March started with bad weather disrupting activities as had happened in February, the Fairtrade event scheduled for the 2nd was cancelled. That weekend also saw the horrible news of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, an event which caused ripples around the world.
The following weekend, on Sunday 11th March, the Mayoress and I travelled to Salisbury to attend the Rule of Law Service in Salisbury Cathedral, where we joined a procession of High Sheriffs, Mayors, Judges and other dignitaries. The service had a particular poignancy, this year, due to the events of the previous weekend.
On Monday the 12th it was Commonwealth Day, which is remembered by the reading of a message from the Secretary General from the steps of the Town Hall and the raising of the Commonwealth flag.
Friday 16th saw a number of us go out litter picking around the Salisbury Road area, where we picked up several sacks full of litter which, with the reductions in service from Wiltshire Council, would probably never get cleared without the efforts of volunteers.
Later that day it was the Mayor’s Charity Lecture, something that I had been working on for some time. I had been thinking hard about what to do as a charity fundraiser this year when the opportunity arose to put on a lecture and Michael Hart very kindly agreed to give his lecture “The Awkward Place of WW1 in German History”. The event, in the Town Hall, was very well attended and was a fascinating talk. We also raised over £920 for the Mayor’s Charity Fund, which will be divided between Julia’s House and Home Start Kennet at the end of the Mayoral Year.
On Thursday 22nd I found myself wearing waders and standing in a very cold River Kennet as groups of children, from St Mary’s School, joined me in the river to release trout, which they had worked very hard rearing in tanks in their classrooms. Then it was quickly off with the waders and off to the Town Hall to chair a meeting, the much-varied life of a Town Mayor!
We were very lucky to be asked to an excellent choral concert on Saturday 24th, which was a performance of J S Bach’s St Matthew Passion in the chapel at Marlborough College. This magnificent work was performed by the combined choral societies of Swindon and Bracknell the Chamber Group Musica Poetica and professional soloists. The performers almost outnumbered the audience for this performance, which sounded incredible.
I finished off this month by becoming a tourist guide on Wednesday 28th when I showed a party of over 30 around the Town Hall as part of their tour around Marlborough. I think that tourism is a future source of expansion for Marlborough’s economy, something that we need to adapt for.