One of York’s oldest yearly traditions takes place today: the Mayor Making ceremony. More than 150 guests were due to attend the annual council meeting when the new Lord Mayor is officially appointed.
It heralds the start of a civic year when 800 years of city independence will be celebrated under the York 800 banner.
After the ceremony, the council will process through the city centre in their official robes, accompanied by the York Waits.
The day will also see the new public area on Parliament Street used for the very first time. The party will pause at the site of the old ‘Splash Palace’ toilet block outside Marks & Spencer where City of York Council chief executive Kersten England will read a proclamation to mark the special occasion.
We asked both incoming and outgoing Lord Mayors for their thoughts.
When you were growing up did you think you might one day be Lord Mayor of York?
Like many people in York I had no idea how anyone became Lord Mayor. The first I remember was a lady in the late 50s who presented me with a prize at the Odeon Cinema matinee on a Saturday morning.
How does it feel to be joining this historic tradition?
Proud. What a year to be chosen. Eight hundred years, Olympic & Paralympic torches, flotillas, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and many, many other events to celebrate a great city.
Do you get a pre-Mayor briefing about the job? What have they told you?
No! Although we’re looking at changing that it really is a story of Annual Council and then it’s over to you. Luckily I was the Sheriff of York five years ago so that gave me an insight that will help, but there are many things that can be improved on and I’m hoping to be part of that.
Is it particularly special to be leading the York 800 celebrations?
To be part of the history of York is very special anyway so to be able to be Lord Mayor this year is even better.
How have your friends and family reacted?
With astonishment! My family are especially proud and friends are just delighted – mainly because they think they can stay at the Mansion House if they have a late night out.
What are you most looking forward to about being Lord Mayor?
Meeting so many people from all walks of life and being able to promote the city to businesses form around the country and world.
Are you nervous?
Very – the thought of having to make so many speeches is daunting and uncomfortable.
Is the Mansion House much different to where you live now? Will you be redecorating/shifting the furniture around?
Well, the House itself looks beautiful from the outside and the rooms which are open to and used by the public are amazing. Unfortunately, the living accommodation doesn’t quite match up to that. Although it’s in great need of modernisation to a basic standard there’s no budget to allow it to happen but I have been told the (small) kitchen will get a lick of paint at some time. Sloping floors are a real problem if you get up in the night I believe. However, it’s a great opportunity to stay at the best Council House in York…
When you were growing up, did you ever imagine that one day you’d be Lord Mayor of York?
How did you feel to be made Lord Mayor?
What are the best and worst things about living in the Mansion House?
Best thing – the city centre location. The worst thing – you feel as though you are rattling around at times.
What have been some of the most unusual, entertaining and memorable moments during your year in office?
Opening a bicycle shed at Clifton & Rawcliffe Primary School. Meeting the Queen and lunching with her. Too many to mention.
What will you miss most?
A busy calendar
What advice do you have for your successor?