End of the Line

Final Day of Town Mayor

I can’t believe it was a whole year ago when I was preparing for my Mayoral speech as the new Town Mayor for 2018/19.  I’d been getting a bit nervous as I’m not big on public speaking and was practising and altering my speech for weeks up until the evening of the Annual Town Meeting.  For the end of my Mayoral year it was quite different, I didn’t start thinking about my outgoing Mayors’ speech until Monday before the meeting Tuesday evening!  I think this is because there were so many occasions during the year where I was called upon to speak that after 12 months of doing it, I think I got so used to it, I wasn’t getting nervous anymore!  Now perhaps if I travel on aeroplanes more often, that will stop fazing me too…!

So the ahead of the meeting, I was met by Chris Brown and loads of the Militia at Allendale House for a guided ‘walk’ through town and up to the Town Hall.  Arriving just after 7pm, I thanked the Militia for all their help and support (and body guarding throughout the year) and went up to the Council Chamber.

The Militia

As usual by 7:30pm the Chamber was quite full – it’s the one meeting of the year where people do come to a Council meeting!  I started proceedings with my outgoing Mayoral speech which included thanking those people that have been very supportive of me this year.  They were Anthony Oliver, Chris Brown and the Militia – who have always been there for town events.  I then thanked the Town Clerk Laurence Hewitt and my secretary Shelagh Fuller and gave them each a small gift.

Next my Guide Milly and Scout Matthew came to the front of the room to accept a small gift and to return they’re special Mayoral ‘sash’ (to be passed on to the new Mayor’s equivalents).

Finally I asked a representative from each of my charities to come forward to accept a cheque each for equal amounts of £1301.54.  In addition to these contributions from the funds raised through a number of different fund raising activities this year, I have decided to donate further amounts from my Mayoral allowance to each of the charities for specific items that they would wish to buy as ‘nice to haves’ – taking the difficult decision making away from them about whether it’s okay to spend money on a particular thing (these types of decisions can be quite tricky for some charities).  I am also donating a sum to Radio Wimborne.

It has been a spectacular year – I highlighted the Armistice events as being the highlight of my year but there have been many more memorable events – I’m just glad I did this BLOG so that I can remember them!!

I have also enjoyed being Chairman of the Council. I haven’t talked much about the Chairman role in this BLOG as this was really about the Mayoral side of the role, but being Chairman is time consuming and can be quite challenging too.  I kept a log of time spent on Council activities throughout the year and it was averaging out to about 15-20hrs pw.  But some weeks it could be quite a bit more than that!  I hope to get some more time back in my life for a while though I was pleased to have been elected Vice Chairman and Deputy Mayor for this coming year.   I hope to be able to carry on working on projects that are ongoing to provide that consistency of support to the Council and officers – as well as other Councillors.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my BLOG this year and it’s given you some insight to the life of a Councillor and Chairman of the Council!  Please do get in touch via my Facebook page if you have any questions or feedback and thanks for reading!

As Deputy Mayor!

 


Southern England Town Crier Competition

Our Town Crier

 

The Criers

Our very own Town Crier (and newly appointed Freeman of the Town), Chris Brown, had been organising this competition for about 2 years!  It’s always a worry with outside, events whether the weather will hold up.  Well it did just about on bank holiday Monday 6th May (although we’re advised that it was the coldest May bank holiday since records began)!  It was sunny and cloudy but with a bitterly cold wind.  Still it was dry so no one was complaining (too much).

I was invited to the Allendale Centre to do the draw of the order in which Town Criers would do their ‘cry’.  We did that at 10:30 and shortly afterwards were processing across to the Square following the Dorset Youth Marching Band.  Myself and Chris Brown behind the Militia and the rest of the Criers following behind (the Militia helping to stop the traffic as we crossed Hanham Road).  I didn’t wear my robe as I thought I would get mistaken for a crier!

The all important draw

Processing

In fine voice

Chris didn’t take part in the competition – well it would be bad form for the host to win!  Judges were lined up to score each one against the volume, diction and content of their cry.  There were also categories for best dressed.  So round 1 started about 11:30 and lasted about 45 minutes.  Each Town Crier doing a witty number on the joys of their own town(s).

Then after lunch, Round 2 was a free format cry where they could choose anything they liked!  Some of these were hilarious, some quite touching.

Finely dressed

The winner was declared as the Dorchester Town Crier  Alistair Chisholm -he’s got ‘form’ as a previous winner on more than one occasion.

Prizes and cups were awarded at the end – I was able to do the honors as Chris made the announcements.  What a super day – again, in town with a fantastic atmosphere and so many people watching, well done Chris and well done Wimborne!

