In May 2000 I had the honour to be elected Mayor of Warrington
and thus began a very memorable year for me with Nev as my
The role of Civic Mayor is completely non-political. The
Mayor is the town's first citizen; Chairman of the Council;
the Council's representative at all events, both within and
outside the Borough; and, most important of all, is the Queen's
representative in the Borough and on all civic ceremonial
occasions, at which the Mayor is preceded by the mace, which
bears the Royal Coat of Arms, and the Sword.
The council elects the mayor at the Annual Council meeting
in May and since 1985 the ruling Labour Group has only selected
labour councillors to be mayor. Being a Conservative councillor
I never expected that I would ever become mayor, but when
I was offered the opportunity I was very pleased to accept.
It is a very great honour and this showed that the members
had confidence in me to do the job and represent the Borough.
The office of mayor is a fulltime job and requires total
commitment. There is no time for a personal life. The five
previous lady mayors had all chosen to have ladies as their
mayoresses, so Nev was the first Consort. The mayoress's chain
is a beautiful piece of Victorian jewellery and completely
unsuitable for a man, so we had to purchase a more appropriate
new chain which we donated to the Borough.
Amongst the duties of the mayor there are the many civic
events in the Borough e.g. Walking Day, Remembrance Sunday,
Civic Sunday, Regimental Sunday, and numerous civic visits
to other Boroughs in Cheshire, Merseyside, Manchester and
Lancashire and military events.
There is a social round of civic services and mayoral balls
and dinners which are all very enjoyable, and we developed
many friendships particularly with the Cheshire 'chain gang'
which we renewed recently with a visit to Dublin. There are
many community events in the Borough, carnivals, walking days,
festivals and special celebrations. We visited sporting clubs,
social clubs, community clubs and association and society
events. Wherever we went, in every ward, very friendly people
made us very welcome.
The mayor is either patron or president of many societies
and associations in Warrington. This brought many invitations
to attend concerts and amateur dramatic productions-in the
best seats of course! The district has many talented musicians
and singers in its orchestras, bands, choirs and choral societies.
In particular our association with the Warrington Male Voice
Choir took us to a series of concerts in Northern Ireland
along with Terry Waite and his wife. The concerts were their
effort to help build bridges across the sectarian divide using
music and some powerful homilies from Terry based on his terrible
We also accompanied the choir to Berlin and Leipzig and
had a fabulous and educational week. Leipzig and area is an
historic musical region, the home of many composers, but in
particular J.S.Bach who was organist and choirmaster at a
local church where the choir sang at evensong. Leipzig is
a beautiful city and Saxony is well worth visiting.
We visited many primary schools and playgroups quite often
taking the civic regalia to show the children and tell them
the history of the chains. Little children are very innocent
and ask questions such as "Has the sword killed anyone?
Reply 'not yet!', and looking at the chain, 'Did you win that?'.
Little girls even curtsied because they thought I was the
I am often asked what was the highlight of my year which
is difficult to answer with so many events to remember, but,
not in any order, we had a visit from the Princess Royal to
a youth event at the Peace Centre, we attended the installation
of the Bishop of Warrington, Bishop of Birkenhead and Bishop
of Stockport at York Minster, Bob the Builder helped me to
switch on the Xmas lights and Nev enjoyed lunch with Graham
Gooch and Clive Lloyd. But on a personal note my highlight
was going to Buckingham Palace to receive from Her Majesty
The Queen the MBE, awarded 'for services to the community
We received many people at the Town Hall, the majority being
local people who had achieved a distinction or were representing
a multitude of groups. Special guests were the Mayors from
nine towns in the Nachod region of the Czech Republic; the
Mayor of Auckland, New Zealand; the Mayor of Recife, Brazil;
the Mayor of Omagh, Northern Ireland; the youngest MP from
Soweto, South Africa; the Archbishop of Liverpool and Heads
of Christian Churches in the Mersey region; and the daughter
of Mr Monks, the donor to the town of the Golden Gates, who
visited Oughtrington Hall where she lived as a child.
As Mayor and Consort we carried out over 700 engagements
during the year, and for that time we put mayoral duties first
over our personal lives-no holidays! I feel privileged and
proud to have been entrusted with the office of mayor. It
was an unforgettable experience.