A MAYOR who decided to dip into his pockets and replace his borough's ceremonial robes has handed them over to an exhibition.

Coun Gordon Birtwistle paid £900 for the new robes to replace the existing ones which he said were "tatty". They have been in use since 1935.

Coun Birtwistle handed over the old robes to Towneley Museum yesterday where they will form part of a display.

Coun Birtwistle said: "I wanted to ensure that the robes were available for future generations, so I offered to pay for the new robes to ensure this would happen."

Coun Birtwistle, who runs his own engineering firm in Clayton-le-Moors, made the decision to buy the robes as a tribute to his mother, Peggy, who died at her Oswaldtwistle home last year.

said: "The robes were getting tatty and well past their sell-by date and were beginning to fall apart.

"We needed some new ones. The council wasn't in a position to get them. So I thought I would like to leave the council something as a memory of my year as the Mayor of Burnley."

The robes, which were first worn by a Burnley mayor in 1935, are used on official mayoral engagements and in council meetings.

They were made in London by Ede and Ravenscroft from doeskin cloth and musquash fur from the South American muskrat.

The new robes will be a replica of the originals but with fake fur instead of musquash.