Simon Wheeler of DYMB

 


Town Mayor’s Civic Service / Reception

2018/19 Chain Gang

At some point in the Civic year of a Town Mayor, a Civic Service or Reception is held.  This may be organised by the Mayor and Town/Parish office, or in some cases, entirely by a church and the Mayor is then invited along.  I’ve seen both this year and understood the benefits of each.  The ‘Service’ is usually a Church Service and a Reception is often more of a social gathering where visiting dignitaries are shown around the area little and/or invited for refreshments and to meet some local groups and volunteers.  A little annual celebration of the good work that goes on in the vicinity.

I was lucky in so far as my Civic Service was scheduled towards the end of my Civic year, so it allowed for the opportunity to get to know fellow Mayor’s around Dorset (and sometimes beyond) but most importantly, to get to know the local groups, volunteers and charities that do so much good work in our area – not always in our own town but may still benefit the people of Wimborne Minster.

Since 2019 saw the end of East Dorset District Council (with LGR meaning a new larger ‘Dorset Council’ coming into being on the 1st May), there was already a Civic Service taking place in March at the Minster (where Wimborne Minster’s Town Mayor usually has their service), by the outgoing Chairman of East Dorset District Council Cllr Toni Coombs (well we have the best church in East Dorset, of course that would be the location)!!  Well I was keen to offer something different to the visiting dignitaries since they make the effort in some cases to come so far to attend.   I wanted to really showcase our fantastic groups and volunteers to make sure local people were aware of them but also for those visitors that didn’t know – and I really thought that they ought to!

We booked the Allendale Centre’s Minster Hall (being one of my charities this year it was quite fitting).  The local dignitaries were invited, along with representatives from local groups and my charities.  The event was also open to the public – subject to numbers.

Arriving and welcoming guests

DYMB!

Whilst waiting for people to arrive, the Dorset Youth Marching Band played outside to welcome them as they walked through the Militia’s Guard of Honor at the door to the centre and the Wimborne Orchestra played beautiful music on stage as people had their welcome drinks.

The event was designed around pre recorded interviews (kindly put together by Wimborne Movie Makers), where I sat (Parkinson style), with a representative from the various groups that really inspired me this year and who I felt important to publicise.  They were Radio Wimborne, the Allendale Centre, Allendale House, Dreamboats, Wimborne in Bloom, Wimborne Dementia Friendly (including the allotments up at Kingston Lacy) and the Wimborne Band (AKA The Dorset Youth Marching Band).  The interviews were shown on the big screen (that was a bit scary  -seeing your own face that big)!!  It was compered by Jason Dean of Radio Wimborne with live chats on stage from Cllr David Morgan about the exciting plans that the Priest’s House Museum have with their very large Heritage Lottery Fund grant (and other funds raised).  David Macintosh was also invited to talk about the immediate future at the Dorset Council.

I was very honored at the end to say a few words and invite our Town Crier Chris Brown to the stage for a special thank you.  We managed to keep a surprise from him, which was the Council had voted just the Friday before, to award Chris with the honorary title of Freeman of the Town.  For once he was speechless as I handed over a special scroll to commemorate the occasion!

A new Freeman for the Town

Refreshments were served after the ‘service’ and the orchestra played as people chatted.

What a fabulous round up to my Mayoral year!  The DYMB band played for a while outside until the Militia were ready to do their ‘thing’!  A few volleys were set off (some not quite going to plan as is often the case with the old muskets)!  But it was a truly splendid occasion which made me very proud to be in that privileged position not just for that day but for the whole year!

Waiting for the bang!

And there it is!

 

 

Thank you to everyone that came and showed support and to all the contributors to the filming and the specially created Gluten Free food from No9 Bakery!

I hope to upload the film very soon.

 

 


St George’s Day

Selling Roses

 

‘Tis tradition in Wimborne Minster to see the Town Mayor, Town Crier and the Militia (plus Freeman Anthony Oliver), out and about in town – with perhaps a dragon, to celebrate St George’s day by selling roses for charity.

Tuesday the 23rd April 2019 was quite a warm day in town so there were plenty of people milling about – many of them buying beautiful red roses from us at £2.50 a go!  A bargain compared to retail prices.

All of the money raised – £270.50 goes to my charities this year and a contribution to the wonderful town Militia for their support.

Thanks to all those that contributed (some without taking the actual roses)!

And please don’t worry that St George wasn’t actually from England – many countries choose a saint that represents the values and qualities that the country aspires to and St George was the saint our king at the time chose – simple!

On the countdown now to the last few Mayoral engagements!


Ferndown Civic Day

Chain Gang

The Town Mayor of Ferndown Cllr Mrs Jean Read had her Civic Day towards the end of the Mayoral year, so the Chain gang are pretty much familiar with each other by now, making the whole thing a lot of fun.  On Tuesday 16th April we were invited to Ferndown to see their community centre – where we started with welcome teas and coffee, visited their youth centre as well as local special needs farm High Mead and had a lovely lunch at the Dudsbury Golf Club.

