Cedric Rigal is the new mayor of the medieval walled town of Conwy and the Constable of Conwy Castle, the first Jew to hold the dual title.
The Golders Green-born councillor has represented the Tories for five years, having become involved in civic life in the Welsh town after moving from Hemel Hempstead to be near his Bangor-based daughter.
He was presented with the keys to the castle on Monday — and to mark the hoisting of the castle’s flag, he footed the bill for the mead that was drunk by guests, and a display by birds of prey.
“The mead went down very well, but I only had one glass. The mayor shouldn’t be found drunk on his first day. I had to be a bit abstemious as I had speeches to make.
“I couldn’t invite anyone to stay at the castle as it doesn’t have a roof,” he added. “We had beautiful weather thank goodness. It was a lovely evening to have hoisted the flag.”
The 76-year-old lives opposite the castle, enjoying “a lovely view”. He and his wife Pamela, 71, have maintained their membership of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John’s Wood. Guests at the ceremony included the shul’s emeritus minister, Rabbi David Goldberg, who recited a prayer before the mayoral inauguration and the grace before meals. Councillor Rigal’s 15-year-old granddaughter Rebecca read a proclamation in old Welsh.
He has chosen the Welsh Air Ambulance as one of his mayoral charities, explaining: “We are in the mountains here — it is the only quick way to a hospital.” The other is Welsh cancer charity Tenovus, selected because his wife had breast cancer some years ago.
One of Councillor Rigal’s first mayoral duties will be to welcome the Olympic torch to the area on May 29 and he is working to prevent the closure of the town’s 500-seater theatre.