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Mayors Blog

August

mencapSaturday 1st August

I was delighted to be invited to attend the MENCAP skittle night at Marlborough Football Club. The event was attended by approximately 40 members and carers. Councillor Alec Light also attended.

Everyone took their turn bowling and I managed to knock down four skittles while one member knocked down a very impressive seventeen. So my skills must lay elsewhere.

A raffle was held and drawn by the Mayor and a light buffet was served. Everyone agreed it was a very enjoyable evening.

 

Monday 3rd August

I attended the 25th anniversary of the Kennet Community Transport, which was held at the Jubilee Centre. On arrival I was greeted by Councillor Kirk Wilson busy putting up silver balloons in readiness for the celebrations.25 Years

Mrs Joyce White, Councillor Stewart Dobson, Councillor Marian Hannaford-Dobson and Councillor Bryan Castle - all former Mayors - also attended. We were treated to a delicious tea of homemade coffee sponge, my favourite.

The Mayor presented a certificate on behalf of the Town council and congratulated the organisation for their dedication and committment to the local community.

Councillor Kirk Wilson replied talking a little on the history of the organisation. He also thanked Mr Robert Hiscox for his generous offer to install air conditioning for the benefit of the passengers.  A toast was proposed to the next 25 years.

 

HydrangeaBouquetsThursday 6th August

I attended the Marlborough Floral Club Summer Lunch celebrating their 45th anniversary in the Village Hall, Mildenhall. The President Mrs Phyllis Broadway is a long standing member having been a keen flower arranger for at least 35 years.

I was greeted by the Chairman Mrs Wendy Jordan. The theme of the day was blue and there were beautiful blue heads of Hydrangeas as floral arrangements on each table. 

We had a delicious cold lunch with fresh fruit salad. After lunch we were treated to a demonstration by the florist Sarah Styles (who has recently opened her own shop) on how to create a summer wreath with subtle pink and mauve colours which, was later raffled.

The celebration cake was cut by the Chairman.

The Mayor was on a well-deserved holiday during the later part of August

 

 

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September

macular society logoAfter an August summer rest in hot and sunny Spain, I rushed back from Bristol Airport on the last day of the month to a luncheon for the Macular Society held in the Methodist Hall. We were entertained by the Kennet Singers and all invited to sing along.

Wednesday, 2nd September - Ongoing co-ordination meeting about our Marlborough Christmas Lights Switch-On. This takes place on Friday, 20th November. All coming together well but, we could do with some more able-bodied volunteers to support the Rotary Club in manning the road closure barriers.

youth groupFriday, 4th September - I was invited to the Youth Centre and was able to see Cllrs Farrell and Cook keeping an eagle and watchful eye on 60 youngsters aged between 8 - 15 years who were very much enjoying a beautiful September evening. Some were using council play equipment, Cllr Cook was playing football with the boys and Cllr Farrell multi tasking, keeping her charges happy and organising her supporters and volunteers. On top of that we were all treated to a BBQ.

I was shown around the premises which offer great potential - there was even a fully stocked Tuck Shop which proved very popular. What will be needed is perhaps more equipment for the darker evenings.

DSC 1832Saturday, 5th September - Marlborough Gardening Association Show, an important annual event for the green fingered and where I was invited to present the prizes. I also presented a cheque for £300 – a Town Council grant to the Association. Entries to the vegetable classes were noticeably down on previous years but, one competitor, Nigel Elliott, managed to sweep the board, winning 10 cups and showing what can be achieved. Crafts and flowers were well represented with my own Paper Mache Otter being awarded a Highly Commended.

fairtrade-logoMonday 8th September - We started the meeting early at 6.30pm with Dr Nick Maurice giving a presentation on Marlborough becoming a Fairtrade Town. He received a warm reception and then it was onto the Full Council agenda with 22 items. Then, the Planning Committee and with it all ending at 9 55pm. So, some very weary Councillors!

mencap logoTuesday, 9th September - A MENCAP committee meeting with dates already flying around for Christmas parties and a Pantomime visit to Bristol to see Snow White and the 7 dwarfs.

Wednesday, 9th September - A meeting with 4 Ml Battalion, the Royal British Legion, the Police, Highways and Councillors to discuss November’s Remembrance Day Parade and Armistice Day. Both of these events are important ones for the Town Council.

Alzheimers SupportFriday, 11th September - I presented a Town Council grant cheque to the Alzheimer’s Support group at its meeting in the Conservative Club. We were treated to a talk from a retired Fire Officer who gave an amusing account of his career. This group loyally look after their loved ones and they need support and time for themselves.

