Council row as mayor snubs chains
Published 13/06/2011 | 12:19
A town mayor has caused a stir by refusing to wear his chains of office - saying: "I don't do bling."
Greg Hayman took up office as Mayor of Cromer, on the north Norfolk coast, last month and instantly caused controversy by attending town council meetings without donning the ceremonial chains.
Hayman, who also refuses to sit on the mayoral podium, preferring to be on the same level as other councillors, said: "I don't wear jewellery or even a watch. I just don't do bling."
Mr Hayman believes he is the first mayor in the country to make such a stand, saying: "Cromer Town Council dates back to the mid-19th century and can be very traditional. At my first meeting one councillor walked out and another has since resigned.
"I respect the office of mayor and the role it can play in the community, but I'm not interested in the baubles. I'm not into all the trappings of office and am here to make a difference, not to revel in the privileges which come with it.
"I think a lot of people are jaded about politics and think politicians are only interested in prestige. If I can help change that with this small gesture, then I will."
The 52-year-old, whose most recent role was head of communications at Cambridge University, took office after beating off challenges from more experienced colleagues.
Instead of wearing the traditional chains, he has invited community groups and charities to design chains to promote their cause.
He is currently wearing a chain made from plastic crustaceans to promote the town's Crab and Lobster Festival.
Veteran town councillor Vera Woodcock walked out of the annual meeting following Mr Hayman's selection as mayor.