Royal Wootton Bassett Civic Service

Sunday 9th October 2016

At the invitation of the Mayor, Councillor Mary Champion, we attended a Civic Service at St Bartholomew and All Saints Church. The service was delightful with many children taking part in the readings with the emphasis on friends, family and the community. We were also treated to an instrumental performance from Royal Wootton Bassett Academy and a charming rendition from the children of the Community Youth Choir.

Wonderful to see so many of the younger generation attending Church.

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All the Fun of the Fair!

MopPrizeshotSaturday 8th October 2016

No-one could have failed to hear the opening proclamation by our Town Cryer and Beadle, Mike Tupman, MBE for this, the first of the 2016 Mop Fairs. It was lovely to see so many families and children as we processed through the fair and I braved a couple of the rides after I had declared the Mops open.

I began to feel a bit like the Pied Piper of Hamelin as I was followed around by a growing band of children who were canny enough to know that they would get free rides if they stuck with the Mayor and his party!

It was a happy and relaxed atmosphere and a reaffirmation of our strong relationship with the Showmen's Guild whose members are responsible for bringing the fair to town.

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RHS South West in Bloom Awards

Wednesday, 5th October 2016

Susan and I travelled to Taunton on Wednesday to attend an evening reception hosted by Mayor Vivienne Stock-Williams and her Consort, Ian. We had already met them when we attended the Great Fire of London event at the Mansion House in London last month and it was good to meet again. Other familiar faces from across the South West were there and we also had the opportunity to meet Mayors from all over the area. This was essentially the prelude to the following day when the South West in Bloom awards were to be announced and presented.

Thursday, 6th October 2016

SWTA CupThe feeling on Thursday was one of subdued anticipation as we all waited to see who had won what! This ceremony is very much the 'Oscars' of the gardening world and this feeling was strengthened when we learned that the awards would be presented by Lord and Lady Fellowes (he of Downton Abbey fame).

Of the twelve groups entered by Marlborough, we had achieved four top level results of Outstanding. After a lunch break we went on to collect the South West Tourism Association cup and a Silver Gilt award. Further reasons for celebration came when The Lamb Inn public house in The Parade won the Shaun Gregan Cup for the best floral display by a pub in the South West. A special award was given to the Marlborough Waterfront in Kennet Place as joint winner of the London and Manchester Trophy for the most outstanding environmental initiative.

We can rightly be proud of how well Marlborough did in this competition and it was a team effort, involving not only the Town Council's Grounds Team but also local businesses, shops and largely unseen volunteers who all worked so hard. Well done to you all.

More photos in our gallery and read the press release

 

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Salisbury Civic Day

Shaftesbury-MarlboroughFriday 30th September 2016

The area in front of the Salisbury Guildhall was taken up by vintage and French markets as we arrived for a Civic Day at the invitation of Salisbury's Mayor, Councillor Derek Brown, OBE. After coffee and a welcome by the Mayor followed by a quick look at the impressive Maces, we travelled by coach with other Wiltshire Mayors as well as Mayors from Bath, Dorset and Hampshire, to the South Wiltshire University Technical College (UTC).

The UTC is housed in the former Salisbury Police Station and has been transformed into a modern, professional learning environment where the aim is to prepare 14-19 year olds to become scientists, engineers and computer technologists. The College works closely with employers in the region and the University of Southampton. We were all most impressed.

We were then given an illustrated talk by Steve Godwin of Salisbury Business Improvement District (BID) who explained the benefits felt by local traders from joining the scheme. This is something we have considered here in Marlborough.

Our next stop was The New Inn (roughly 700 years old) where we all enjoyed a splendid lunch before departing for a 'whistle stop' tour of Salisbury Cathedral. The Mayor, Derek Brown and his wife, Penny (herself a former Mayor) both make the time to be official guides for the Cathedral - 2 out of 600!

On return to the magnificent Guildhall, we enjoyed afternoon tea and marvellous entertainment by Elevate Dance Company which recreated the 'Roaring Twenties' with their dance routine, including the Charlestone.

Altogether, a varied and interesting day - one to remember.

Photo: Our Mayor and Mayoress (right) with The Mayor of Shaftesbury, Dr Richard Tippins with his Consort Susan. Behind them are the Salisbury Maces and the enormous silver basting spoon presenting by Queen Victoria on her visit to Salisbury.

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Mayor's Charity Concert

Friday, 23rd September 2016

St Peters-squareSt Peter's Church was the glorious setting for our Charity Concert in aid of Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Swift Medics with members of Marlborough Concert Orchestra playing music from Mozart, Saint-Saens and the wonderful Trout Quintet by Schubert.

The concert was well attended and very much enjoyed by everyone. I would like to thank Rob Napier and his fellow musicians for their superb rendition of the pieces and their generosity in performing for the charities. Also to David du Croz and his fellow Trustees for allowing us to use St Peters (David's help and advice was invaluable). Dr Nick Maurice provided help and the wisdom of his experience too.

Finally, the volunteers from Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Swift Medics who attended on the night, not to forget former Mayor Robin Notton and his wife Anne who manned the door and poured the wine at the interval. Thanks to you all.

