Well deserved, Mr Bird!

One of my favourite images from yesterday’s City of Bath ceremonial Mayor Making ceremony is this one.

It’s a picture of Stephen Bird MBE – the former Head of Heritage Services for B&NES – with the award he has just been given by the newly-installed Mayor of Bath, Cllr Rob Appleyard, in a ceremony held in Bath Abbey.

The new Mayor hands over an illuminated scroll to Stephen Bird MBE

With 41 years of service under his belt, he stepped down from his leading heritage role in September last year.

He can take the credit for putting Bath’s amazing archaeological, cultural, and architectural legacy onto a business footing from which city ratepayers have benefitted in terms of the tourist industry.

Stephen and his wife Rosemary arrive in the civic procession up the Abbey’s central aisle.

In recognition of all this, he was to join the ranks of Lord Nelson, Sir Winston Churchill, Emperor Haile Selassie, and Dame Mary Berry in being admitted as an Honorary Freeman of the City of Bath.

Terry Mitchell – the Mayor’s Officer – leads the civic procession into the Abbey in a role he has played for many years. I know him better as a long-serving member of the Mayor’s Guides!

But of course, the main purpose of the day was to elect a new mayor for the city – an annual ceremonial role that allows a different ‘First Citizen’ every year to represent Bath on hundreds of different diary dates – meeting all sorts of people.

Cllr June Players leads Cllr Appleyard off to a side room for the change of office. She has had a wonderful year as the 794th Mayor of Bath.

It was time for Cllr June Player to hand over the role to Cllr Rob Appleyard in a colourful show of civic pomp and pride on a sun-blessed and busy Saturday in May. Rob becomes the 795th Mayor of Bath

Looking down towards the great West Doors of the Abbey, and over the shoulders of the City of Bath Brass Band.

For invited guests – which included mayors and chairmen from many other towns and cities – a chance to watch a performance of Bath’s biggest annual civic event.

Maces and a ceremonial sword symbolising the city’s long civic history.

Helped along with music from the City of Bath Brass Band and songs from Widcombe Junior School Choir.

The new mayor addresses the Abbey audience and applause – for those who know Amanda – from Rob’s wife. The lady in blue. Second row on the left!

I have included a selection of pictures but must apologise for the video excerpts from Stephen’s ‘Freeman Award’ ceremony being filmed ‘portrait’ rather than ‘landscape’. Put it down to excitement.

L to R. The retiring Deputy Mayor, Cllr Dr Yukteshwar Kumar; the new Deputy Mayor Cllr Michelle O’Doherty; the new Mayor of Bath, Cllr Rob Appleyard and the former Mayor, Cllr June Player.

Thanks for having Bath Newseum along folks and good luck to the new Mayor and Mayoress, Cllr Rob and Amanda Appleyard.

Amanda and Rob Appleyard, the newly-elected Mayor and Mayoress of Bath.

Now here’s that video!