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1958: High Wycombe weighs new mayor

The mayor and corporation of High Wycombe were weighed in today in full view of the public to see whether or not they have been getting fat at the taxpayers' expense.

The annual custom dates back to medieval times and is unique to this Buckinghamshire market town.

Weight is no longer an election issue, but for custom's sake the new mayor, Councillor Lesley Brain, and 24 charter trustees and honorary burgesses obliged by sitting on a specially erected scale to have their weights recorded and compared with last year's.

Traditionally the "macebearer" dressed in tradional costume rings a bell and calls out the weight. When he adds the words "And no more!" the crowd cheers as a sign of their appreciation and gratitude for hard work done for the community.

'And some more!'

But if he shouts "And some more!", it means the mayor has been indulging in too much good living at ratepayers' expense and the crowd jeers and boos.

In years gone by they would have also pelted the offending person with tomatoes and rotten fruit.

Luckily for the new mayor, this year's crowd was more restrained as the macebearer shouted: "Councillor Brain - 13 stone 2lbs - and some more!"

A rather corpulent Councillor RA Wood weighing in at 20 stone received a loud "Boo!" as he slid off the scales.

The weighing-in was preceded by the mayor-making ceremony which began at the Mayor's Parlour in Victoria Road followed by a colourful procession to the Guildhall.

The new mayor signed several legal oaths to the monarch, the citizens of High Wycombe and to the clerk of the market.

In Context
Two years later Cllr Wood entered the High Wycombe record books weighing in at 20st 5lbs.

He was beaten in 2002 when outgoing mayor Cllr Nigel Vickery weighed in at 21 stone.

In 1999 the new mayor Cllr Peter Cartwright revitalised the ceremonial procession to the Guildhall and on to the weighing-in ceremony in the High Street by re-introducing a drummer drumming out the old mayor.


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