THE new Mayor and Mayoress are definitely not to be messed with.

For Councillor Geoffrey Pearl who this week took up office of Mayor is a black belt in the martial arts discipline of ju-jitsu and both he and his wife, Carol teach the sport. Born in Liverpool, Councillor Pearl grew up in the Mossley Hill area of the city, attended Liverpool Hebrew School and King David High School and left at the age of 15 to take up an apprenticeship.

He studied at Liverpool College of Art and Craft then worked in a city centre pub and later a carpet shop.

He and his wife met in 1968, were married in 1969 and have a son David and a daughter Sarah. They also have six grandchildren.

Councillor Pearl ran his own business for 25 years and, although he is now retired, still keeps busy and the couple run two ju-jitsu classes a week at Eccleston teaching both adult and junior students.

He maintained his interest in politics from school days which resulted in his election to St Helens Council in 1996 as a ward councillor for Eccleston.

Eagerly anticipating the coming year Councillor Pearl said: “St Helens is full of fantastic, hard-working, caring people and organisations.

“Meeting as many of them possible over the next 12 months is something I regard as a privilege and an honour. As Mayor I will be doing my best to highlight their efforts and help them achieve the recognition they deserve.”

Both Councillor and Mrs Pearl are also long-standing members of Eccleston Parish Council, and both have served as Chairman.