Monday, 1st June. The month started with a Planning meeting with a difference as we were filmed and recorded. There were difficult decisions to be made about a road closure for the Jazz Festival. Sadly, there was no compromise this year.
Then followed the Amenities and Open Spaces Committee which has responsibilities for all Town Council-owned open spaces where we rely on Richard, our Grounds and Estates Manager, to keep us updated. This covers a wide spectrum from maintaining children’s play areas to planting beautiful flower troughs in the High St as well as the maintenance of Cooper’s and Stonebridge Meadows.
On Tuesday, 2nd June, I went to Lydiard House at the invitation of The Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Troughton. The event focused on ‘Cadets in the Community.’ This highlighted the important benefits that young cadets and their adult instructors bring to the community and employers. Speakers included Col Mark Nash, Commandant Wiltshire ACF who had formerly been attached to 4MI, the Battalion with which Marlborough is closely connected.
It was also a huge pleasure to send warmest congratulations to Col and Mrs Napier on their 70th Wedding Anniversary. I do hope that they had a wonderful celebration with family and friends and have many more years enjoyable marriage ahead.
Wednesday, 3rd June. Today, I chaired the Marlborough Christmas Lights Switch On meeting and it always staggers me how much has to be put in place to get an event like this off the ground so that everyone has a good time and feels safe.
Wednesday, 4th June. A Marlborough in Bloom meeting. What seems like a genteel group is actually packed with people of steely determination all striving to do well in this year’s competition. We are looking to everyone to support us in making Marlborough a winner.
Sunday, 7th June. Today was the Mencap Summer Party at Kennet Valley Hall with a rounders match with no known rules. This was played with great enthusiasm and gave great pleasure to all who played, the Mayor getting a cheer when she actually managed to hit the ball! Cllr Alec Light was a splendid bowler. As President, I gave the presentation to Mrs Jenny Smithers and Cllr Bryan Castle for their dedication to Mencap members over many years. I also presented a prize tankard to the winning team. Afterwards, we were served a delicious tea, partly sponsored by Tesco. Sarah Hart, Tesco’s Community Champion is taking over as Mencap’s Secretary was very hands on. Manager, Nick Helps, was also there and he had cycled from Chippenham to join us. The sun shone and the loving care that the minders gave to their charges all helped to make the day special for them and us. The memory of this happy day will stay with me.
This is a community working at its best - To labour and not to ask for any reward.
Sunday, 14th June. It was all go with the ongoing Victorian Cemetery tidy up. We are a small loyal group with Anne providing cakes for refreshment. I find the whole atmosphere very therapeutic and we all enjoy each other’s company and our achievements. Then it was back home as my own garden was open to the public to raise money for the Church. Next was a Civic Service in the beautiful Malmesbury Abbey where Wiltshire’s Mayors paraded in with the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, the High Sherriff, Lady Gooch and local MP, James Gray. The choir sang the Coronation Anthem ‘I was Glad.’ The sermon was given by a Lay Preacher - a local vet.
Monday, 15th June. Magna Carta – The Great Charter. This was Wiltshire Council celebrating the 800th anniversary of the sealing of this famously important document. Enormous Barons from towns all over the county descended on Salisbury. There was a splendid reception in the Guildhall and afterwards we were invited to join the parade. The Baron heads and costumes were mostly painted by Wiltshire’s schools and colleges and were magnificent with each town putting in their own personal artistic touch. As Mayor, I led our town group with painted banners depicting scenes from all around Marlborough. Our own Baron, influenced by Merlin, was designed and painted by students from St John’s Academy. How talented the young people of Marlborough are.
We listened to a dialogue, beautifully read, about what Magna Carta stood for and its importance even in our lives today. This Magna Carta document has never left Wiltshire and is in the prized possession of Salisbury Cathedral where it can be viewed by everyone.
The evening ended with a very large Baron lighting a fire work display - a spectacular flame of wild horses and other displays emerging from the fire.
This was an event I shall never forget. I was very proud to represent Marlborough as its Mayor and be part of this historic event. My congratulation go to Jane Scott, Leader of Wiltshire Council and her team together with Salisbury City Council for their hospitality.
On Saturday, 27th June, I had great pleasure attending The Marlborough Concert Orchestra’s Summer Concert where its enthusiastic conductor, Roselise Gentile, spurred the orchestra on to give of their best. The pieces of music played were varied and challenging.
On Sunday, 28th June, I went to Trowbridge to the Wiltshire Armed Forces and Veterans Celebrations. We were met at the car park and escorted around Trowbridge Park to view all the WW2 exhibits with each group presenting with pride. I watched the start up of the Spitfire and there was many a tear in the old RAF Veterans’ eyes. The hospitality was generous and we ended the day with The Rev Tony Gilbert, Wg Cdr, Ret’dtaking the service with the collection going to the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Wednesday, 1st July. I was invited to The Marlborough Brandt Group’s AGM where Director, Dr Nick Maurice, gave a rousing speech. Gambian members of the MBG partner organisation, the Kombo Sillah Association, based in Bristol were there as well as students from Marlborough College and St John’s Academy. A thought provoking address was given by Dr Isatou Touray of Gamcotrap on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This sensitive issue cannot be swept under the carpet but, has to be an ongoing campaign through education to communities to overcome the prejudice of tradition.
