New Mayoral chain uses scrap from Southampton Airport

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New Mayoral chain uses scrap from Southampton Airport

It’s not every day that a mayor receives a new commemorative chain – and rarer still one that features brass from an old pot, spitfire badge stamps and actual lighting strips from Southampton Airport.

The Mayor of Eastleigh has been presented with a new mayoral chain by recycling artists, husband and wife team Elaine and Simon Burnell.  A gift from the Eastleigh-based artists to the Borough, the new commemorative chain is quite literally a work of art.

The idea for the commemorative chain came while Simon and Elaine, who run Recyledforyou, a celebrated design company that makes one-off pieces of statement jewellery from recycled and reclaimed materials, were designing a new necklace.

Elaine takes up the story: “We abandoned the idea because it had the look of a Mayoral chain. The idea sprung from that. Eastleigh is very committed to sustainability and so what better than a Mayoral chain made from recycled materials.”

To give the piece historical significance and rooted in the borough the pair used scrap from their own locally sourced stock of metals, including original spitfire badge stamps, copper and brass pieces from an old heating system in Simon’s family home in Derby Road and an old brass pot. 

The creative duo also contacted local businesses for scrap materials.  Two in particular were quick to jump on board: Southampton Airport who donated aluminium lighting strips and electrical cable and GE Aviation who supplied aluminium.

For the past two months the pair has worked on the chain, much of the process taken up with preparing the metal, such as stripping the cable, shaping, treating and cleaning. Once treated, the copper could then be worked into chain links and jump rings for the chain.

The final stage saw local glassware artist Carly Mann, who works out of The Sorting Office designer-maker studios in Wells Road,  engrave the town coat of arms on a piece of the aluminium and Timpson’s in Market Street etch the credits and thanks.

The result is a unique, contemporary commemorative chain fit for a Mayor.

Speaking about the project, Elaine said: “Simon and I both feel incredibly special to have been given this opportunity to make and present this ceremonial mayoral chain because Simon is from Eastleigh and we still live in the Borough. Being part of the historical culture makes us feel very proud.”

The new commemorative chain was presented at the annual Mayor-making ceremony on Thursday, May 14, which saw Cllr Jane Welsh elected to the position of Mayor of the Borough of Eastleigh.