October & November 2019
In October, I attended 18 meetings and the following engagements:
Saturday 5 October was the opening day of the first Mop Fair, an event much enjoyed by local children, who get free rides by following me around. I made a slow walk to give as many rides as I could!
Week commencing Monday 7 October
On Monday I went to see the basketball hoops installed at the Community and Youth Centre, they are a very kind donation from the local Rotary Club and are providing much enjoyment to the young people at the Youth Club. On Thursday we embarked on the long drive down to Newquay, in Cornwall and attended a reception given by the Mayor of Newquay in advance of the South West In Bloom Awards. It was interesting to chat to local Councillors and hear how the town has transformed itself from a stag and hen do destination in to a family resort. The next day, Friday, was the day of the main awards ceremony at which Marlborough won a gold award and many community awards. We have now been invited to compete at national level, a great honour for the town. On Sunday I attended the Civic Service at Royal Wootton Bassett, which this year had a very musical flavour with choirs and musicians, very enjoyable.
Week Commencing Monday 14 October
Our town relies very much on its business community to bring in visitors and I was very pleased to help launch an initiative on Tuesday to get the police together with local traders to discuss forming a ShopWatch scheme to combat theft. I am always happy to hand out money to local causes, and on Wednesday I visited Home Start Kennet to hand out a grant cheque. One of the duties of being Mayor is to do radio interviews, these sometimes involve getting up early and going up to the High Street to meet up with Karen Gardner and her broadcast van or to simply do it over the phone from home. On Thursday I gave an interview about our participation in the South West In Bloom events. On Sunday the local Lions Club held their annual lunch and it was good to meet up with local members and hear about the excellent charitable work that they do. The Lions also play an important part in Christmas Festivities with Santa and his sleigh going around the town to the delight of local children.
Week Commencing Monday 21 October
We had a fairly rare event on Thursday with the licensing of new Reverend Chris Smith at St Mary’s church. It was fascinating to see this traditional service, which included the presentation of the keys to the church and a bible to the new vicar. We welcome Chris and his family to Marlborough. On Saturday I gave another interview on BBC Wiltshire, this time about our free parking Saturday.
In November I attended 14 meetings and the following engagements:
This month started, on Friday 1st November, with the Royal British Legion’s remembrance event at the Field of Remembrance in Lydiard Park, always very impressive.
Week Commencing Monday 4 November
Wednesday saw the Marlborough In Bloom AGM at which the various awards, collected last month in Newquay, were handed out to the groups that participated. On Friday we celebrated the refurbishment of the village hall in Manton at a formal opening event, a very well thought out improvement to this much used facility.
This year remembrance Sunday fell on 10 November and was a very well attended event with all age groups represented in the parade down to the war memorial where we held the traditional silence and then a service in St Mary’s Church.
Week Commencing Monday 11 November
Monday 11 November was Armistice Day and just before 11am the High Street was brought to a standstill by the evocative sound of an air raid siren. After the silence we processed down to the 7th Wilts memorial on London Road to remember the men of that Battalion, who fought in Macedonia in the First World War having done their training in and around the town. In the afternoon we went up to the Cemeteries on the Common to put a posy on each of the eleven war graves. There are four WW1 graves in the old cemetery and seven from WW2 in the current cemetery.
Week Commencing Monday 18 November
Another BBC Wiltshire interview to do on Thursday, this time about our new 20mph speed limits around the centre of town. The Christmas Lights switch on event was held this year on Friday 22 November and was a very successful event with great stage acts and a fine Christmas market with lots of food and drink. A very important factor in the economic future of Marlborough will be encouraging visitors to the Town, something that the Great West Way tourism project is helping us to do. I met, over dinner, with twelve Tour Managers from all over Europe on Saturday and told them all about out town and what it had to offer. On Sunday I attended the St Thomas More annual church lunch in the West Kennet Hall, a great home cooked meal and social occasion.