August is a quiet month in the Council calendar, with few meetings or activities, a time to have a break and take some holiday. The one Mayoral engagement of the month was to attend the Marlborough Mencap summer party on Sunday 20th at Kennet Valley Hall. A good time was had by all despite a few interruptions to the afternoon’s entertainments from the showery weather.
In contrast to August, September was to prove to be a very busy month with numerous meetings and engagements.
On Sunday 3rd September, after delivering presents for our 7-year-old Granddaughter’s birthday, it was off to Chippenham for their annual Civic Service which included awards for contributions to the community.
Monday 4th saw us get back to business, after the August break, with a full Town Council meeting.
On Tuesday the 5th we had an opportunity to view the new St Mary’s school on the day prior to its first school day. The staff and governors had clearly worked very hard to get ready in time and the school looked terrific. The young children of Marlborough, including three of our grandchildren, are very lucky to have such a nice school. I presented a cheque on behalf of the Town Council to the Head, Mrs Schwodler, to help with the cost of new IT equipment.
Wednesday 6th was a Marlborough In Bloom meeting where we reflected on the previous year and started to think about 2018. This project is very important as it brings together community groups to enhance the appearance of the town, we go to Torquay next month to hear the results of this year’s judging, so fingers crossed.
A group of us attended the Market Towns Forum, in Ludgershall, on Thursday 7th with the Great West Way tourist initiative high on the agenda.
Also, that day, we held a meeting to discuss the progress on the Community and Youth Centre project in St Margaret’s Mead. This is a project that is dear to my heart having helped with Cllr Farrell to get the Youth Club going, it should provide a much-needed facility for a variety of community activities.
Fresh air was in abundance on Friday 8th as we did a walking tour of some of the Town Council’s open spaces in Manton and around the cemetery, where we need to find some more space as it is nearly full.
On Saturday 9th I went along to the ARK Big Picnic in another of our open spaces, Stonebridge Meadow, which has become a successful conservation project and a very nice amenity for Marlborough. It was certainly nice to buy honey from hives actually in the town!
Back to politics on Tuesday 12th as I attended the Cabinet meeting of Wiltshire Council to make a plea for us have a say in the future development and use of the old St Peter’s school site, to try and ensure that it is used to meet the needs of the community. I did get a sympathetic ear from Baroness Scott, so let’s hope for a good outcome.
A meeting of the toilets working party on the 13th where we started to look at phase two of the project that has seen the successful restoration of the public toilets in the George Lane car park.
Another Civic Service on Sunday 17th, this time in Royal Wooton Bassett. In fact there were three in Wiltshire that day but I could only attend one and have adopted a first come first served approach.
The following day, the 18th, I hosted a lunch for officers of 4MI Battalion, including their newly appointed commanding officer Lt Col Puxley. The army play an important role in our civic life and it is good to build a good working relationship. Later that day, some meetings to address concerns over social housing capacity in Marlborough with both Aster and Wiltshire Council, which confirmed our fears that the capacity is slowly reducing and needs to be replenished as demand is high.
Thursday 21st saw one of the more formal engagements of the year, a black-tie dinner with 4MI at the officer’s mess in Bulford welcoming Lt Col Puxley to the Battalion, a very enjoyable evening.
An evening with the younger age groups in the town on Friday 22nd with the annual presentation evening of the Penguins Swimming Club, a celebration of real achievements and an impressive array of cups and medals.
I was recently invited to become an honorary member of the Rotary Club, which I gladly accepted at a dinner meeting on the evening of the 25th. Rotary do a lot of good work raising money for worthy causes but also play an essential role in helping at local events like running the car parks at the Pewsey Carnival this month.
On Wednesday 27th I went to a Macmillan coffee morning, held at Free and Sons in the Parade, then on to the Jubilee Centre to present a cheque, on behalf of the Town Council, to Alzheimer’s Support which will help them to run their drop-in sessions in the town.
Friday 29th saw the start of Marlborough’s very popular Literature Festival and a flash mob dance by local school children, then in the evening the opening ceremony and a thought provoking talk by author Will Self.
On top of all of the committees and meetings, that I also attend, a very busy month…phew!