Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry will announce plans to present Cherwell District Council with its own coat of arms at a dinner in his honour tonight, Thursday.
Sir Tony will be standing down as MP at this year’s general election and, as a parting gift, will be petitioning the Garter King of Arms to grant a coat of arms to Cherwell.
Sir Tony will personally pay for the coat of arms, which has been designed by the outgoing MP and the Heralds at the College of Arms.
The coat of arms, pictured right, is made up of three elements: the shield, the crest and the motto.
The shield has a green background to represent the countryside of north Oxon. Flowing from top to bottom on the shield is the River Cherwell with two blue lines – one representing the M40 and the other the symbolising the Oxford Canal – on either side.
The crest is an oak tree backed by a rainbow with the tree representing the Cherwell countryside and the rainbow, diversity.
The proposed motto is ‘From Cherwell flows prosperity’.
Sir Tony said: “I would hope the grant of arms would be emblematic of the fact that the Cherwell district does now have a coherent identity and a unified sense of purpose. I hope the design will command public support.”
The application to the Garter King of Arms will be pending approval from the council.
At tonight’s dinner, Sir Tony is expected to give a speech, thanking the council for its support over the years and outlining the changes which have taken place in the district over the past 32 years.
“We have all seen considerable changes locally over the last 32 years,” he will say in his speech.
“When I was first elected, Banbury was an edge of the West Midlands town, the M40 extension from Oxford to Birmingham was yet to be built and Birmingham-bound traffic still thundered through Banbury.
“One of the first tasks I took on when becoming candidate for north Oxfordshire was to become president of the M40 Support Group, which was campaigning for the construction of the completion of the M40 between Oxford and Birmingham.
“I am glad the campaign was successful and the M40 extension was completed during my first parliament.”
He will also celebrate the success of local firms and the district’s job clubs.