This was very much a 'swansong' for me and my fellow Wiltshire Mayors as we are all coming to the end of our Mayoral Year. The Minster Church of St Denys was the venue and we met Warminster's new Town Clerk, Fiona Fox, who has only recently taken over the office. Today was, of course, St George's Day, something that was pointed out to us by the Revd. Jacques Desrosiers, himself a French Canadian, as he quizzed the congregation on their knowledge of our English Patron Saint. It was a special service and we were treated to some sublime singing courtesy of The Military Wives Choir, something of a coup on the part of the Mayor of Warminster, Councillor Paul MacFarlane. The final hymn, a rousing rendition of Jerusalem, was very fitting on St George's Day.
Friday, 21st April 2017
Martin Crane OBE, Mayor of Hungerford and his wife, Virginia, are much to be admired as they have held the Office of Mayor and Mayoress for no less than 5 years all told. He is now stepping down at the end of this term and they were presented with some very smart garden tools which came with hints concerning an allotment! It was a particularly enjoyable evening for Susan and myself as we formerly lived at the Old Vicarage and managed to 'catch up' with former neighbours and many familiar faces from the past.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening.
This is a great opportunity to view all types of artworks produced by local artists. The event is sponsored by David Dudley and he and his wife, Kim Vine, were there to welcome us to this private viewing and exhibition. Without sponsorship such as this, many artists would struggle to find recognition. There were so many lovely pieces and we did succumb to purchasing a picture!
Marlborough Choral Society and Devizes Chamber Choir joined forces under the direction of David Ripley for a delightful Spring Concert in St Mary's Church, Marlborough. The concert is to be repeated on 1st April in St Andrew's Church, Devizes should you wish to attend.
The evening began with an impressive rendition of Zadok the Priest, one of Handel's Coronation Anthems and a piece that most of us would recognise, very stirring! The second piece was the beautiful Gloria, composed by Vivaldi and featuring the Soprano, Emma Banham and Alto, Alice Simmons.
Finally, after the interval we were treated to a seldom performed piece by the more modern composer, John Rutter, as the choir sang Six Canticles of Creation, The Gift of Life.
The joining together of these two choirs proved to be an excellent and successful venture with their voices filling the Church.
My wife and I look forward to the next Choral Concert in June.
The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust provides home security for elderly, vulnerable and disadvantaged people throughout Wiltshire who have been the subject of burglary, harassment, house crime, domestic abuse or fire. I was pleased, on behalf of the Town Council, to present the Trust with a small cheque for this excellent mission chaired by Robert Hiscox. The Patron is HRH the Duchess of Cornwall.
Tuesday, 14th March 2017
This is a regular Tuesday morning meeting with members at the Conservative Club and as President my wife and I attend when we can to speak to everyone and watch the various activities going on supervised by the excellent Sue Bailey and her husband David plus a few other volunteers.
These endearing people come from mainly Marlborough and outlying villages plus Devizes. We need more volunteers to come forward to help us with outings from Marlborough and this year we hope to go to Bristol Zoo and other events to keep our members happy and contented. Do please call Sue Bailey on 01672 514513 for further information.
Thanks to the efforts and kindness of Dr Nick Maurice, Susan and I attended this Fairtrade Reception in our Town Hall. It was extremely well attended - more than 100 people - and we all sat at circular tables and enjoyed Fairtrade refreshments courtesy of Nick Helps, the Manager of our local Tesco.
I warmly welcomed Sophie Long and Patrick Kaberia to Marlborough. Sophie, from the Fairtrade Foundation, explained the principle of the set-up and the way in which it helps people to help themselves by offering viable local employment and thus improving living standards and allowing people to choose how to spend any monies.
The highlight of the evening was a presentation by Patrick Kaberia, a tea planting farmer, who was able to explain just how he had personally benefited, having worked as a tea farmer for the past 24 years in Eastern Kenya. Patrick spoke straight from the heart and it was illuminating to listen to such a personal success story.
Now that Marlborough has Fairtrade status we must continue to support the Foundation and all that it stands for, and pass this message onto future generations.
There is something special about seeing our wonderful Town Hall lit up on a winter's evening with the front doors open in welcome. It is a few years now since we hosted a Civic Dinner here in Marlborough, and this evening our honoured guests were Lt. Colonel Matt Jones and some members of his Battalion of 4 Military Intelligence. Other guests included the Mayors of Devizes, Highworth and Wilton, some of our own Councillors and many stalwarts from our community. The atmosphere was friendly and the food excellent and I believe that everyone enjoyed themselves.
I was presented with a cheque for £500 by 4 Military Intelligence which was for the benefit of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance, once of my nominated charities for this, my Mayoral year.
Since receiving the Freedom of Entry of our Town some years ago, 4 Military Intelligence have continued to support us on many occasions throughout the year and we were all glad to have a chance to recognise their continued support.
Tuesday, 28th February 2017
This is an annual event for the Showmen's Guild where they host their own members (from the western section) as well as Mayors from many of the towns that are visited by their Fairs throughout the year. The Fairs were once a seasonal event with a period of respite for the Showmen. This is no longer the case and they now travel throughout the year with very little time off.
Everyone received a very warm welcome and my wife Susan and I were seated at a table with three generations of the Whitelegg family, namely Billy and his wife Louise, two daughters with their husbands and one grandson - also called Billy.
It was both interesting and enlightening to get an insight into the close 'family ties' that are clearly vital within the larger family of the Showmen's Guild.
It was an excellent lunch and we listened with interest as we learned of the many charities and organisations which benefit from the generosity of the Showmen.
Sunday, 29th January 2017
The weather was appalling and we, along with the other Mayors from across Wiltshire and a Deputy Lord Lieutenant braved the pouring rain for a group photograph prior to processing to the beautiful Parish Church of All Saints.
The Church dates back to the 14th Century and we enjoyed a service which included an address by the Venerable Alan Jeans, Archdeacon of Sarum.
After the Service, everyone who had attended was invited back to the Laverton for refreshments - a most welcome hot cup of tea.