This month started with a visit to Preshute School, on the 2nd, where I had the honour of opening their new library area. The school operates in a very cramped space on a slope and it is amazing how the space is utilised, but, sadly, this means that they have no disabled access and a new site will be needed in future.
On the 3rd I had the opportunity to view progress on the new Community and Youth Centre which has taken a lot of hard work getting it ready for community use again after many years of neglect and under use. In the evening I attended the opening night of an excellent art exhibition, in the White Horse, by local artist Juliet Wood. I was accompanied by my granddaughter Genevieve (age 7), who I have now dubbed the “Mini Mayoress” as she seems to like public duties.
On the 4th, 5th and 6th it was down to Torquay for the South West in Bloom awards preceded by a Mayor’s reception, giving me a chance to chat to other mayors in the region. Marlborough did extremely well with a gold award for the town’s entry and a good number of awards for local “In Your Neighbourhood” projects, I was very proud to collect awards on behalf of the community. I also got to meet Sir Julian Fellowes, the writer of Downton Abbey, whose wife, Lady Emma, is a great supporter of In Bloom.
The 7th saw the Opening of the Mop Fair, always a joyful occasion where the Mayor gets to act as the pied piper and lead the children around giving them free rides, I even went on a few myself. This is a very long-standing tradition in the town and when you see the joy on the children’s faces, you realise that it is a very worthwhile one.
One of the more satisfying functions, as Mayor, is to hand out cheques to worthy causes and on the 8th I handed a cheque to Macmillan who were running one of their very successful coffee mornings in the Town Hall.
More sporting endeavour on the 10th, with the Mayor’s Golf Match. I do not play golf but I saw them all off and tried my best to motivate and encourage the mayor’s team to victory but, sadly, we lost 11/2 to 21/2. I later discovered, by looking at the cup, that the Mayor’s team has only won twice in the last 30 years but a good day was had by all and many thanks to 4MI Battalion who contributed 4 golfers to my team.
On the 12th I went to the Rotary Club open evening where I learnt about all of the good works that they do, like the global elimination of polio and disaster relief as well as local projects.
The Lions Club were our hosts for a lunch on the 15th, another organisation that do a lot of good works both globally and locally. I will be riding around in their Christmas Sleigh at the lights switch on and they have donated £1,000 to the Community and Youth Centre project.
On the 16th I attended the AGM of one of my Mayor’s charities, Homestart Kennet, who provide valuable help and support to young families in the area, a very worthy cause.
Another charity, Prospect Hospice, provided us with updates on their work on the 19th and are going from strength to strength. The two Prospect shops in Marlborough High Street are a major source of funds for this charity who support a lot of local families who have a member who is terminally ill.
Not a Mayor’s official visit but one of my history interests saw a visit to Wolf Hall, with Marlborough History Society members, on the 22nd and a chance to climb down in to the tunnels underneath it, fascinating.
My final official duty of the month was attendance, with the Mayoress, at the civic service in Westbury on the 29th, another interesting Wiltshire town that I would not normally get a chance to visit.
With slightly less civic duties this month there has been quite a bit of work to do and I attended some 18 meetings covering various issues in the town like car parking and housing for young people, a good month’s work.