Mayoralty of Burnley

Burnley’s first mayor, Councillor John Moore, was elected in 1882. 

Burnley has had 127 mayors up to the present one, Councillor Mark Townsend. Some of the early mayors served for two years but now they only serve for 12 months.

In May every year Burnley Council elects a new mayor to act as an ambassador for the area, to represent the local community, local democracy and the council. This is an important and ceremonial role. A mayoress, or mayor’s consort, is appointed by the mayor to support him or her during their year of office.

As First Citizen for the borough, the mayor actively promotes the local area, as well as championing causes and raising the profile of the local community and the council. Throughout the year, the mayor will meet with people of all ages and backgrounds.

By statute, during ceremonial occasions the mayor takes precedence within the borough over everyone, including town mayors, with the exception of Her Majesty the Queen or her representative, the Lord Lieutenant of the County.

The mayor is a non-political symbol of the local authority, a symbol of open society and equality and an expression of social cohesion.

When representing the borough, the mayor wears a chain of office and, on some occasions, civic robes are also worn.

In addition to acting as First Citizen of the Borough, the mayor hosts visits from representatives of our twin town, attends civic functions and gets involved in fund raising for the mayor and mayoress’s chosen charities. The mayor also receives invitations from people of the borough to attend a wide range of events, 90th and 100th birthdays, the opening of new businesses and school visits.  

The mayor’s responsibilities are to:

  • Represent Burnley at civic functions and engagements
  • Support local charities and community groups
  • Uphold, promote and interpret the council’s constitution
  • Preside over meetings of the full council and to ensure that its business is carried out efficiently