The role of the Mayor

The formal election of the Mayor of Warrington takes place during the annual meeting of full council at the town hall, usually during the month of May. The term of office lasts for one year.

A deputy mayor is appointed to assist the Mayor throughout the year and it is usual for the deputy to succeed to the Mayor the following year.


The mayor is required to preside over full meetings of the Council. As first citizen of the borough, the Mayor also offers an official welcome to visitors to the town and acts as official host on occasions of civic hospitality.

Promoting the town

The mayor plays a key role in promoting the town and can play an important role to encourage business and commerce to the area.  The mayor also helps to promote many local initiatives, which can attract shoppers and tourists from a wider area. 


Throughout the year the mayor attends many civic events, and other community events too. The mayor is president of around 15 local organisations, involving attendance at annual general meetings and giving support throughout the year. During the year, the mayor attends numerous engagements including many community events and annual civic events.

As well as attending at various charity events within the community, the mayor runs a charity appeal during their term of office.

The newly appointed mayor selects a Mayor’s Chaplain who traditionally offers spiritual guidance to the mayor, and takes part in the annual civic service which traditionally takes place at St Elphin’s Parish Church.


Writing to the mayor

Letters to the Mayor of Warrington should be addressed:

The Mayor of Warrington
Mayor's Parlour
Town Hall
Warrington WA1 1UH

and begin… Dear Mr Mayor

(Or, if you'd like to invite the Mayor to an event, you can do this online)

Speaking to the mayor

When addressing the mayor: "Mr Mayor"

General protocol

  • The mayor always has precedence in the borough of Warrington, except in the presence of the King, or His representative
  • The mayor and mayoress should be met immediately upon arrival by the person responsible for the event, and introduce them to the host/company. The organiser of the event or a designated person and should accompany the mayor and mayoress throughout the event.
  • Unless the mayor occupies the Chair, they should be seated on the immediate right of the person presiding and the consort on the right of the mayor
  • Except for an introduction, it is normal that the mayor should be the first speaker
  • To announce the mayor: The Worshipful the Mayor of the Borough of Warrington, Councillor Steve Wright.
  • The correct form of address when speaking to the mayor is "Mr Mayor"
The robes, chains, mace and sword

The chains of office, and the borough mace, sword and other regalia is know as 'civic insignia'.

There are accepted rules for the wearing of robes and chains. The robe and chain are worn when receiving guests in the borough or when royalty is present at special and public functions connected with the council. On other occasions, only the chain is worn. When attending a function outside the borough, the robe and chain, or the chain only, may be worn.

Chains of office

The chain and badge of office of the Mayor was presented to the town by Lady Greenall on 5 September 1876, the year that Sir Gilbert Greenall was created Baronet, and during the mayoralty of SM Webster, Esq.

The chain is of gold and consists of sixteen shields connected by double gold links. Alternate shields bear the Royal Arms, and those of Lancashire and Cheshire.

The central badge on this chain bears the shield of the Right Hon. Gilbert Greenall, Baron Daresbury of Walton, and suspended from it is a large golden shield or badge bearing the Arms of the Borough in enamel. These arms were executed in 1976 following local government reorganisation, and replaced the arms of Paganus de Vilars (first Lord of Warrington) which had been on this badge since its donation.

Mayoress's chain

This chain was presented by Lady Daresbury in 1911, to commemorate the Coronation of King George V. It is a fine gold chain with larger links in a flower design, and enamelled letters "W" set in throughout its length.

The badge is of gold filigree tracery, inset with small diamonds and rubies, and bearing an oval shaped Coat of Arms of the Borough in enamel as a centrepiece. This shield was changed in 1976, replacing one of the old County Borough Council.

The consort's chain

This chain was presented by Cllr Sheila Woodyatt MBE and Mr Neville Woodyatt, Mayor of Warrington and Consort in 2000-01.

The Deputy Mayor’s chain

The Co-operative Society Ltd presented this chain to the town in 1960 to celebrate the society’s centenary. It is of silver gilt and consists of some seventeen links and a rose-shaped centrepiece joined by double chains to a heart-shaped medallion bearing the Borough Arms in enamel.

The Deputy Mayoress's chain

This was given in 1968 by Messrs Tetley Walker Limited to mark the completion and opening of their new Warrington Brewery. It is a fine gold chain consisting of twenty-four pierced ovoid links joined by double fine links. The ovoid badge of fine gold bears the Borough Arms in enamel.

