset District Council and a previous Mayor of Gillingham.