Civic and non-political roles
Role of the Chairman
Chairman of the council is a civic and ceremonial role. The Chairman:
- is the first citizen of the area
- leads in major events and acts as host to visiting dignitaries
- represents the council locally, nationally and internationally
- acts as an impartial chairman for full Council and other meetings
The Chairman and Vice Chairman are elected at the annual meeting of full Council each May.
The position of Honorary Alderman is non-political. Aldermen take part in civic events throughout the area. This honour can be awarded for exceptional service over a minimum period of 15 years, to a councillor on his or her retirement as a local councillor.
Honorary Aldermen are proposed and seconded by serving members of the council. If there is majority support for the nomination, election to the Roll of Honorary Aldermen usually takes place at a special Council meeting held immediately before annual Council in May.
Mayor of High Wycombe
The Mayor of High Wycombe (external website) represents the town at civic and ceremonial events. The Mayor is chosen each year at the annual meeting of the charter trustees. The Mayor is formally appointed at the annual "weighing in" ceremony. Councillors representing the High Wycombe town wards hold ceremonial roles as charter trustees.
The office of Mayor is ceremonial and not political.
Freemen and Freewomen or Honorary Burgess
Historically the status of Burgess was hereditary and the ownership or occupation of a house or a door opening onto the High Street in High Wycombe was the original requirement.
Today, the town of High Wycombe through the Charter Trustees honours persons of merit by making them an Freeman or Freewoman of the town, following a change of legislation which meant that Burgesses could no longer be appointed.