Berendina ConcertSunday, 13th September - The Mayor’s Charity Concert at St Peter’s Church. The generosity of Berendina Cook & Matthew Stanley in performing their classical piano recital was hugely appreciated. It was a very special occasion, a great success and enjoyed by all who attended. It also raised over £3,000 with generous donations for the Brain Tumour Charity. This was a very worthwhile effort and my thanks go out to all who not only helped but, those who supported this event too.

Wednesday, 16th September - Today, to Trowbridge with other Councillors and representatives from towns all over Wiltshire for the a Market Towns Network Meeting. We listened to speakers talking about advances in technology which will spearhead the way for all councils and commerce.   

MiB St Peters CaptionedFriday, 18th September - I was invited by St Peter’s Junior School to their assembly to present certificates for the painting competition on the theme A Day in the Park. In all, I judged about 100 paintings. I felt privileged to sit through the assembly as teachers each awarded one of their pupils as ‘Star of the Week.’ The pupil came out to the front to talk to us about their achievement. I was so impressed by the ethos of St Peter’s and the encouragement given to all students to keep on trying. I was then invited to talk to the children. Naturally, I praised their artistic achievement, encouraging them to always have a go then presented the certificates on behalf of the Town Council and Marlborough in Bloom. I also gave out 2 tins of sweets which were very readily accepted!

mencap logoSaturday, 19th September - Bingo evening with Mencap. This was not a game I had ever played before so it needed my considerable concentration. The event was well attended with Cllr Loosmore as Chairman and Sarah Hart and her family supporting it all. Thanks go to Mr and Mrs Bundy for co-ordinating it – a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Sunday, 20th September - The Old Victorian Cemetery. Six of us met up and tried out our new tools - Cllr Dobson and I both had a test drive with the strimmer! We dug up brambles too. The grass was rather soggy and difficult to cut short but, we are hoping that Richard's team will be able to mow what we have cleared so we are able to maintain progress. We now await the arrival of our bulbs so we can have a planting session and have something to look forward to in the spring.

Royal Naval CollegeWednesday, 23rd September - It was a lovely September day when Cllr Hannaford-Dobson and I headed south to Dartmouth, the day before the presentation for South West in Bloom. We arrived at the picturesque harbour, drove through the quaint little town to find our B&B, The Paper Moon. We were staying with the Mayor of Dartmouth, Cllr Rob Lyon and his wife which was very convenient and we were able to walk with them to the evening reception. The Sergeant-at-Arms saw to the safety of the Mayoral chain. We arrived at the Britannia Naval College the following morning. What an impressive building, looking towards the harbour, portraits of great Admirals hanging imposingly on every wall.

Perhaps a little disappointment that we did not leave with armfuls of trophies but, certainly plenty of plaudits and we also retained our Silver Gilt status presented to us by Jonathan Dimbleby. We were so pleased to hear that the MiB Awards Mayor Anne Crawley Richard BealeNAMECAPIt's Your Neighbourhood awards went well and were delighted that The Lamb Inn picked up third prize for the best floral display for a pub in our region. I was very proud to collect the Thriving certificate on behalf of the Old Victorian Cemetery.

Saturday, 26th September - I was invited to open OKA at Froxfield. This store had had a fire last year and was re-opening in style. I was invited to cut the ribbon and was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Cocktails were served to all and I was given a tour of the showrooms - I was certainly I impressed and hope to take my granddaughter there to buy her birthday gift.

Help for Heroes logoSaturday evening saw me at St John's Academy for a fund raising concert, the proceeds of which were for Help for Heroes and Hope and Homes for Children, two very worthy causes. The different choirs put in a tremendous amount of effort with the children from Kennet Valley and Oare Primary school perhaps just stealing the show with their enthusiasm. It was an excellent programme with some fine soloists including David Dudley giving us a Frank Sinatra routine. Fiona MacArthur performed a Mezzo Contralto, Hope and Homes logo Nicola Evans gave a rendering of Amazing Grace and Sarah Allport played an aria on the saxophone. The evening finished with all performers singing from Les Miserables. Both Jo Sutton (Hope and Homes for Children) and Natalie Williams (Help for Heroes) both gave an account of their charities.

