The position may not have as much prestige as the Lord Mayor of Oxford, but hundreds of villagers will gather to witness the “mayoral” elections in Cumnor village on Monday.

About 400 people are expected to congregate at the Bear and Ragged Staff pub for the event, which culminates in the election of the village’s new mock mayor.

And whoever gets the job should be prepared to make a splash, as each fresh incumbent is formally inducted with a dip in the village pond.

The event is the highlight of the Cumnor social calendar and last year raised almost £6,000 for the Cumnor Mayors’ Fund, which distributes money to local charities and community clubs.

Former mock mayor Bob Bruce said: “It is definitely the best attended social occasion in the village.

“The mayor is elected by a committee made up of ex-mayors, which organises fundraising for the year.

“In the past you had to be born in Cumnor, or have close links to the village. You still have to be involved in the community in some way or add something to the character of the village.

“As it’s a tradition based at the Bear and Ragged Staff, to be selected you have to be a fairly regular drinker there too.

“A number of names are put forward and the person considered the most worthy is elected.

“We get everyone in the village here, from young children to elderly people.”

The mock mayor tradition dates back to the 1950s and was started after Woodstock’s more famous event, which began in 1886.

Once elected, around 100 villagers congregate beside the village pond where the new mayor either jumps or is pushed into the water.

Last year’s mock mayor Rogan Meadows, 62, said: “The night is the biggest and best in Cumnor and it’s always great fun.

“Last year the pond was extremely smelly because it hadn’t been dredged for ages.

“Hopefully it won’t be as bad this year as we’ve dredged it — but it will still be very cold.”

The event starts at the pub in Appleton Road at 6pm, with a fancy dress competition for children followed by a pumpkin and marrow contest, and fireworks by the pond.

The mayor will be appointed at 9.30pm.