THE idea of replacing the mayor’s ceremonial robes in Droitwich at a possible cost of thousands of pounds using real fur, has caused a furore amongst local residents, who disagreed wholeheartedly with the idea of spending so much money.

In response to town clerk Pam Craney’s comments that a replacement robe using real fur could cost as much as £5,000, resident Jill Osgathorp said: “The idea of the council spending rate payers money on a piece of red velvet trimmed with dead animal fur is abhorrent. The chain of office is the important piece of regalia, not the ridiculous Father Christmas outfit.”

A resident who did not wish to be named added: “Make do and mend would be the principled choice, surely.”

Daphne Hawes raised an issue voiced by many, saying: “I don't think a place the size of Droitwich warrants full robes for the mayor.”

With Rod Hopkins adding: “I am sure there are many alternative investments that will benefit the community as a whole rather than the mayor's ego.”

The issue of whether to use real fur was one which rang alarm bells with a number of people.

Suzie Edwards said: “I am extremely pleased to see that Worcester based Robes of Distinction have moved into the 21st century and refuse to make one with real fur. It is totally unnecessary.”

Karen Powell added: “New fur means newly killed animals, it’s like new ivory.”

Roberta Balfour said: “Real fur should be a relic of the past. There is some amazing faux fur about now that I wouldn't wear because it looks too similar to the real thing.”

Animal welfare organisation PETA conducted a letter writing campaign to lord mayors in 2013, asking every lord mayor in England if they would commit to wearing fake fur, with 16 confirming they would not wear robes containing real fur.

Jennifer Cox raised another issue, saying: “They should get the robe repaired. I am sure there are many talented people in Droitwich capable of repairing it.”

Rita Holden added: “We had several of our ornate clergy robes altered very professionally by a local parishioner who charged nothing. Surely there must be a seamstress in Droitwich who is proficient in doing ‘invisible repairs’.”

In response to the many comments, Droitwich Spa Town Council stressed that the meeting of the full council had agreed that the clerk was seeking repairs to the garment and still had to report further on the matter with quotations for consideration should a new gown be deemed necessary.

The council further issued a statement saying: “Once the repair has been reviewed please note that the council has a contingency fund which will more than cover the repair and/or the purchase of a new robe should it be decided to proceed with the purchase of another. In addition an offer to hold a fundraising event has been made.”

In addition, following the article in last week’s Advertiser three experts have come forward and reviewed the damaged garment who have confirmed that it is repairable at negligible costs, information which will be taken into consideration when the council considers whether or not to replace the robe.