The borough mace and sword

The mace and sword along with a pair of rests were presented to the town on 19 June, 1897, by Mr Henry Thornton to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

The mace is of solid silver, gilded with 18 carat gold. The crown at the top exemplifies the idea of the authority of the mayor being derived from the sovereign. On the head of the mace are shields bearing the Royal Arms, the arms of Cheshire, Lancashire and the old County Borough of Warrington, as well as an enamelled head of Queen Victoria. The central knob is in the form of a globe which has four panels representing Warrington as a town of many industries. Each panel has in bas-relief the figures of two men at work, and the four industries represented are: Tanning, soapboiling, iron and wire making.

The civic sword has a richly decorated silver gild handle with quillons representing the lions taken from the Borough Arms. The blade is of steel with elaborate ornamental engraving which includes emblems representing Lancashire, Cheshire, the Boteler family, the Royal Arms, the Crest of the Borough, two old Arms of the Borough, and an inscription recording the name of the donor and the date of presentation. The scabbard is covered with rich, red velvet, and also amply ornamented with royal, county and borough emblems as well as the figures of justice and the fasces insignia of authority.

Silver gallery

A permanent display of civic plate and regalia is housed at the town hall. The gallery is included in public tours of the town hall, which can be arranged through the mayor's office.

The Coat of Arms

Since Warrington received its Charter of Incorporation as a borough on 3 April 1847 it has used three armorial bearings, of which only two were authentic and granted by the Sovereign through the College of Arms, or Herald's College.

1847 - 1897

The first arms were merely an adaptation of the Seal of the Borough. They can still be seen on the centre arch of the town hall gates, and consisted of a central shield bearing the six lioncels of the De Vilars family (first Lord of Warrington), behind which are two flags bearing the emblems of Lancashire and Cheshire (lions passant and garbs or wheatsheaves). In some representations of these arms there was a small plaque at the top bearing the words 'Anno decimo Victoria Regina' (the tenth year of the reign of Queen Victoria).


The second arms were applied for by the Mayor James Fairclough, and a Grant of Arms was issued by the College of Arms on 18 May 1897. These arms, which can also still be seen in several places about the town including the fire station on Winwick Road, consisted of a shield of ermine bearing the six lioncels, symbolising the family of the first Lord of Warrington, Paganus de Vilars, around which was a blue border bearing eight golden covered cups representing the Boteler family (whom succeeded the de Vilars). The crest used was the unicorn rampant holding a flag on which were the emblems of Lancashire and Cheshire, because of Warrington's position on the borders of both counties. 

1974 - Present

On reorganisation of local government in 1974, it was no longer possible to use the arms granted to the old county borough of Warrington, and it was therefore necessary to apply to the Earl Marshall for a new Patent of Arms. These arms were designated by Mr J R Rimmer, Director of the Museum and Art Gallery, and were approved by the Kings of Arms in March 1974. The object of the design was to incorporate in the bearings charges to represent the five local authorities and two county areas which were combined the form the new borough of Warrington, which for the first time in history was to be wholly in the county of Cheshire. Since the borough was still to be called Warrington, the larger lower part of the shield was used to represent the old county borough of Warrington and consists of the ermine background and six lioncels of the first Lord of Warrington, Paganus de Vilars. 

On a golden bar going across the centre of the shield was placed a red lion passant regardant between two red roses. The lion represents Lancashire county, being the arms of Edmund the first Earl of Lancaster and reminds us that a large part of the new borough had been for many years in the county. The red roses were used to represent Golborne Urban District and Warrington Rural District. The former of these two authorities being the only other of the five combining authorities to have official arms, and on its arms the red rose was a charge.

At the top of the shield was placed a wolf's head between two garbs or wheatsheaves. The wolf's head in silver on a black background represents Cheshire county, the area in which the new borough now lies, for it was the charge used on the arms of the first Earl of Chester, Hugh Lupus. The two garbs in gold on a blue background represent the two Cheshire authorities incorporated in the new borough - Lymm Urban District Council and Runcorn Rural District Council. The crest used was again the rampant unicorn of the Boteler family, but it was necessary to add the Cheshire sword between its forelegs as a distinguishing device.

The motto 'DEUS DAT INCREMENTUM' was that used by the old county borough council and roughly translated means 'God giveth the increase'.

