Mayoral chain refurbishment to cost more than £3,000
- Credit: Matthew Usher
The refurbishment of a town’s mayoral chain is expected to cost more than £3,000, a council has confirmed.
Dereham Town Council’s ceremonial chain, worn by the mayor on civic occasions, is currently undergoing restoration work in Birmingham, and is expected back in Dereham for the summer.
The restoration includes an £800 jewel refurbishment and £650 polishing and re-plating process.
A £300 velvet collar will also be included in the cost, as previous mayors had found that the spikes used to hold the chain in place ruined their clothing - despite the fact that the mayor’s allowance can be used to purchase replacement clothing.
Councillors had at one point considered paying for the re-engraving of the names of previous mayors to be done by hand, which would have pushed the total refurbishment cost to more than £4,000.
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Instead, the council has opted for the cheaper option of machine-engraving.
The money will come from the council’s civic budget, which has been underspent by some £6,462 this year - largely due to the lack of events held in Dereham since the pandemic began.
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Town clerk Tony Needham said the chain would include the names of Dereham’s mayors stretching back to 1895, and said the name of each mayor will be engraved only once, even if they had served more than one term in office.
Mr Needham said this measure would theoretically extend the life of the chain by a further 30 years, as there was much more space available to add the future mayors’ names.
The council first discussed refurbishing the chain in October 2020. The chain is thought not to have had any maintenance since 1973, and three-time former mayor Linda Monument had said it was “beginning to be shabby and difficult to wear”.
Several residents at the time had voiced their anger over the cost, with one calling it “a huge amount of money for something so redundant” and another saying the council had the “wrong priorities” at “the wrong time”.
But current mayor Stuart Green, who has worn the chain only once during his tenure, had said: “Now is the time, especially as there aren’t many functions being attended this year.”
He added: “It’s something that needs to be done. It’s not something you do very regularly… This should hopefully keep it in good condition for many decades.”