Cotswold Life - - CUM­MINGS’ GO­INGS -

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

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