Past Mayors of Warrington
William Beamont 1847-48
William Allcard  1848-49 
Benjamin Pierpoint  1849-50 
Joseph Stubs  1850-51 
William Allcard  1851-52 
Joseph Perrin  1852-53 
Peter Rylands  1853-54 
Henry White  1854-55 
Joseph Chrimes  1855-56-57 
Chas. H. Cartwright  1857-58 
Thomas G Rylands  1858-59 
Jos Smith MD  1859-60 
John Burgess  1860-61-62 
James Hepherd  1862-63 
Charles John Holmes  1863-64 
Peter Smith  1864-65 
Shaw Thewlis  1865-66 
Henry Bleckly  1866-67-68 
William Neild  1868-69 
Charles John Holmes  1869-70 
Charles Broadbent  1870-71 
Joseph Davies  1871-72-73 
John Richard Pickmere  1873-74 
Silvanus Chandley  1874-75 
Samuel M Webster  1875-76-77 
John Fairclough  1877-78-79 
John Richard Pickmere  1879-80-81-82 
John Crosfield  1882-83 
Joseph Harrison  1883-84-85-86 
Alexander Mackie  1886-87 
John Richard Pickmere  1887 
Thomas H Sutton  1887-88-89 
Richard Walker Francomb  1889-90-91 
Edward Greenall  1891-92-93-94 
James Fairclough  1894-95-96-97 
John Ed Wright  1897-98-99 
Henry Roberts  1899-1900-1 
Joseph Charlton Parr  1901-2-3 
William Bolton  1903-4-5-6 
James Smethurst  1906-7-8 
William John Forshaw  1908-9-10 
George William Joseph, MD  1910-11-12-13 
Sir Peter Peacock  1913-14-15-16-17-18-19 
Robert Henshall  1919-20-21 
James Evans  1921-22-23 
James Thomas Locker  1923-24-25 
Arthur Bennett  1925-26-27 
David Tinnion  1927-28 
Frank Stringer  1928-29-30 
David Plinston  1930-31-32 
John Burgess Starkey  1932-33 
Austin Matthew Crowe  1933-34-35 
Joseph Poole  1935-36 
John Turner Cooper  1936-37 
Harry Sinclair  1937-38 
Harry Fairclough  1938-39 
William Roberts  1939-40 
John Canon Bardsley  1940-41 
Edward Marshall  1941-42 
Sidney Bolton  1942-43 
Edward Tavlin  1943-44 
William Arthur Boulting  1944-45 
Herbert Harding  1945-46 
John Morris  1946-47 
Walter Lunt Challinor  1947-49 
William Higham  1949-50 
Horace Robert Gale  1950-51 
William Gregson Caldwell  1951-52 
Percy Martin  1952-53 
William Peter Taylor  1953-54 
Mary Hardman  1954-55 
Harold Gray  1955-56 
Harry Greenwood  1956-57 
Harold Gough Brandwood  1957-58 
Thomas Rutter  1958-59 
James Phoenix  1959-60 
George Edward Cooper  1960-61 
William Henry Cartwright  1961-62 
Amy Lydia Hindle  1962-63 
William Mullen  1963-64 
Joseph Alfred Orange  1964-65 
Bertram Stanley Arnold  1965-66 
James Arthur Urmston  1966-67 
Arthur Boyle  1967-68 
David Worsley Pickering  1968-69 
Ronald George Crocker, DFC  1969-70 
Eric James Naylor  1970-71 
Harry Whitehead  1971-72 
William Avery  1972-73 
Gordon Roy Myles  1973-74 
Kathleen EW Richardson JP  1974-75 
Philip Thomas E Birchall  1975-76 
Thomas Pye  1976-77 
Fred Houghton  1977-78 
Arthur Higham  1978-79 
Harold G Edwards  1979-80 
John WH Punshon  1980-81 
James Hayes  1981-82 
Frederick Phillips  1982-83 
Robert Taylor  1983-84 
Violet Ivy Edwards  1984-85 
Percy Mounfield  1985-86 
Edward Bowden  1986-87 
Patrick HJ Hetherington  1987-88 
Geoffrey Orange  1988-89 
George Henry Syers  1989-90 
George Stokes  1990-91 
Sydney Williams  1991-92 
John R Pennington  1992-93 
John Taylor  1993-94 
Michael F Hannon  1994-95 
Harry Lawson  1995-96 
Mary J Roblin  1996-97 
Roy Humphreys  1997-98 
Albert Clemow  1998-99 
Tom Swift  1999-00 
Sheila Woodyatt  2000-01 
Jeff Richards  2001-02 
George Warburton  2002-03 
Pauline Nelson  2003-04 
Edward Lafferty  2004-05 
Hans Mundry  2005-06 
Linda Dirir  2006-07 
Celia Jordan  2007-08 
Graham Welborn 2008-09
Brian Axcell 2009-10
John Joyce 2010-11
Michael Biggin 2011-12
Steve Wright  2012-13 
Peter Carey 2013-14 
Ted Finnegan  2014-15 
Geoff Settle  2015-16 
Faisal Rashid 2016-17
Les Morgan 2017-18
Karen Elizabeth Mundry 2018-19
Wendy Johnson 2019-20
Maureen Creaghan 2021-22
Jean Flaherty 2022-23
Freedom of the Borough

