This month involved quite a bit of activity around the Marlborough Area Neighbourhood Plan (MANP) including four public consultation sessions. In addition to my civic engagements, I attended a total of 24 meetings.
On Monday, 1st July, my first engagement of the month was to open our new public toilet at the Town Hall. It has been a long-standing ambition of the Council to have a public toilet again on the High Street and I’m sure it will be well used.
Wednesday, 10th July was a very sporty day. Well, not for me, I just watched! During the day we had the Swindon and Wiltshire School Games at Marlborough College and at the Leisure Centre. This involves hundreds of children from schools all over Swindon and Wiltshire competing in a wide variety of sports. It was my great pleasure to help hand out medals for swimming and athletics along with Swindon Mayor, Kevin Parry and Deputy Lieutenant, David Hemery.
In the evening, it was the Mayor’s Cricket match at Marlborough Cricket Club. At this annual event, the Mayor fields a scratch team against the Cricket Club and usually loses, but this year and with the help of soldiers from 4MI and the excellent batting of Deputy Mayor Mark Cooper, we were able to manage an unprecedented draw. The standard of cricket was impressively high.
On Monday, 15th July I attended the AGM of the Prospect Hospice, a great organisation that has helped so many people in Marlborough.
Thursday, 18th July saw the presentation of awards to children and young people who have attended the Greatwood Charity and have been helped by the activities there. It was inspiring to see how many children from around the area are helped by this organisation and we heard from two young men who are now trainee jockeys, having been helped by the Charity.
We bid farewell to Methodist Minister, Heather Cooper, at a service in Christchurch, on Sunday, 21st July. It’s always sad to see someone leave our community, particularly someone like Heather who has done so much to help people in the eight years that she has been in Marlborough. We wish her well in her new appointment on the Wirral.
On Monday, 22nd July, I visited Marlborough St Mary’s school to present a cheque, from the Town Council, to help pay for the second phase of their outdoor play equipment, which should give many years of pleasure to the children there. Later on, it was Full Town Council where, ahead of the meeting, I was delighted to present a gift to Heather and also a small token to two locally-based equestrians, Tim and Jonelle Price, who are winning awards nationally and internationally.
Judgement Day arrived on Tuesday 23rd July, the judging of Marlborough in Bloom that is. My day started early with an interview in the High St, for BBC Wiltshire followed by getting fully robed, on a very hot day, to greet the judges, this year accompanied by Lady Emma Fellowes. We all had lunch together, kindly provided by Savernake View Care Home. Lady Fellowes, whose husband wrote Downton Abbey, was not giving anything away about the plot of the new movie coming out but, assured us that it would be good. We finally said farewell to the judges at the end of the afternoon and now await the results which will be revealed on 11th October in Newquay.
In the evening, I presented grant cheques, from the Town Council, to Savernake Explorer Scouts and to Marlborough Poverty Action group.
On Thursday, 25th July, we welcomed visitors from Japan, twenty 15-year-old boys here on a visit. I showed them around the Town Hall, including the cells, and told them a bit about the Town’s history. They were quite excited to be here, for some of them it was their first time outside of Japan.
The main event of the month was the weekend of 27th/28th July which combined our Civic Service with a weekend of civil war re-enactment events. We had a Living History in the Priory Gardens, displays in The Merchant’s House and battle re-enactments on The Common. I even went on to the battlefield on Saturday as one of the Parley party, we were not very successful as the battle kicked off soon afterwards. The Civic Service saw some 13 mayors and deputies from around the area and was followed by laying a wreath beneath the blue plaque commemorating the Battle of Marlborough.
My final engagement of the month was a visit to Calne and Bowood, hosted by the Mayor of Calne, to hear all about the town’s tourism initiative as we start to prepare for our own in Marlborough.
And on to a quiet August of holidays and few meetings.
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