WHITCHURCH town mayor Councillor Mike McDonald had cause for celebration when he donned a mortar board and gown for his graduation.

Cllr McDonald, who will finish his two-year stint as the chairman of the council in May, gained a Masters in Hospice Leadership from Lancaster University.

He is the chief executive of the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice, in Stoke, and hopes to use his hard work to continue to progress in his role.

“I am delighted to have achieved a distinction in the Masters qualification,” he said.

“This will hopefully enable greater personal impact on the care of children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their families – both at The Donna Louise in Stoke-on-Trent and in the palliative care sector as a whole.”

Meanwhile, Cllr McDonald is set to oversee the multi-million pound construction of a centre for adults with life-limiting conditions. The plans are being bankrolled by the Denise Coates Foundation which was set up by the bet365 founder and chief executive.

It means the charity will no longer discharge young adults in their care when they reach the age of 19.

Cllr McDonald said: “Over the past year we have conducted numerous focus groups with our young people and their families to understand their needs as young adults, and how we can best meet those needs.

“What has become clear is there is a real need for our young people to have a place to go where they can be supported by people they trust, have the space to socialise with other young adults and have facilities that help them develop the skills they need for more independent living.”