After 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.
Friday, 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.
Saturday, 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.
Monday 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!
Tuesday, 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.
Friday, 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.
Sunday, 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.
Friday, 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!
Saturday, 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.
Wednesday, 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 It'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.
Saturday 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, 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.
Sunday, 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.
Wednesday, 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!