Surviving Winter logo final mid sizeSunday, 27th September
- A fund raising Jazz lunch for the Wilts Community Foundation's Surviving Winter. This charity raises money for people, especially the elderly, living in fuel poverty and perhaps struggling to survive. The late September sunshine was lovely and we enjoyed drinks outside before being treated to music from a young jazz group and its musical director whilst we ate lunch in the marquee.

pigeon3Wednesday, 30th September - I had a shock when this pigeon decided to visit the Council offices in the High Street without opening the window first. You'll be relieved to know the pigeon was rescued, checked over and released, a little dazed but otherwise unharmed. All in a day's work!

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October

Wednesday, 7th October – The day started off with a Stonebridge Management Committee meeting, then on to the Mobility Store for discussions about starting a Shop Mobility scheme in Marlborough. This is a scheme linking up with other towns where you can hire mobility scooters at very reasonable prices. This proposal will, hopefully, be supported by the Area Board.

CAP AnneCrawleyIn the evening we had the Marlborough in Bloom AGM and Award Presentation when everyone was welcomed by the Chairman, Mrs Ann Crawley. Some MiB members had been invited down to the beautiful Dartmouth Naval College to collect the awards which were presented that evening.  In the Its Your Neighbourhood category, ARK collected a piece of silverware for best native planting at Stonebridge Meadow and Marlborough Water Front, under the care of Mrs Val Compton, received an Outstanding Award certificate. The Lamb (which clearly should have come first) collected a certificate for third place for being the pub with the best floral displays in the South West and the landlords were delighted to receive it.

The evening also saw the launch of the MiB Calendar which has been produced with local photos taken by Eric Gilbert.

Margaret Claire Perry Mop FairSaturday, 10th October - All the excitement of the Little Mop Fair. Alongside Claire Perry, we all enjoyed opening this with Claire and I starting it all off by having the first ride. The Showmen’s Guild generously presented me with a cheque for £500 towards my Mayoral Charity and the bonus was me winning more on the darts stall!  It was then onto a Reception in the Town Hall given by the Guild.

Civic Service 4Sunday, 11th October -   A beautiful autumn day welcomed Marlborough’s first Town Council Civic Service and we were honoured by the presence of Sir Mike Pitts, Deputy Lord Lieutenant t of Wiltshire and the 4th Military Battalion’s new Commander, Lt. Col. Matt Jones. Not forgetting too, ten Mayors and Mayoresses and Councillors from around Wiltshire and Hungerford.   

Marlborough College Choir sang an Anthem and together with the trumpeters, made for some beautiful singing and sound. I read a lesson from St Mark and my Chaplain, Dr David Campbell, gave the sermon. Father Blacker, the Rector Rev Andrew Studdert Kennedy and the Town Council staff all helped to make it an occasion. It was followed by a Reception in the Town Hall.

Tuesday, 13th October - A Common Users Group meeting at the Golf Club which was very well attended and plenty of views aired.

Wednesday, 14th October - Marlborough Christmas Light’s Switch-on meeting. The committee is pulling together, what we hope will be a fine evening which will include a presentation to our Citizen of the Year 2015.

fairtrade-logoIn the evening I went along to the Marlborough – A Fairtrade Town meeting which Dr Nick Maurice hosted in the Town Hall. Joe Human, Co-ordinator of the Cumbria Fairtrade, gave a very good presentation on why we should all support Fairtrade then two managers from Waitrose and Tesco spoke about the commercial side and how they might be able to work together

Golf Mayor both captainsThursday, 15th October - Golf Match. Here the Mayor’s Team took on the Golf Club. 4MI made up the bulk of our team alongside Ryan from our Grounds staff. The matches were played in good spirit and as it was a draw, I presented the Rose Bowl Trophy to both captains! Now it only leaves the decision about next year when it will be a lady Captain - do we go for mixed pairs or include a ladies team? We were treated to a delicious meal by the Golf Club and my thanks go to its Captain, Alan Pryor, as well as to our own captain, Paul Clemerson, and his team

Friday, 16th October - The Town Council Stonebridge Management team met ARK at the meadow where it is hoped to place some log seating by the river so everyone can enjoy the ambiance. There were also discussions about the felling and pruning of an unsafe tree.  

The evening saw me at a Civic Dinner at Warminster which was very well done where we had the chance to meet and talk with other Mayors.

fashion show posterThursday, 22nd October – A splendid Fashion Show at the Town Hall. I was honoured to be invited along and I made the following speech to open the event:

"Ladies and Gentlemen

Thank you for coming this evening and supporting the Lion’s Fashion Show. I would like to add my congratulations to the President, Mrs Sue Lampard, and the Marlborough Lions Club as they reach their 40th anniversary which I believe is a ruby celebration.

