The lord mayor and sheriff represent the city as first citizens. They receive many requests to attend functions throughout their term in office and may attend up to 500 events. These could range from formal openings to festival launches to 100th birthday celebrations or activities related to their chosen charity.
It is not always possible for them to attend every event due to such demand on their time. Generally the civic heads only attend events within the city council area of jurisdiction but on special occasions may be able to attend some functions outside of the boundary.
The history of Norwich lord mayors and sheriffs
In 1403 Henry IV gave Norwich the right to appoint a mayor and sheriff. The charter states that: ‘the mayor may have a sword carried erect before him in the presence of all magnates and lords except the King. The Sergeants-at-Mace of the mayor and sheriffs may carry gilt or silver maces with the King’s Arms even before the King within the liberty.’
Not many lord mayors or mayors have the right to a sword and only a very few, have the right to carry maces erect in the presence of the monarch.
The added dignity of the title ‘Lord Mayor’ was conferred by Edward VII in 1909 and confirmed in 1974 by Letters Patent.
The office of sheriff dates back to a Charter of Henry IV granted in 1404 which enabled the city to appoint two sheriffs. This was reduced to one in 1835. Under the Letters Patent granted in1974 the sheriff is a ‘local Officer of dignity’ and, as such, holds purely ceremonial status within the city’s life.
Mayors for Peace
The city of Norwich is a longstanding member of the international organisation ‘Mayors for Peace’ which was founded in Japan in 1982. It encourages cities across the world to come together to raise awareness of the work being done to negotiate an end to nuclear weapons and promote world peace.
Today there are over 7000 member cities in 163 countries, and Norwich is one of 81 cities in the UK to have pledged its support.