Thursday, 2nd July. I was invited along to the Marlborough Scout Group’s AGM and listened to a talk on Child Sex Exploitation (CSE). There were also two young scouts, Megan and Mel, giving a preview of their forthcoming trip to Japan for a Scout Jamboree. What fabulous work our scouts and their leaders do.
Friday, 3rd July. Alongside fellow Councillors, members of staff and a representative from the police, the Mayor’s Chaplain, Dr David Campbell and I read prayers. We stood for 1 minute’s silence in respect of those victims of the terrorist attack in Tunisia the week before. The flag was flown at half mast.
Sunday, 5th July. We had been gearing-up for Alice’s Enchanted Picnic for weeks. This took place in Priory Gardens and was to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lewis Caroll writing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I made a Herald Rabbit and he stood at the entrance looking very regal!
The weather was kind to us and a large crowd gathered - Mums, Dads and Grannies too. All watched wonderful performances from the Marlborough Academy of Dance and Drama. The younger students danced as little white rabbits and the older ones gave us an interpretation of the lost Alice through jazz dance.
Anna Friend, our Artistic Director, co-produced the whole event with MTC. Her enthusiasm enabled her drama students to enter into the spirit of the Lewis Carroll story. They wore amazing costumes which really portrayed their individual characters as they mingled with picnickers and enjoyed the occasion. Wilton lent us some beautiful painted boards of Alice scenes which all helped to create the perfect atmosphere. Cllr Alexander Kirk Wilson and Richard Jones, one of our MTC groundsmen, wore white rabbit suits and collected money for the Mayor’s Charity.
We appreciated all support given us, particularly the sponsorship from Tesco, all of which helped to make Alice’s Enchanted Picnic such an enjoyable community and family day.
Monday, 6th July saw a Marlborough in Bloom community clear-up day where I with other volunteers pruned roses, hoed weeds in the Priory Gardens, and weeded cobbles in Patten Alley and litter picked throughout the town.
Wednesday, 8th July gave us a walk around Cooper’s Meadow with the new User’s Group. We took on board views and suggested improvements to the area, while looking too to protect the habitat of the water vole, a protected species.
Tuesday, 14th July. We all stood on the Town Hall steps waiting for the South West in Bloom judges, Jane Pagano and Kim Parish, to arrive. They were greeted with the Town Crier's welcoming voice ringing in everyone's ears and the bells of St Mary's also adding to the day's excitement.
The judges watched a photographic presentation by Eric Gilbert and listened to a running commentary by our Town Clerk about all the community work going on in Marlborough and its beautiful areas, with the High Street leading the way with its colourful baskets and tubs. The judges were then escorted around Marlborough by Anne and our Grounds and Estates Manager, Richard Beale.
With our In Bloom Chairman, Anne Crawley, dressed all in lemon and your Mayor in lime, citrus colours were the in-vogue colours for this year's theme. The little citrus touches in shop windows encouraged by new committee member, Diana Cooper, were evident. One shopper was overheard commenting that the shops certainly like citrus coloured clothing! Lots of window displays included small bouquets of flowers and bowls of lemons too.
A special champagne lunch was generously donated by the Polly Tearooms and a vintage Rolls Royce, complete with chauffeur, drove the judges on to see the It's Your Neighbourhood projects.
It was a fine day and the judges enjoyed seeing what Marlborough in Bloom was capable of achieving with community involvement. It only leaves me with judging the childrens' paintings from St Peter's school.
We are all now waiting until 24th September to hear what our efforts have scored.
Friday 17th July My Mace Bearers escorted me to the Castle & Ball to join the celebrations and opening of this year's International Jazz Festival. Councillor Nick Fogg welcomed everyone, and my Chaplain, Rev Dr David Campbell, offered up a prayer which sounded very much like a song, cleverly using the words from a well known ABBA song! The BBC's Young Jazz Musician of the Year, Alexander Bone, officially opened the event and St John's Academy Jazz Band played too, which was appreciated by all.
In the evening I enjoyed a reception in the magnificent garden at the Merchant's House hosted by Wiltshire Life.
Thursday, 30 July - The Mayor’s Team versus Marlborough Cricket Club.
The Mayor’s team arrived slightly shambolic but, enthusiastic on a lovely summer evening at Marlborough Cricket Club and ready to take on the opposing team.
Some team members arrived without any cricket gear, one Councillor looking as if he had just stepped out from the Indian Raj and (I suspect) neither one having much knowledge on how to play or the rules of the game.
We were fortunate to have 2 members from 4MI Battalion to add gravitas and give some format to the batting order. The opposition were in first and we made some fine catches but their hitting prowess proved to be too good and they soon chalked up runs which was never going to be easy to beat.
Cllr Cook, when he could find some pads that actually fitted him, managed to hit a respectable 6 and avoided having his teeth knocked out from flying balls. We had hoped to have put Cllr Kirk Wilson in as the night watchman but, as he was bowled out in style for a duck it was not to be. The Marlborough Club team played very well and deserved their win. The game was played in good spirit and I presented the cup and thanked Marlborough Cricket Club for their invitation asking for 3 cheers for the Mayor’s Team who had played to the best of their ability.