Heartbroken St Albans mayor Iqbal Zia launches appeal after historic chain of office goes missing

The missing mayoral chain in St Albans. Picture: PETE STEVENS

The missing mayoral chain in St Albans. Picture: PETE STEVENS - Credit: Pete Stevens

A heartbroken mayor has appealed for the return of a historic chain of office after it went missing.

St Albans mayor Mohammad Iqbal Zia. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

St Albans mayor Mohammad Iqbal Zia. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

The artefact, valued at £3,000, dates back to 1907 and has been worn by mayor consorts of St Albans on official engagements over the years to indicate that they are accompanying the person who holds the highest public office in the city.

But while mayor Iqbal Zia and his wife were officiating at events last week, the couple were devastated to discover it had gone missing.

“We had a busy week, with a Bollywood charity ball in St Albans, an event for electric bike day at Verulamium Park and a civic service in Harpenden,” said Cllr Zia.

“It was as we were preparing for an event for HMS St Albans that my wife and I realised that the chain wasn’t where we expected it to be.

“We don’t know if it has been taken or whether it has been misplaced.

“We had an incident at our house on Wednesday when our alarm was triggered and the police were called to the property.

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“At the time, it didn’t look like anything was out of place - but we can’t help wondering now whether the chain was taken then. We simply don’t know.

“We don’t know exactly when this chain went missing, nor the circumstances of its disappearance. Indeed, we are still hoping that it will turn up and we have been retracing our footsteps over the last few days in the hope of finding it.

“We are heartbroken about the loss and very sorry that this has happened.

“I am appealing to everyone, as mayor of the city and district of St Albans, to please keep an eye out for the missing chain and contact the mayoral office, or the police, if you have any information about its whereabouts.”

The chain consists of an 18-carat gold, shield-shaped body mounted with the enamelled Arms of the City.

An inscription on the back reads: “Presented to the corporation of St Albans for the use of the mayoress by Mrs W. S. Green, 1936.”

An original silk cord was replaced by a gold chain at a later date.

It is not the first time a mayoral chain has gone missing.

Former St A;bans mayor Gordon Ryland lost the chain in a city centre bar during his 2004/5 mayoral year but thankfully it was returned to him.

Anyone with information about the missing chain is asked to contact the mayor’s office at mayoralty@stalbans.gov.uk or 01727 819544.

Alternatively contact Hertfordshire Police’s non-emergency number by dialling 101.