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The tradition of having a Mayor of Preston dates back to the middle ages when the city's first Charter (a document bestowing certain rights on a town) was granted by Henry II in 1179.
The Mayor of Preston acts as the city's first citizen, which means they speak on behalf of the city and are an important part of its identity. They also represent local people at civic and ceremonial events.
Preston's first recorded Mayor was called Aubrey, son of Robert, who took up his position in 1327. Although there is little other information about him, it is thought that he was a wealthy businessman of his time and was chosen to be Mayor by a select few wealthy associates, the majority of local people had no say in the matter.
Nowadays, the Mayor has to be a Preston city councillor, meaning that local people have voted for them to represent their communities. In order to become Mayor, a councillor, usually someone who has served for many years, has to be selected to serve in office by their colleagues at Annual Council, which is traditionally held after the elections in June.
Once chosen, they become Deputy Mayor for a year, before stepping up at the following Annual Council and serve as the Mayor for a year.
The role of the Mayor is twofold - to chair council meetings, and to act as ceremonial head representing the city at engagements throughout their year in office. Full council meetings are held at Preston Town Hall every eight weeks. As the chair, the Mayor leads the meeting and is responsible for announcing items to be discussed. Like any other councillor, the Mayor is allowed to vote on council decisions at these meetings, but unlike any other council member, the Mayor can use an additional casting vote when a decision is tied.
The Mayor's ceremonial role is to represent the city at annual events such as the Remembrance Day service and Holocaust Memorial Day, as well as one-off high-profile engagements such as the Queen's visit in 2002. The Mayor's diary includes more than 500 appointments throughout the year and is organised by the council's Mayoral Officer.
In Preston, the Mayor can be male or female. If the Mayor's partner is a woman, she is known as the Mayoress. If the Mayor's partner is a man, he is called the Mayor's Consort.
When attending official appointments, the Mayor wears civic insignia, which includes the mayoral robes and chains.
The mayoral chains and badge are an important tradition, having been commissioned to celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1887 at a cost of £800.
Designed by Alfred Gilbert ARA, these chains were presented to then Mayor James Borrow in 1888 and have been used at mayoral events ever since.
In addition to the Mayor, there are other civic and ceremonial titles that the council can award.
Honorary Freeman of the City is the highest civic accolade that can be bestowed on a person or organisation and is awarded for outstanding contribution to the city.
The title of honorary alderman is given to former councillors in recognition of their contribution to the city.
Preston also has an honorary recorder - a senior circuit judge of the city - whose role involves strengthening the links between the judiciary and the council.
Honorary freeman, alderman and recorder roles are decided at special meetings of the council, called extraordinary meetings.
Along with the mayoral and civic roles, the civic crest (or coat of arms) is synonymous with Preston.
The crest is shaped like a shield and features the Lamb of St Wilfred, Preston's patron saint, and the letters 'PP', which stand for Princeps Pacis (meaning prince of peace). It represents the city and is different and separate to the council logo.