LET’S GET THIS PARTY STARTED
Last month I shared with you how touched I was to be asked to be the Mock Mayor of Barton. This historic role dating back to the Civil War was revived 30 years ago and now it’s my turn. Over the course of a wild, crazy, wonderful few days, my term in office started with a bang. Part one of my baptism kicked off with a rowdy, raucous night at One Eyed Jacks on Barton Street with friends and family. The rule is simple, the Mock Mayor must be officially appointed in the Barton area and so, surrounded by my Court Leet and several pints of ale, the speeches, proclamations, abuse and mickey-taking all merged into one riotous party. I’m not sure quite how I made it on air at 6 the next morning but I’m told I did.
Part two happened a couple of days later when, in full regalia, I ventured into The Shed for Gloucester’s first game of the season. This isn’t a place for the faint-hearted but I decided The Mayor should be there. This was one of the most memorable nights at Kingsholm with a jam-packed, full to the brim stadium, a gutsy, thrilling, tight tussle and to cap it off a last minute win over champions Exeter to kick off Johan Ackermann’s reign as coach.
The city was buzzing that night and the energy and afterglow spread into the next day… Gloucester Day. This is held to celebrate the victory in the Siege of Gloucester and it starts with the Mock Mayor being paraded around the city in some comedy contraption. Over the years we’ve had wheelie bins, rubber dinghies, tricycles and for me, my loving Court Leet provided a sedan chair… without a chair. It looked like something crossed between a Carry On movie and an episode of The Flintstones.
I wore a permanent smile for the whole day lapping up the smiles, the eccentricity, the humour and the warmth from thousands of people. It genuinely was one of the most memorable, touching, emotional days of my life. These crazy capers will continue throughout the year to keep the Mock Mayor role and its historical heritage alive and thriving. There is another theme however I want to explore which is just as important to me as the theatrics. The people of Barton welcomed me into their world 20 years ago and this year they have given me the ultimate gift. In a community of over 50 nationalities and 50 different languages, the theme of acceptance and integration is a story I’m looking forward to exploring with my existing and hopefully new group of friends.
Barton’s Mock Mayor in The Shed