The concept of the Lions is to be a charitable organisation, to not just raise funds, but to support where needed not just in this country but around the globe supporting worldwide disasters and I list some of the Charitable causes which have benefited:

Wiltshire Air Ambulance, Naomi Children’s Hospice, The Hydro Therapy Pool Swindon, Children’s Adventure Breaks, Macmillan Nurses.  We at Marlborough Town Council appreciate its support with The Christmas Light Switch-on, a community event where they will escort the Mayor down the High St in the Reindeer Sleigh to turn on the Christmas Lights. They also will be collecting in the High Street for one of their charities.

Some of their successful fund raising events are The Bluebell Woods, Easter Egg Raffle, the Christmas Carol Float and tonight, the Fashion Show

It leaves me only to thank all who have participated in this Fashion Show 

Annabel from the Merchant House – Foxtrot – Luna - White Stuff - Phase Eight – Viyella – Dress - and to the Lions for kindly inviting me. I hope you all enjoy the evening"

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December

Wednesday 2nd December - Started the month off with a visit to the Women's Institute to help with its 6th Anniversary Party where a cake was cut to help with the celebrations.

Malmesbury Abbey - West Face - geograph.org.uk - 198795Friday 4th December - A trip to the beautiful Malmesbury Abbey to attend a Carol Service which was a fund raiser for Youth Action Wiltshire which supports young carers who are often looking after a parent or family member. These young people can often feel isolated or miss out on education and development.

Saturday 5th December - This was the third time that I have been invited to the Marlborough Concert Orchestra event held in St Mary's Church. It's all under the energetic baton of Rosalie Gentile, the conductor. Besides the rendering of The Christmas Song played by the whole orchestra, there was an unusual Double Bass Concerto by Koussevitzky and an engaging Hungarian Dances by Brahms.

Sunday 6th December - I went to the Wroughton Prospect Hospice Service, "Light up a Life" which was held outside. I was invited to read a piece on the stage, the Ridgeway School Choir sang beautifully and Aldbourne Band kept the mood very festive. The moving and underlying theme was to light a candle and celebrate a life gone of a loved one.

Tuesday 8th December - A night to remember! I was invited to the 4MI Mess Dinner. This was an insight into the inner circle of how the army celebrates and their own personal etiquette. I was able to stay the night, so thoroughly enjoyed entering into the spirit of the occasion.

Thursday 10th December - I was invited up to London to the Old Malburian's Carol Service at St Michael's Church, Chester Square. It was lovely to see some of my old students from Marlborough College and I hope to receive a donation for my Mayoral Charity.

cropped chapelFriday 11th December - Held in the beautiful Chapel, the Carol Service at Marlborough College is always a highlight in the Council calendar. The rendering of the Choir, the lessons and the hospitality in the Adderley Room all helped to ensure it was again a wonderful occasion.

Saturday 12th December - Off to Hungerford to the Brass Band concert where there were a lot of Berkshire Mayors whom we normally do not have a chance to meet due to the county boundary.

macmillan Christmas concert 2015Sunday 13th December - I was invited to the Kennet Valley Brass Band concert. It featured a Male Voice Choir and was held in the Town Hall. What an excellent concert! This put everyone in the Christmas spirit and raised over £400 for Macmillan Cancer Support, a very worthy cause.

Monday 14th December - An invitation to St John's Academy to cut the ribbon for its new Sixth Form building. It was nice to see Dr Hazelwood there who did so much in setting the high standard of the Academy and its proud reputation.

In the evening, it was back down to earth to chair our Full Town Council meeting. This included discussions about setting up a committee towards another Civil War re-enactment. This event was very popular when held in 2014 and helped to put Marlborough on the map.

carols on the greenTuesday 15th December - Carol singing in the rain on The Green with the Revd Heather Cooper. Our musicians - keyboard and recorder players - had to be sheltered from the rain under a large umbrella. These played for some brave and hearty carol singers. Afterwards we enjoyed some welcome flapjacks provided by our very own kind Tesco Manager, Nick Helps.

Then on th St Mary's Church to celebrate with MENCAP, the Christmas story beautifully acted with great enthusiasm. My thanks go to all the Councillors who have given their own time to help me support all these local groups this year.

Thursday 17th December - A fund raising evening with Dr Nick Maurice and the Marlborough Brandt Group.

