A MANXMAN is set to become the ceremonial mayor of Salford, when Douglas native Alan Clague is formally appointed in May.
The 75-year-old has served as a councillor in the city for 17 years, but retains a close affinity to the home land he left in 1956.
‘As you get to the top you get the chance of being ceremonial mayor for 12 months,’ said Mr Clague, who as a planning officer has overseen the dramatic regeneration of areas such as Salford Quays.
He explained the role of the mayor has gradually changed. With the leader of the council seen as the senior political figure, the ceremonial mayor plays the role of the public face.
‘The thing is the community like to see someone standing there with chains on, it’s something the people look to.’
Four days after Mr Clague’s inauguration – at a Council Meeting at the Salford Civic Centre on May 15 – he will be honoured during a day of ceremony known as Mayoral Sunday, which will involve a service and a brass band parade through the Ordsall ward he represents.
The parade will conclude at Ordsall Hall, where the proud Manxman knows of a grand stained glass window featuring a small Three Legs of Mann.
‘I think it has connections to the Stanley family,’ said Mr Clague, referring to the dynasty that held the title of Lords of Mann in the 16th and 17th centuries.
‘They apparently had dealings in Salford as well. It’s funny, as I used to live in Stanley Place in Douglas.’
He said the city used to have a Manx Society that ‘seems to have died out’, but he enjoys a daily slice of home through his Port St Mary-born wife, Margaret.
He said: ‘The Isle of Man is still my home, no doubt about that, I’m born and bred in Douglas.’
He attended the long-gone Hanover Street Primary School (the building is now the Office of Fair Trading), as well as Murray’s Road, Ballakermeen and Douglas High School (now St Ninian’s).
The keen musician was a member of St Matthew’s Band, the Douglas Town Band and Lon Dhoo male voice choir, before leaving the island in 1956 for a nine-year army stint that saw him serve in Cyprus, Singapore, and Thailand.
He settled in Greater Manchester, and his eventual work as a trade union welfare officer sparked an interest in politics that saw him join the Labour Party, eventually becoming a Labour councillor for Salford in 1995.
After serving as deputy ceremonial mayor for the last year, he is looking forward to taking up the headline office. ‘It will be an interesting 12 months!’ he said.