The weight of civic duty

Since 1954, John Mattick has carried the 16th century ceremonial sword  before the mayor at civic events in the Welsh city of  Carmarthen. Before that, his father carried it. Now it will be passed to his son. "It is a weighty thing to carry, and that's mainly why I'm having to give it up at my age," Mr Mattick said. (photo)

The 15kg sword was given to the town of Carmarthen in 1546 by King Henry VIII in recognition of the town's service to the king. Then it was used to protect the mayor. Today the sword and its carrier hold a merely a ceremonial place at events.