Words and photo by Dave Barry
Jack Mealor’s mum works at the town hall in Scarborough.
Ruth Mealor is an assistant licensing officer whose office is in the newer, more modern-looking part of the building.
It’s tucked away at the back, hidden behind the grand Victorian building which most locals recognise.
One day, Ruth came home and mentioned that she had bumped into the mayor in one of the town hall’s umpteen corridors.
Jack’s ears pricked up. The mayor? He sounds important.
The next day, after school, Jack enquired: “Did you meet the mayor again today, mum?”
And the next day. And the day after that. And every day, when Ruth got home from work, Jack piped up with his refrain.
Jack had begun to develop a keen interest in the mayor.
So much so that, at the beginning of summer, Ruth asked the mayor, Cllr Martin Smith, if Jack could visit him on his 10th birthday.
The mayor’s theme for his year in office is Inspiring Youth – Our Future. So he readily agreed.
“Children like Jack are our future”, Cllr Smith said.
Jack was allowed to take a friend and invited Charlie Wright, 9, to join him.
The boys attend Overdale School in Eastfield and wore their school jumpers when they visited the town hall on the day Jack’s age turned into double figures.
The mayor, in robes and regalia, gave them a conducted tour of the ground floor including the mayor’s parlour, the council chamber and other meeting rooms.
Just as the mayor was showing the boys a display cabinet containing the mace, macebearer Andy Hovingham turned the corner and unlocked the cabinet to give the boys a closer look.
“It was perfect timing”, said Gill.
The boys were also shown the lists of previous mayors and freemen of the borough, on the wall in the foyer.
Jack, who had been in his mum’s office but never in the old part of the town hall, described his visit as “very fun - I’ve enjoyed it”.
He said that one day he might become a councillor.
In theory, he could become mayor and take his turn to show children around the town hall.