July 2017

This month started with the Mencap disco at the town football club, on the 1st of the month, a very enjoyable evening was had by all and there were some pretty impressive dance moves on show!

at Marlborough College with Swindon Borough Council's Mayor Maureen Penny

On the 5th July Marlborough played host to the Wiltshire and Swindon games which occupied most of the sports facilities at Marlborough College and the town leisure centre, a large and very impressive event. This gave young people from all over Wiltshire and Swindon the chance to experience a multi sports games camp for the day. I presented one of the swimming medals and went on to watch a vast array of sports. Not content with a whole day of sport I then proceeded to Marlborough Cricket Club in the evening for the Mayor’s Cricket Match. I opted not to play, which I was glad about when I saw the speed of Marlborough’s fast bowler, but was ably represented by a scratch team which included four members of 4MI Battalion. We put up a pretty good show but, unfortunately, lost by 50 runs. Still, we managed to raise £335 towards sports equipment at the new Marlborough St Mary’s School.

All the players

On Friday 7th July, it was off to the High Sherriff’s summer reception at Odstock Manor where I had a very interesting chat with archaeologist Phil Harding who told me about various holes that he had dug around Marlborough and what he had found there. He also informed me that, at one time, he had worked for Pelham puppets.

Marlborough Puppetry Festival - March of the Marionettes

Then to cap off a fairly busy week we had the Puppet Festival over the weekend of 8th/9th July. I really enjoyed the puppet parade on the Saturday morning despite parading in full gown in the heat. I was in absolute stitches with some of the antics in the parade especially when two of my grandchildren decided to join in and dance with the Punch and Judy puppets. This was also the weekend of the Marlborough Civic Service so we had a fairly unique event with puppetry in the service, I still can’t quite believe that we had muppets singing hymns but we did. I was accompanied by eight other Mayors and various other dignitaries who thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The day also included the puppet exhibition where I got to meet the original Muffin the Mule puppet, this meant a lot to me, it was my earliest childhood memory of television. A local dance school finished off the day with a show portraying the Bob Pelham story.

The Mayor and Muffin

Thursday the 13th July was the judging day for Marlborough in Bloom, the culmination of a lot of hard work by various members of the community. I met the judges fully robed and even wore the hat for the first time, I hope it made a suitable impression. This was followed by entertaining the judges to lunch for which we thank Rick Stein’s for donating that, I’m sure that made a good impression. They were then bid farewell in the afternoon, we await the results down in Torquay on the 5th October.

The final event of the month, as things started to quieten down for the Summer, was the Mayor’s Bowls match on Saturday 22nd July. We actually played skittles this year, which was probably a good thing given the weather. A very enjoyable evening and more money was raised for the Mayor’s charity fund.

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June 2017

half mast for london terror attack June 2017june 2017 terror attack

The start of June was a time very tinged with sadness in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London. Our flag was flown at half-mast twice, within a fortnight and I wrote letters of condolence, on behalf of the town of Marlborough, to the Mayors of Manchester and London. Then, the sombre mood continued with the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. There was only one civic engagement scheduled in the first half of the month, the presentation of the Mayor’s Cup at the athletics event between Marlborough College and St John’s on the 6th June, but this was postponed due to thundery weather. It was later presented by Deputy Mayor Lisa Farrell when rescheduled.

alzheimers support

By contrast, the final part of June was very busy with almost daily engagements. On the 23rd we saw the formal opening of the Savernake View care home by Angela Rippon, who has done a lot of work with the Alzheimer’s Society.

mco june 2017

On the 24th June, we were guests at a concert by the Marlborough Concert Orchestra who gave a fine performance which included Dvorak’s New World symphony. Then, on Sunday the 25th, there was a choral evensong at Malmesbury Abbey which was attended by several Wiltshire mayors. The Abbey is a fantastic setting for such an event and it was very enjoyable.

The following morning, the 26th, was an early start to attend Kiwi Barracks in Bulford with Deputy Mayor Lisa Farrell for a briefing on the activities of 4MI Battalion, our adopted army unit. It was very interesting to hear about the many complex activities that they are engaged in around the world and quite rare to get over 100 of them together in one place. The morning ended with us judging their debating competition with the motion “Should serving generals sit in the House of Lords?”, (the motion was defeated!).

On Wednesday 28th June, it was a quiet day with Councillor training in the evening then on Thursday 29th the pace picked up again with the morning spent helping to clear out the old Youth Centre building to prepare for refurbishment as a Community and Youth Centre, a project that I hold dear. Then in the afternoon I chaired the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group and in the evening attended the Scout Council AGM at the George Lane scout hut.

The month ended with a tour of the new Marlborough St Mary’s school building on the afternoon of the 30th. A very impressive new building but it comes with no new equipment or furniture so fundraising is going on to try and raise the £75,000 needed to provide this. So far, they have raised over £37,000 but continue to work very hard to get ready in time for the new term in September.

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May 2017

Mayor Making 2017My term of office begins on the day of Mayor Making, Monday 15th May. Marlborough has a way of conducting this event that invokes the past and has a sense of drama. There is a great sense of history being the 707th named Mayor, a very long tradition. You get more and more nervous through the day as the evening approaches. Once it begins you are just carried along by it and it seems to go quite quickly. You follow the outgoing Mayor to the parlour, don the red robe and when you emerge back in to the throng you realise that you are now the Mayor and actually have a meeting to run! Fortunately, the Town Clerk, Shelley Parker, is on hand to make sure you do not forget anything. The celebrations that follow, with family and friends are then most enjoyable.

The next job, a week later, is to chair the first Town Council on 22nd May, more familiar territory this and all goes well.

The first engagement of my new role follows the next day, on the 23rd May, when I attend the AGM of the local branch of Mencap. An enjoyable evening and a relaxed introduction to the role. It is an honour and a privilege to be their President for the year. I'm told I will be judged on my disco dancing at a later event.

Wednesday 24th May is a busy day, first a drive to Devizes in the morning to meet up with members of one of my adopted charities, Julia's House. I was given a one-to-one tour of this new children's hospice julias house logobefore it becomes operational, in July 2017, and was amazed at the sophistication of the equipment and facilities. It will serve those in our community who are unfortunate in that they have a very sick child but we are truly lucky to have such a facility available and I hope it brings great comfort to those who use it. We will be organising a fund-raising event in Marlborough Town Hall later in the mayoral year.

Then, in the evening the Mayoress and I dress up to attend the Mayor making in Chippenham which has a 24-member Council. This was a good opportunity to meet some of the other new mayors from around Wiltshire for an informal chat and was an enjoyable evening.

half mast for ManchesterThis week has been somewhat overshadowed by the terrible events in Manchester on Monday 22nd. We joined in the minute's silence on Thursday 25th with the flag at half-mast and sent a letter of condolence to the Lord Mayor of Manchester.

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