With the run up to Christmas, it was quite an eye opener when the police exhibited a car in the High Street that had crashed that year in Savernake Forest. It was a mangled wreck, a sharp reminder to us all about safe driving over the Christmas period.

Thursday 24th December - I very much enjoyed going to the Children's Nativity on Christmas Eve at St Mary's. The Church was packed with families supporting their children who re-enacted the nativity scene so beautifully.

Friday 25th December - On Christmas Day I visited the residents at Coombe End nursing home to wish them a Happy Christmas. Father Christmas gave out presents which were unwrapped with joy. It was then on to Merlin Court to greet the residents there.

I arrived at the Town Hall at noon and all the guests were in a festive mood, enjoying each others' company. Nigel Kerton wished Lisa Farrell and his granddaughter, Vicky Ellis, together with their new team, every success in carrying on the tradition. I was pleased to be able to thank him and Joy for all the dedicated Christmas Dinners that they had put on over the last 6 years. There were a lot of supporters helping to make the occasion go well and I left them to enjoy the rest of the day at 2 pm to drive over to my family in Oxfordshire.
Happy 2016

Thursday 31st December - New Year's Eve. I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year "Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown" and he replied "Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God, that shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way".

May I wish you all very happy and successful New Year 2016.

 

WI logo  yaw logo  Prospect Third Party Logo  Macmillan white light RGB p  mencap logo  mbg-logo

 

 

 

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January 2016

DSC 2184Happy New Year to you all!

Well what a wet season we have had. Daffodils out before the snowdrops, what is happening? We sympathise with towns and villages in the north which have been so badly flooded. A lot of thought will be needed to try to safeguard these places if this weather pattern is going to be the norm.

Wednesday 6th January - I had a meeting with Churches Together to discuss the merits of a Civic Service, a service which is held in most towns to welcome and introduce the new Mayor into the community. At present, here in Marlborough, we visit all of our churches in rotation.

Thursday 7th January - The Gazette & Herald celebrated 200 years of publication in Devizes Town Hall. Our own Nigel Kerton, who was a reporter for many years, told a tale about how the bus to Swindon would pick up his written reports and when it arrived in Swindon the bus would be stopped and those reports collected, ready to go to press.

Wednesday 13th January - A visit to Lydiard Park and the AGM of the NSPCC which was celebrating 30 years of the organisation in Swindon. The guest speaker, Jon Cameron, OBE, spoke very movingly about the organisation's work to combat child abuse, the work of ChildLine counsellors and the dangers of the internet. The main concerns for referrals were neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse. This is a charity which deserves all our support.

George Lane ToiletsCaptionedFriday 15th January - Time for the Penguins Annual Presentation, an event which is always so well supported by parents. It was with great pleasure that I presented trophies to some very accomplished young swimmers. Enormous credit goes to all who support this successful club which has about 400 young members.

Tuesday 19th January - A visit with Cllr. Barrett-Morton and the Town Clerk to Chippenham to discuss the issue of public conveniences with Wiltshire Council, and also whether the Town Council may be able to take on the toilets at George Lane - that's the building and the service provision. This decision will need careful thought from the Council.

 

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February

Monday 1st February - Preshute School. I very much enjoyed my visit, being shown around by Mrs Hicks and meeting Mrs Joyce White, a school governor and former Mayor. Also, having the chance to talk to the children. I was so impressed by the standard of behaviour and their keen interest in everything. I couldn't believe that there were 200 children in such a small space but, all the pupils were so attentive and charming. My congratulations go to Mrs Celia Hicks and her dedicated staff for attaining an excellent Ofsted report. I gather that she is retiring at the end of the academic year - she will be a hard act to follow but, will certainly have left a school with a reputation to be proud of. We wish her a happy retirement.

Alzheimer Gala DinnerWednesday 2nd February -  Altzheimer's Association. I was invited to host a table for a Gala Dinner in the beautiful room in Devizes Town Hall along with the Mayor of Devizes. There were 10 tables of carers and their partners or parents with dementia. We were treated to a lovely dinner with spring daffodils on each table. All those waiting on tables were staff from the Alzheimer's Association and had given their services free. A talk was given on how to eat well. I enjoyed talking to carers who were all very upbeat. I think the whole occasion was appreciated by everyone who attended.

Prospect Third Party LogoTuesday 9th February - it was with great anticipation that we were all taxied up to Savernake Hospital from the George Lane car park on a lovely sunny day (a relief after such a wet Monday) to witness HRH Duchess of Cornwall officially open the new Prospect Outreach Centre. The Duchess is the President of Prospect Hospice.

