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Maidstone Mayor to tour the River Medway to count the swans he now owns

By Alan Smith

Look out for the Mayor’s swan-upping cruise on the River Medway next Saturday.

The new Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Richard Thick, will be joined by a chain of other mayors from across the county, as he steps aboard a cruiser supplied by the Hampstead and Yalding Cruising Club to survey the extent of his watery domain and to count the number of swans that he now owns.

The new Mayor must grow accustomed to the traditions of his new appointment

The cruise is an ancient tradition, with its origins with Queen Elizabeth 1, who in 1559 granting the borough of Maidstone the privilege of owning the swans on its own waterways - all other swans in the country officially belong to The Queen.

The swans on the Medway within the borough of Maidstone are the only ones not owned by The Queen

The Mayor will be touring the extent of the borough’s boundaries in both directions along the river.

The dignitaries will be met by the president, Mo Clayton, and acting commodore of the club, Mark Smurthwaite, at Jubilee Walk in Maidstone town centre at 8.30am to be pipped aboard the yacht.

Then its off downstream, through Allington Lock, to the Hawkwood Stone at Burham, where the jurisdiction of Medway Council begins.

Then its back to Jubilee Walk for lunch before the vessel continues upstream first to East Farleigh Lock, where the Mayor will be welcomed by the chairmen of East Farleigh, Barming and Tovil Parish Councils, before going on to Teston Lock for a similar reception by the chairmen of West Farleigh, Teston and Nettlestead Parish Councils.

The Mayor will then cheekily step outside his area, invading the borough of Tonbridge and Malling, as he cruises on to the Medway Wharf Marina in Wateringbury, for a reception hosted by the cruising club for Cllr Thick and his guests.

If the Mayor has trouble sleeping, he can always count swans
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