The Freedom of the Borough is the highest honour that a council can award.

Considerations for nominating an Honorary Freeman should be addressed to the leader of the council or any of the other local political parties: contact your councillor.  

When a nomination for Freedom of the Borough is accepted, a special meeting of full council is convened and the proposal must be passed by two-thirds of those present.  The nominee for Honorary Freeman must have, in the council's opinion, rendered eminent service to the borough of Warrington.

Notable Honorary Freemen 

  • Mrs VI Edwards and Mr H Cunningham were both granted Freedom of the Borough in recognition of their eminent services to the borough of Warrington in October 1997.
  • Mr JS Gartside OBE JP DL BSc (Hons) BPhil, who received the honour on 10 December 2004.
  • The Lord Hoyle, who received the honour on 11 November 2005.
  • Mrs Margaret Isherwood MBE, who received the honour on 7 December 2015.

The Duke of Lancaster Regiment

The council granted the Freedom of the Borough to The South Lancashire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's Volunteers) on 17 September 1947 in recognition of the long and close association existing between Warrington and the Regiment. The successor to the Regiment, the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, became the The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King Lancashire and Borders) in July 2006.

As such, The Duke of Lancaster Regiment has permission to march through the streets of Warrington with drums beating, bands playing, colours flying and bayonets fixed.

The 75 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers)

The council granted the Freedom of the Borough to The 75 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers) on 20 May 2013 in recognition of the long and close association between the council and the Regiment.

75 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers), is a Territorial Army unit, numbering 400 men and women recruited mainly from the north west. The Regiment can trace its history back as far as 1858 and has many sub-unit connections, some of which were amalgamated into the Regiment in April 1967 with the formation of the Territorial Army and Volunteer Reserve.

The Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Troop are based at the TA centre in Warrington. There are three Squadrons, based at Birkenhead (107 Field Squadron), Stoke on Trent (125 Field Squadron) and Failsworth (202 Field Squadron and Royal Electrical Mechanical workshops).

The role of the Corps of Royal Engineers is to enable the Army to live, move and fight. 75 Engineer Regiment supports this by providing specialist engineering capability in bridging, demolitions, water supply, watermanship, field fortifications, heavy earth moving and construction. The regimental headquarters provides the command and control systems to deploy this capability into the field.

A march to celebrate the granting of the Freedom took place on Armed Forces Day, 29 June 2013, from the Town Hall, marching through the town centre and concluding with a medal presentation and musical display from the military band in Queens Gardens.

Petition for an elected Mayor

Warrington currently has a Leader elected by the council, and a cabinet of councillors

However, under the Local Government Act 2000, you can petition the council to hold a referendum on whether local people should elect a Mayor to lead the council instead.

A directly-elected mayor is elected by all the voters in the council's area to be the head of the council's decision making body. Having a directly elected mayor is a constitutional change and a referendum is held to give all voters in Warrington a chance to choose if they would want this arrangement.

In order to call a referendum for a directly elected mayor, a petition must be raised which is signed by 5% of local government electors that are included in the current Register of Electors.  The verification figure is published annually in a formal notice:

The Deputy Mayor

Councillor Carol Benson is the Deputy Mayor of Warrington.

Cllr Benson has been a member of the council since 2021, representing Culcheth, Glazebury & Croft.

The deputy mayor assists the Mayor of Warrington throughout the year, and it is usual for the deputy to succeed to the mayor the following year.

7 July 2023