The Outreach Centre project was achieved by the amazing effort of raising over £260,000 and the foresight of Kevin McNamara, Director of Strategy at the Great Western Hospital, to charge only a peppercorn rent. I was honoured as the Mayor, by being presented first and introduced by the Lord Lieutenant, Mrs Sarah Troughton. The Duchess was escorted around the unit by Mrs Angela Jordan, Prospect's Chief Executive. It was clear that she enjoyed talking to everyone, especially the patients whom she put at ease with her quiet charm. During her tour, she was shown the counselling room with its soft furnishings, watched a collage being made and chatted and thanked volunteers who give so much dedicated time to the hospital. Before she left, she signed the register and was presented with a beautiful cream posy of flowers by a young pupil from Ogbourne St George who made the most elegant curtsy.

Savernake Hospital is very dear to us all in the Marlborough area so the effort that has gone into this project will not only help to give this building a new impetus but, support patients in overcoming and working with their disabilities which is to be applauded.

Tuesday 10th February - today I attended two meetings. One as a representative to the Stonebridge Management Committee with Action for the River Kennet where we discussed projects and the maintenance in Stonebridge Meadow and then down to the Football Club to discuss land for a possible football pitch. Before the day finished, I had a quick look at Cooper's Meadow to get ideas for future projects.

I now go off to Spain for a week to tend a very different garden.

I returned from Spain with a suitcase filled with Seville oranges, large oranges and lemons too, all from the trees in my garden.  I also tackled the prickly pears which had taken over but, are now dying with a fungus

Saturday, 20th February 2016 - today saw Councillor Marian Hannaford-Dobson and me playing bingo with the local MENCAP Group.  Marian actually managed to win a prize.  I wasn't so lucky! 

Mayor.HorseThursday, 25th February 2016 - Councillors were invited up to Greatwood for a guided tour to learn more about how looking after retired race horses was combined with a work programme with schools helping disadvantaged children. Sasha Thorbek-Hooper, FundraisingGREATWOOD CHEQUE 250216 Manager for Greatwood, who clearly has wide expertise in this field, took us round.  It was apparent right from the start that helping to look after these beautiful animals in such a happy environment really contributes to building up confidence in these children's own abilities.

The Town Council congratulated and praised Greatwood for its work with young people and the educational programme it provides, enabling many to eventually work in that field of employment or simply find their way back into society with confidence, believing they can contribute.  We were fortunate to be able to meet and talk to many cheerful youngsters as the mucked out stables and fed the chickens. "It takes courage to grow up to become who you really are". EE Cummings. 

I had great pleasure on behalf of the Town Council, in presenting the Co-founder and Managing Director, Helen Yeadon, with a cheque for £928 which will go towards ongoing programmes.

girl-guiding-logoFriday, 26th February - Friday saw me in the wilds of Wiltshire along farm tracks, wandering around looking for Winkworth Farm whilst hoping I was not lost forever.  I was invited to the North Wilts Annual Awards and Celebration of Guiding and Achievements so, it was a relief when a glimmer of light appeared in the distance.  (More signs please).

I was greeted and made to feel very welcome.

The event was attended by Sir Mike Pitts and the Mayors of Malmesbury, Swindon and Chippenham along side Guides and their Leaders from around the county.  I was particulary proud when four young Guides from the Ogbourne St Goerge Unit, which is counted in the Marlborough division, went up for the Baden Powell Challenge Award - the highest award a Guide can achieve.  I was honoured to have a photo taken with them afterwards.  I have to be honest and say I knew little of the guiding movement in Wiltshire so to see so many dedicated Leaders go up for 10, 20 even 30 years' service awards was very impressive.  Sir Mike spoke with affection of his Skipper (Scouts) and camping days.  There was an interesting exhibition and I was shown a picture of the camping ground which is owned by the county.  We were also treated to some delicious hot chips served in cups and a large bowl of fruit.

