WOODSTOCK’s newest mock mayor was appointed in rather unceremonious fashion, when he was thrown into the river.

Every year a group of locals from old Woodstock elects a new “mayor”, in a ritual dating back to the late 1700s.

This year the honour was conferred upon Tom Cosgrove, pictured at the traditional dunking and, inset, enjoying a traditional warming glass outside the Town Hall.

Mr Cosgrove, who works at Oxford Brookes University , promised to arrange a ‘Mexican flush’ which would involve everyone in the old town flushing their toilets at the same time to flood the ‘newt town’.

He said: “The election process is entirely democratic but a well-kept secret. Nobody knows how it is done.”

The festivities began at 2pm on Saturday, with a charity fete in the town centre featuring a Punch and Judy show, china smashing and a tombola. At 6pm the hustings began, and candidates gave their election speeches.

Mr Cosgrove joked: “Next year I will be democratically electing someone else who needs to be thrown in the river.”