Joan takes up clog iron as Mayor of Austerlands

A UNIQUE local tradition has seen a community champion honoured… with a silver clog iron.

Joan Sykes, centre, the new Mayor of austerlands with outgoing Mayor Anita Aspinall and ex-Mayor Roger Fielding

Joan Sykes is the latest recipient to take on the much-envied role of the Mayor of Austerlands.

Joan, who is chair of Scouthead and Austerlands Community Group, was presented with the iconic ceremonial silver clog iron chain of office by retiring Mayor Anita Aspinall.

The ceremony, held at Saddleworth’s oldest hostelry The Old Original Inn at Scouthead, was conducted by ex-mayor Roger Fielding, complete with red tailcoat and white bow tie.

It was attended by previous Austerlands mayors, wearing miniature clog-irons that were presented to them on their retirement.

Joan, who attended with her husband Paul, received a Yorkshire emblem scarf from Michael Hall of Saddleworth White Rose Society instead of the usual society tie given to male holders of the title.

She is the 19th mayor since the tradition was reintroduced in 1998 and she has recently received a prestigious Above and Beyond award for services to the community.

She said: “I feel humble to have become the Mayor and I hope in my year of office to raise funds for charities.”

Past Mayors with new Mayor Joan Sykes

The retiring Mayor Anita, who lives in Springhead, is a dedicated volunteer with the Oldham branch of the Women’s Trust Fund (WTF) for The Christie Charity.

At the ceremony, she presented a cheque for £1,500 to WTF from the Mayor of Austerlands’ charity and for her fundraising efforts during her Mayoral tenure.

As new Mayor, Joan’s duties will include leading the first band in the Whit Friday contests onto Dawson’s Field, presenting prizes at the contest presentation evening, and formally opening Scouthead and Austerlands Community Group’s Family Fun Day. 

The Mayoral ceremony was reintroduced 19 years ago after the discovery of a clog iron behind a beer barrel at the former Red Lion pub on Huddersfield Road but the tradition is said to date back to the late 1940s.

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