There was only one 'downside' to the whole event - washing up approx. 100 glasses on the following morning!

marlborough concert orchestra logowiltshire-air-ambulance-logoswiftlogo

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Coombe End Court and Savernake Hospital Re-Union

Thursday 22nd September 2016

Coombe End Court, London Road

Coombe End RibbonWith Susan, I was invited to open the refurbished Dementia Care Household at Coombe End Court where we were greeted by the Manager, Mrs Andrews. This has been a major refurbishment project costing around £240,000 and the results are impressive. A shop, cinema and Bistro have been included as well as 'Kaspers Cafe' named after the resident cat! The Care Home, which has 60 en-suite rooms, is part of the Orders of St John Care Trust which has other homes across the country. We met the Chairman, Don Wood, CBE (pictured, 2nd) and also Dan Hayes, the Chief Executive (pictured, left).

None of us can claim to 'look forward' to the mental and physical trials that old age can bring, but it is reassuring to know that we have a care home here in Marlborough which offers specialist care for almost every challenge. Through greater understanding, kindness and patience, we can all be positive about the future.

Read more at Marlborough News Online

Nurses Reunited

At the request of former Mayor, Tony Gray and his wife Mary, we briefly attended a re-union of nurses who had all worked at the Savernake Hospital. Some still live locally but others had travelled long distances for this. Lots of shared memories and swapping of 'war stories'.

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Wilton Civic Service

Sunday 18th September, 2016

wiltonchurchWilton, the former county town of Wiltshire and the Ancient Capital of Wessex is a lovely small town with many splendid buildings - not least of which is Wilton House.

At the invitation of Mayor, Trevor Batchelder, a civic service was held in the stunningly beautiful Church of St Mary and St Nicholas. The church which is Grade 1 listed was built in 1845 for the huge sum of £20,000 thanks to the Hon. Sidney Herbert and his mother the Russian Dowager, Countess of Pembroke. It was designed by T H Wyatt in the Italianate style. The celebrant for the service was Rev. Mark Wood and my wife and I felt hugely privileged to attend in such awe inspiring surroundings.

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Marlborough students in The Gambia

Tuesday 13th September 2016

gunjar studentsThe Marlborough Brandt Group invited Susan and I to a presentation by student volunteers of their 2016 summer visit to The Gambia. We were met by Karen Bulsara, the new Director of MBG who took over in February 2016 from the indefatigable Dr. Nick Maurice. Karen is also a Director of St John's.

We also met Anita Brew of MBG who had accompanied the 13 students on their month long visit to Gunjar. All of the students took part in recounting the more memorable aspects of their visit, backed up by photographs and a short video. They had helped to build a new school and having seen it through to completion, were able to witness the delight of the young children for whom this was a new classroom. It was clear that the volunteers had enjoyed being a part of a very different community and that they were overwhelmed by the kindness of the host families and the people of Gunjar as a whole. The bond between them was apparent and it was obviously quite a wrench when they left to return to Marlborough.

The presentation was not only interesting but also heart-warming and served to remind us just how important the bond is between the Marlborough Brandt Group and Gunjar. Long may it continue!

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Chippenham Civic Service

Civic Procession ChippenhamSunday, 4th September

The Mayor of Chippenham, Councillor Terry Gibson, had kindly invited us and other Mayors and representatives of civic and community life from Wiltshire and bordering counties to a Civic Service. The service was led by Parish Priest Rev. Rod Key and the sermon delivered by Major Jackie Dixon of the Salvation Army who is the Mayor's Chaplain.

This was followed by a presentation of Civic Awards and refreshments which were also served in St Andrews Church.

An enjoyable afternoon meeting up with many increasingly familiar faces from across Wiltshire.

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Afternoon tea with the Lord Mayor of London The Rt.-Hon. Lord Mountstevans attended by Aldermen of the City

Friday, 2nd September 2016

Lord Mayors tea captionedMemories flooded back today when Susan and I attended the Lord Mayor of London's splendid Afternoon Tea in the grandeur of the Mansion House. In 2003, I received the Freedom of the City in the Guildhall opposite my old office in Gresham Street where I started my training in stockbroking with Colegrave & Co at the age of 18.

The tea was a part of a series of events to mark the anniversary of the Great Fire of London. An estimated 65,000 people were made homeless by the fire and collections were held across the country to raise funds. A total of £12,794 (worth £1.9 million in today's money) was raised and the record shows that Marlborough sent the sum of £50.

All of the Mayors and Consorts who attended had been icity of london corporationnvited as representatives of the area/town/county who had contributed to the relief fund. We were the only representatives from Wiltshire.

We chatted with the Deputy Lord Mayor of Exeter whose City had contributed a massive £1,048.19s.0d. There was also a chance for us to meet the Mayor of Taunton-Deane, Vivienne Stock-Williams and her husband Ian which was fortuitous as we will be attending the South West in Bloom presentation in October which is held in Taunton. We also chatted with the Mayor of York among others.

There were many further events planned for the weekend of 3rd and 4th September culminating in the burning of a wooden replica of the London of 1666 - in safety on the River Thames.

We, in Marlborough, of course, also suffered a Great Fire in 1653 which may be one reason why local people contributed so willingly to the London Fund.

 

 

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