It Looks Like a Mayor’s Chain of Office, but….

…. it isn’t! Alastair Pollard (right), Chairman of the Federation of Cathedral Old Choristers’ Associations (FCOCA) models his very elaborate ceremonial chain of office, which is often mistaken for a civic Mayoral chain.

The chain was first made in 1977. The centre piece is a large, heavy, rounded lozenge-shaped, gold and maroon medallion – an embossed picture of a bishop and chorister and the Federation’s logo. Around the edge is its full name and inauguration year 1910. On the back are the names of all 14 previous chairmen, their date of election and their cathedral name.

It is made up of a number of gold badges, each one embossed with the cathedral member’s Old Chorister logo but only some have the Cathedral’s name on them. Alastair, a former Durham Cathedral chorister, explains: “When it was first made, each association was asked to pay for their own badge, and in the 1990s six more were added. At present there are 37, but we actually have more than 50 members.  It would be nice to add some more, but I suspect the cost today would be high, and the chain is already a little unwieldy due to its length!”

A particularly nice touch is that the chain’s design allows the lozenge to be placed below any one of the badges so that it can be moved round to make the host cathedral appear ‘centre-stage’. The current chain and medallion was remade by Thomas Fattorini in Birmingham in the mid 1980s, when the original was stolen.

It’s a fascinating and impressive chain of office but quite daunting in its size. Thankfully, the medallion can be worn alone if the Chairman chooses or needs to travel light!