So, I quote the Guiding promise which is something we all could aspire to for better communities and a better world to live in:

I promise that I will do my best
To be true to myself and develop my beliefs
To serve the Queen and my community
To help other people
To keep the Guide/Brownie Law

 

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March

greyhoundTuesday, 1st March - St David's day saw Cllr Hannaford-Dobson and myself being chauffeured to a visit of 4MI Battalion at Kiwi Barracks, Bulford. We were very warmly welcomed, given a tour of the building and introduced to a number of personnel. Col Matt Brown gave us an insight into the work and training of the Battalion, the ethos of 4MI as an intelligence unit and it's close connection with Marlborough.Brain Tumour Charity logo

I was presented with a cheque for £285 for my Mayoral Charity The Brain Tumour Charity raised by soldiers playing a football match, whom we enjoyed meeting. Also, Capt. Mickey Yendall who, alongside his team, hopes to fund raise through a 1,000 mile sports activity finishing up in Marlborough on 30th April, again in aid of my Charity.

I presented the 4MI Library with a collection of books on Wiltshire regiments and one about the Battle of Gallipoli which were well received. We had lunch in the new Sergeants' Mess and then went on to visit the Welfare Office Department and met many who support the Battalion before being safely chauffeured home by a delightful young soldier.

Prospect Third Party LogoWednesday, 2nd March - All Councillors were invited up to Savernake Hospital to tour the new Outreach Centre run by Prospect which had recently been opened by the Duchess of Cornwall. Over £300,000 was raised in a very short time by the community enabling this worthy project to go ahead. We were given an overview on how much it cost to run and what could be done to help often terminally ill patients. The unit offers a community room with a kitchen, an Occupational Therapist and counselling and therapy treatment rooms. We came away pleased that Savernake Hospital offers a new project enabling a secure future to a much loved building.

CClearn for the QueenSaturday, 5th March - Today saw the Youth Council, under the guidance of Cllr Lisa Farrell, work towards the Clean for the Queen campaign, a national initiative to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday. We all had a photo taken on Marlborough Town Hall steps before setting off down the High Street all armed with gripper gloves, plastic bags on hoops and tongs for picking up rubbish. We all became quite adept at picking up cigarette butts. Can I make a plea for all smokers to dispose of these in the right receptacle? There are a number of these attached to the bins in the High Street.

The youngsters entered into the spirit of it all with great enthusiasm. After the High Street, we carried on to the Recreation Ground and I left them as they made their way up the Salisbury Road to Tesco. I gather they were rewarded for their endeavours by cakes and cola back at the Town Council offices. From what we saw on our route round the town, it's clear that more certainly needs to be done to encourage everyone to take their litter home or bin it properly.

marlborough concert orchestra logoAfter attending a Memorial Service in the afternoon, I made my way to St Mary's Church in the evening to attend the Marlborough Concert Orchestra perform its Spring Concert. It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of Janet Tanner who played the violin, a founder member of the Orchestra and a former teacher at Marlborough College. The programme had overtures from Mozart, a symphony by Schubert and the programme ended with Johann Strauss and The Blue Danube which set all feet tapping.

On 3rd December, the Orchestra celebrates its 10th birthday with a special programme to include young international soloist, Irene Enzlin, cellist and Mathieu van Bellen, violinist, so a date not to be missed.

OldandNewTownCryerMonday, 7th March -  A very full start to the week. In the evening, we held a welcome ceremony in the Court Room for our new Town Cryer/Beadle, Michael Tupman, a former Special Constable. I gave a brief introduction of the history of this ancient position of the Town Cryer/Beadle recorded as going back to at least 1699. Our now retired Town Cryer, Alfie Johnson, handed over the bell and staff.

Michael gave a rendering of acceptance of the position which includes Ale Tasting in all the public houses in Marlborough. We feel very lucky to have someone with such a big personality who will grow into this position and become very much a part of Marlborough. He will soon become just like his predecessors who are depicted in the paintings in the Council Chamber. We now just wait for his distinguished outfit to be delivered.

We then retired to the Chamber for a Full Town Council Meeting where there was interest in staging a street party to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday. It was then on to Planning Meeting with discussions about the new school in Ducks Meadow. All in all, a long day for Councillors and Staff.

Thursday, 10th March - Today gave us the 34th Marlborough Brandt Group Annual Lent Lecture in Marlborough Town Hall which was given by Harriet Lamb, CBE, CEO of International Alert who was introduced by Lord Joffe, a leading member of the defence team in South Africa for Nelson Mandela 1963.

fairtrade-logoThe evening started with a reception and speech given by Alison Burden who has spearheaded the successful campaign towards Marlborough's Fairtrade status. I was presented with a certificate in recognition of the Town Council's support. In my acceptance speech, I said I was pleased to accept this as a sign of our ongoing support to the farming community around the world, aiming for a fairer world where everyone has an equal opportunity to work and make a living. I also praised Alison and her team for their perseverance which enabled all of this to come about. The Manager of Tesco in Marlborough, Nick Helps and Poppy, Community Co-ordinator from Waitrose, gave a perspective from a Supermarket's view.

