The mayor is the first citizen of the borough. Members of the council nominate a councillor each year to take on this role.
Councillor Mrs Gill Blackwell was invested as mayor of Tewkesbury Borough at a ceremony held at St Andrews Church in Churchdown on Thursday 12 May 2016. Councillor Blackwell named her friend, Mrs Christine Wray, as her mayoress and her husband, Mr Mike Blackwell as her consort. Her chaplain is Reverend Wendy Ruffle of Prior's Park, Tewkesbury.
Councillor Harry Turbyfield was invested as deputy mayor for the year at the same ceremony. His partner, Ruth, is his mayoress.
The mayor's role is to chair council meetings and to lead the council at civic events.
Each mayor traditionally elects charities which are then supported over the course of the year by charity events. During her year in office Councillor Blackwell will be supporting Winston's Wish and the Stroke Unit at Gloucester Royal Hospital.
If you wish to enquire whether the mayor is available to open your event or attend a function, please contact her: email@example.com.
History and regalia
Coat of Arms of the Borough of Tewkesbury
In the shield, the golden cross engrailed on red in reference to the Arms of Tewkesbury Abbey occupies the place of honour. In the chief of the shield the castle, the council's emblem from the corporate seal and the mayor's chain, appears between red and white roses in reference to the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471.
In the crest, a demi-lion with two tails from the Arms of Dudley, Earl of Leicester, issues from a Saxon crown denoting a royal borough with Saxon origin and holds between the paws a black pear from the Arms of Sir George Dowty.
The supporters are a heraldic panther from the Arms of the Duke of Beaufort and an eagle from the Arms of the Earl of Coventry, both families have a long association with the borough.
The shield and the supporters rest on the compartment in which symbolic reference is made to the confluence at Tewkesbury of the Rivers Severn and Avon.
Mayoral Chain and Badge of Office
The mayoral chain and badge of office date back to 1974 and were designed and wrought by Marples and Beasley Limited, Gold and Silversmiths of Birmingham. The decorative chain is made up of 48 semi-circular gold links. The ends of the chain are joined by a large disc on which is set a sun in splendour, in heraldry being a symbol of constant prosperity. In the centre of the sun is a red and white Tudor rose, symbolic of the borough's historic link with the War of the Roses.
Set within the links of the chain are three gold discs on which are portrayed, in enamel, the insignia of the badges of office or the mayor and chairmen of the three constituent authorities (Cheltenham Rural District Council, Gloucester Rural District Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council amalgamated to form the new Tewkesbury Borough Council as a result of local government reorganisation in 1974).
The badge, which is worn as a pendant to the chain, hangs from the large sun disc, although it can be taken off and worn separately on a ribbon. It is of massive gold with a design formed by cross maces with a surround of laurel taken from the Gloucester Rural badge of office. On the top of the badge is the battled castle from the Tewkesbury badge of office and at the bottom of the badge is the head of the Cotswold ram from the Cheltenham Rural badge of office.
On the centre of the badge, and forming part of the design, is an elevated shield of white enamel on which the borough Coat of Arms is portrayed. Beneath the shield is a scroll on which are the words "Borough of Tewkesbury". On the reverse side of the badge, the following inscription is engraved: "This chain of office was presented by Sir George Dowty, D.L., September 1974".
Freemen and Honorary Aldermen
Under section 246 of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended by the Local Democracy, Economic Development & Construction Act 2009), a council may, by a resolution passed by not less than two thirds of the members voting at a meeting specially convened for the purpose, confer the title of honorary alderman on persons who have, in the opinion of the council, rendered eminent services to the council as past members. New aldermen are presented with an honorary alderman's scroll at the ceremony.
An honorary alderman may attend and take part in such civic ceremonies as the council may decide but shall not have the right to attend meetings of the council, or a committee of the council, or receive any allowances or other payments.
A list of Tewkesbury Borough Council Honorary Aldermen from 1974 can be obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under the same Act, a council may, by a resolution passed by not less than two thirds of the members voting at a meeting specially convened for the purpose, admit to be honorary freemen, persons of distinction who have, in the opinion of the council, rendered eminent services to the borough. Newly admitted freemen should take the appropriate freeman's oath and sign the freeman's roll, witnessed by the Mayor and Chief Executive. Freemen do not have the same rights as honorary aldermen.
There are currently three freemen:
The freedom of the borough was bestowed upon Base Vehicle Depot Ashchurch on 5 June 1971 and a ceremonial sword was presented to the depot. The last freedom parade was on 2 July 1997.
RAF Innsworth/Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC)
The freedom of the borough was bestowed upon RAF Innsworth on 28 April 1977. The last freedom parade was held on 3 May 2002. RAF Innsworth closed in March 2008 and was renamed Imjin Barracks in November 2008, prior to the arrival of Nato's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) to the site from its base in Germany in 2010. The freedom of the borough was bestowed upon the HQ and Support Battalion of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps on 17 September 2012.
The Rifles (formerly 'The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment')
The Gloucestershire Regiment was presented with the freedom of the borough on 30 March 1974. Following the amalgamation into a new regiment, a new freedom of entry to the borough was awarded to the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment on 15 February 2000 in the presence of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as Colonel in Chief.
As a result of restructuring, the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment became part of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry. On 8 October 2006, the regiment exercised its freedom rights through Tewkesbury Town as part of a series of such marches prior to being amalgamated into the new regiment to be known as 'The Rifles'. In February 2007 when the regiment became part of 'The Rifles', the rights bestowed on the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment were formally transferred to the new regiment at a council meeting.