Birmingham will today get its first Lord Mayor from the punk rock generation.
During the heyday of punk, when the Clash and the Sex Pistols ruled the charts, young rebel Anita Ward could be seen with shocking pink hair and ripped T-shirts.
Her teenage self would never have guessed that in the 21st Century she would have swapped her punk rock chains for the historic gold mayoral chains as Birmingham’s First Citizen.
The 50-year-old Labour politician has nothing but respect for the traditions of the Lord Mayor but perhaps a little of the punk remains as she is also aiming to modernise parts of the role - among them using Twitter to update citizens on her official duties.
Anita, who is councillor for Hodge Hill, is also very aware that as a female Lord Mayor, Birmingham’s first in 11 years, she is part of a very small and select group.
“I looked it up, there have only seven women have held the post of Lord Mayor in last 122 years. That is something which should be changing.”
Joining her as Lord Mayor’s consert is her husband Mick Brown, who is step-father to her two children Karena Hockley, 30 and Vincent Hockley, 28.
Vincent, an Irish Guardsman, is currently recovering after being shot in the hip during a Taliban ambush while on patrol in Afghanistan last November. He is hoping to return to active duty later this year.
When, in one of her first acts as Lord Mayor this afternoon, Anita announces the charities she will be supporting an armed forces or veterans fund will certainly be among them.
“I have been to the QE a lot to see Vincent and met some of the lads in hospital. Their characters are fantastic. The rest of us could learn a lot from them, they are so positive despite what they have been through.
Anita was born and bred in Erdington, educated at Yenton Primary School and Castle Vale School.
As the daughter of stout trade unionists Phil and Pam Ward, it was perhaps no surprise that she would end up joining the Labour Party.
For the last 25 years she has worked for three successive Erdington MPs, Robin Corbett, Sion Simon and now Jack Dromey, but will give that up for her busy year.
And Anita also worked closely with fellow Hodge Hill councillor, Mike Nangle, who served as Lord Mayor six years ago.
Sadly the popular Irishman died last year. His widow Margaret will be a special guest at today’s Mayor making ceremony.
“I learned a great deal from Mike, he was great friend to me. I am sure he will be looking down on me telling me where I’m going right and wrong,” she added.
And she is having to come to terms with rising above the usual cut and thrust of party politics, and has found great support and advice from a cross-party range of former Lord Mayors Randal Brew, John Alden, Sue Anderson, Mahmood Hussain and current Lord Mayor Len Gregory,
As the big day approaches they have helped settle her nerves, and she is focussed on one thing. ‘I must not let the city down’.