How mayor of Lancaster coped without his trousers

Life with Jon Barry as mayor of Lancaster has never been dull.

Monday, 16th May 2016, 6:05 am
Former mayor of Lancaster Jon Barry on a charity cycle ride in Cartmel during his year in office.

The outgoing first ever Green mayor of the district has been one of the most charismatic ever to don the robes and chain.

Known as the ‘Mayor on a Bike’ he stuck to his Green principles by eschewing the traditional mayoral car and instead cycled to many engagements, even taking part in the Morecambe Carnival on his two-wheeler.

His biking led to many funny moments including when he forgot his trousers for an event in Abbeystead and had to talk to residents wearing his cycling shorts!

Coun Jon Barry in his cycling shorts at a mayoral engagement in Abbeystead.

“I’ve only broken my pledge on one occasion to not use the mayoral limousine,” said Jon.

“I thought I might as well try it out once - and Carlisle is a long way to cycle with a cold.”

After coming to the end of his year in office, Coun Barry admitted his intention as mayor “was to rock the boat a little, but not so much as the waves got in”.

“Whether I’ve been successful is for others to judge,” he said in his annual report to Lancaster City Council.

Coun Jon Barry in his cycling shorts at a mayoral engagement in Abbeystead.

“I’ve tried to respect the position but also to treat it with some humour and to not get too self-important...nice though that is at times.

“I’ve tried to do virtually every local event I could.

“I’ve generally said no to other mayors’ nosh-ups and tours, or else I sent (deputy) Caroline Jackson. Partly because these take up a lot of time which I haven’t had much of as I work three days a week and partly because I’ve wanted to prioritise local and community events.”

Jon, a city councillor for Marsh ward, said his favourite cultural functions have been the musicals and singing events. He also enjoyed judging mince pie competitions and bake-offs.

“I did come a cropper eating-wise on one Saturday, though,” he said.

“I’d double booked and only realised two days before. The only way round it was to consume a full vegetarian thali at the Sultan (restaurant) at 6 o’clock, regrettably with extra naan bread. And then to go onto a three courser at 8 o’clock at my next venue. You try cycling home with that lot inside you.”

Jon said he also enjoyed visiting Lancaster University and local schools.

“Kids really do enjoy taking selfies with mayors,” he said.

“And a top-tip for the next mayor – kids seem to prefer high-fives to proper handshakes. Probably not a good idea if you meet the queen though.”

Coun Barry organised two fundraising events during his mayoral year. He and 30 other cyclists cycled the 81 mile Bay cycle route, raising around £5,000. He also held a function to raise money for St John’s and to take local primary school pupils to Leighton Moss on wildlife days in the summer, raising around £1,500.