Harriet Lamb's lecture was based on 'To Bomb or not to Bomb' - That is the Wrong Question!'. She talked with great knowledge, having worked with these countries with Fairtrade for many years.

Peace is when people are able to resolve their conflicts without violence and can work together to improve the qualities of their lives, everyone has fair and equal access to the basic needs for wellbeing such as food, clean water, shelter, education. Peace can only last when human rights are respected, where people can practice their own beliefs, where individuals and nations are free to live their lives in safety from oppression.

So, we have a long way to go before everyone around the world enjoys the freedom and equality that we take for granted in Marlborough.

Salisbury Cathedral attributedSunday, 13th March - Today was the Service for the Rule of Law in the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral. This is held to commemorate the Office of the High Sheriff which goes back over 1,000 years, its roots going back to Saxon Times. It's the oldest secular office under the Crown until when, in 1908 under the right of King Edward VI, the Office of the Lord Lieutenant became the Sovereign's personal representative in a county. Whilst the duties of the High Sheriff have evolved and reduced over the years to a mainly cermonial role, he or she still remains the Sovereign's representative in the county for all matters relating to the judiciary and the maintenance of law and order.

So, all of Wiltshire's Mayors processed into the Cathedral in their red robes and ceremonial chains leading onto the main aisle followed by the judiciary who looked very impressive in their High Court wigs and robes.

The service was very moving with a reading from Roman 13:1-10 read by the Hon. Mr Justice Dingemanns - "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities".

There was a reading from the Quran, some rousing hymns and we ended up singing the National Anthem before processing out to queue for a nice cup of tea and chocolate chip cookies!

mayorandladygoochSo we say goodbye to Lady Gooch who has done so much in her year, not only with youth groups, SPLASH and YAW but, supporting the Probation Service, the Royal Cadets, the Asian Women's Group and many others.

Here, I quote from Magna Carta 1215:

No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send other to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land

I would like to think this still works for us all today, that a man is innocent before being proved guilty but, sadly, I think not.

Commonwealth Day 2016 with flag captionedMonday, 14th March - We celebrated Commonwealth Day and Members of the Town Council met on the Town Hall steps, all holding the Commonwealth Flag. I then read a message from the Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, reiterating the bond that binds the Commonwealth of 53 countries and 2 billion people. The Commonwealth Charter asserts that everyone is equal, deserves respect whatever their status in life and seeks to build a better world.

Alan, our Caretaker, raced up to the roof top to fly the flag which fluttered proudly over our historic town on a beautiful spring morning.

 

shopmobbluerightWednesday 16th March - Wednesday evening saw many Councillors supporting the Shopmobility evening when traders from the High Street were invited to a reception with a welcoming glass of wine to learn about what the Town Council, the Area Board and the Mobility Shop are trying to achieve. It was to highlight Marlborough's committment to support disabled people in enabling them to shop in Marlborough.  This scheme is up and running in Salisbury very successfully. Sadly, the evening was not well attended.  I was asked to name 3 of the mobility scooters and now we have Henry, Bella and James, perhaps with Thomas the tank engine in mind - great fun they are too.

We are looking for volunteers to give a few hours a week to support this venture.

Victorian CemeterySunday 20th March 2016 - In the morning the Friends of the Victorian Cemetery met up.  It was a lovely day and we put in valuable time raking up old grass and digging up brambles.  The daffodils are beautiful so, do go and look. Sadly all the new bulbs that were planted have not materialised and the damage done by the contractors has not helped. However, in May we are invited to talk on wild flowers in churchyards and be presented with our first certificate for ongoing efforts. We also are discussing bees which is something important to work on. 

 

 

The Common daffs 2rWednesday 23rd March 2016 - A Common Users Group meeting in the Council Chamber with different groups coming together and discussing main issues on the use of the Common.  It's important to keep a fine balance of use and users and to protect and repair this beautiful piece of land which belongs to use all and is for everyone to enjoy.

As we now celebrate Easter and the start of new life, it is a great joy to see the fritillaries coming up and the daffodils in full bloom, a pure white heron feeding on the Kennet and the Kites flying over head.  I am reminded, in these troubled times, how blessed we are to live in Marlborough.  May I wish you all a peaceful Easter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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