The first Green mayor of Lancaster says he’s all set to meet the Queen – thanks to a tin of shoe polish.
Councillor Jon Barry will greet Her Majesty when she arrives at Lancaster train station on Friday in one of his first engagements as mayor.
And Green party councillor Barry, who is known for his scruffy appearance, joked: “I’ve just bought some shoe polish...I might ask her to show me how to use it properly!”
Coun Barry, who officially became the mayor of Lancaster last Friday, says the royal visit is a “good start” to what could be an unconventional year in office.
A keen cyclist, the Marsh ward councillor will ride his bicycle to many official events.
Coun Barry has had a special two-wheeled trailer fitted to the back of his bike to carry his mayoral robe and chain.
He calls his bike and trailer ‘the Mayor-mobile’.
The trailer is emblazoned with the Lancaster crest and has an ‘L50’ number plate, the same as the mayoral car.
Coun Barry also has a special mayor’s rucksack to carry his smart shoes, and will get changed before he arrives at engagements.
He also said Lancaster City Council chief executive Mark Cullinan has given him some ties to wear.
“I’m being reasonably smart,” he said.
“People keep seeing the pictures of me in my mayor outfit and say I scrub up well!
“But I will still be the normal Jon Barry most of the time. Every now and again I will become this other person.”
Coun Barry, a councillor since 1995, was born in Rainham in Kent. He attended Maidstone Grammar School and then Reading and Edinburgh Universities.
Coun Barry arrived in Lancaster in 1987 to take up a research position and, later, was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Lancaster University.
He left the university in 2000 and now works three days per week, mainly from home, advising scientists at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science in Lowestoft.
He cycles with Lune and Lancaster cycling clubs and has five bikes.
He shares two dogs and an allotment with his partner Gill, who is an artist and animal behaviourist.
The mayor making ceremony was held at a packed Ashton Hall in Lancaster. The mayor is chosen each year based on seniority on Lancaster City Council.