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‘It’s not the earth’ - Council agrees to mayoral chain refurb including £300 velvet collar

PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 October 2020

Then Dereham Mayor Hilary Bushell wearing the chain in 2018. Picture: Ian Burt

Then Dereham Mayor Hilary Bushell wearing the chain in 2018. Picture: Ian Burt

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A town mayor has said ‘now is the time’ to spend thousands of pounds on refurbishing its historic mayoral chains - including the purchase of a velvet collar to stop it snagging on incumbents’ clothing.

New Mayor of Dereham Robert Hambidge.; Photo:Sonya Duncan; Copy:; For: EDP; EDP pics © 2010; (01603) 772434New Mayor of Dereham Robert Hambidge.; Photo:Sonya Duncan; Copy:; For: EDP; EDP pics © 2010; (01603) 772434

Dereham Town Council’s mayoral chains are thought to have had no maintenance work since 1973, but according to the council, it now needs a full polishing, jewel refurbishment and individual re-engraving of the names of 48 previous mayors.

The work could cost more than £4,000.

At a town council meeting on Tuesday, councillor Linda Monument said it was “a really good opportunity” to have the work done - adding that the cost was “not the earth”.

“It’s a rare opportunity to do it. Let’s do it well,” she said.

New Dereham Mayor Tim Birt recieves his chains of office from outgoing Mayor Kate Millbank. Picture: Matthew Usher.New Dereham Mayor Tim Birt recieves his chains of office from outgoing Mayor Kate Millbank. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Ms Monument, who wore the chain last year as mayor, was referring to the cost of repairing the chain and having the engraving done by machine, which will be about £2,500.

However, the council are also considering the option of paying for engraving by hand, which would increase the cost to almost £3,500.

The decision on whether the engraving will be done by machine or hand will be reported at the next meeting.

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In addition to these costs, the council is set to purchase a velvet collar to be worn underneath the chain at a cost of £300, along with a £425 carrying case.

The agenda notes for Tuesday’s meeting explained that previous mayors have found that using spikes on the chain to hold it in place can ruin the clothing underneath.

Mayors therefore receive an allowance to buy replacement clothes.

The agenda stated that men “tend to wear the same suit for every occasion whatever the season. Women often have a bigger wardrobe; we have had female mayors in the past who prefer to use different clothes for different events and don’t want their clothes being snagged by the spikes on the chain.”

Approximately £2,000 of the sum will be covered by funds from the civic events and councillors’ expenses budgets, both of which have been underspent this year.

The remaining cost will come from other underspent budgets.

“Now is the time,” said mayor Stuart Green, “especially as there aren’t many functions being attended this year.”

“It’s something that needs to be done. It’s not something you do very regularly, probably not for another 20 or 30 years.

“This should hopefully keep it in good condition for many decades.”


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