The rainy start to the day eventually dried up after lunch – but not before we had to get our wellies out to get off the coach onto the farm!  What a super place with brilliant staff and volunteers – and loads of interesting animals.

Goat!

 

This goat was very photogenic, I couldn’t resist.  But there were so many interesting animals including chicks, pigs, ponies, donkeys and llamas – probably more too that we didn’t see.  The farm also have a craft workshop and soon they hope to have a tea shop too.  People can get involved in projects on the farm and come from all over – or you can just pop into buy some produce – find out more here.

Interesting sculptures – with the Farm Manager

Llamas

After the farm we had a short tour of one of the largest industrial estates in Dorset and got a potted history of it from the BID Manager Kevin Poulton.  There aren’t many Industrial Estate BIDs in the country so that was interesting in itself.  We were hosted on site by famous brand name Caterpillar who have a marine site there.  After a talk on the history of the company, we had a tour of the ‘shop floor’.  It’s so interesting that such industry goes on behind closed doors.  So many employment opportunities right on our doorstep – and they believe in apprenticeships!

At Caterpillar

 

Getting the history of Caterpillar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a super lunch at Dudsbury we headed off back to Ferndown to see their Youth facility which they took on after Dorset County Council closed it due to lack of funding.  Ferndown Town Council have done a great job at replacing that funding and carrying on a much needed facility in the area – well done!


A Record Day!

Being interviewed by Glen from Radio Wimborne with Malcolm Angel owner of Square Records

Saturday 13th April is Independent Record Store day and since we have one of the very few in the country – and a very popular one at that – it was a busy day in town!

Not only was there a special charity event on the Minster Green in aid of the Wimborne Food Bank (put on by No9 Bakery), but there was also the Buskers Bash event which has become a bit of a tradition in town.  The Town Crier was out over seeing proceedings and Radio Wimborne’s mobile studio was outside the Minster compering the charity event too.

Radio Wimborne on site

There was such a lovely atmosphere with loads of people in town.

The queue for the record store started on Thursday night and wound around the High Street corner into East Street.  Special releases are put out to the independent stores in advance of the day, so very keen enthusiasts who are happy to camp outside shops, will make it their business to be in the right place at the right time to get a rare and sought after special edition.

In the record store

Square Records has been in Wimborne Minster for many years and has a serious following, last year it was at risk of closure – and even got a mention on Radio 4!  Luckily the owners of Gullivers Bookshop came along and took over the business and moved it just along the road to a new shop with a new image and the success continues!


Bowls Fun!

Opening Day!

It is tradition that the Town Mayor bowls the first wood when the Bowling club opens for the season!  Saturday 13th April was set for the grand opening.  Well it was a first for me!  Never bowled before (without bumpers and skittles to knock down anyway)!

The day was actually dry and quite bright after some horrid rainy days before but quite chilly too.  I believe these events have been rained off in the past so I’m not complaining.

I was invited first to have a sit down lunch with all of the Members – meeting the club sponsors on our table.  I talked to various members about the club and facilities and generally how much fun they have!

After lunch it was on to serious business.  A special mat was put down for me to stand on (you have to look after that very flat, even, green grass)!  I had a quick lesson on how the ‘balls’ are weighted and how to hold and throw them.  And I think I did okay with the first throw since someone shouted ‘sign her up’ when it stopped rolling eventually!  I think I must have to about 2 ft of the little white ball – not bad for a first attempt I think.

My first even bowl

There was then a game of ‘spider’ which is when a faux spider is situated in the middle of the green and all members stand around the edge and aim for it!  The closest wins a prize (in this case, a bottle of whisky).

The spider

It really was great fun and obviously a great place to socialise – if you fancy finding out more, see here for details.  Thanks so much to everyone at the club for looking after me.

In the clubhouse

 


An unexpected Funeral

Maureen Lewis

Nearing the end of what has been a very special year as Mayor of Wimborne Minster, my brothers and I very suddenly and without warning, lost our Mum on 14th March.

Having made so many friends through the year, I was so honoured that Reverand Rowland was happy to have the funeral service at the Minster, which she would have loved – the bells rang for her for half an hour before the 2:30hrs service.  She would have loved the Militia who came – and fired a shot at the end.  And she would absolutely have loved the Town Crier putting together a special cry just for her – which he did very clear and loud (you’d expect no less from Chris Brown).

Douch & Small were very good – thanks Amy.  And thanks to Tom Scrase who agreed to be discrete and take these photos for me.  I wanted to be able to look back, at times of shock – your memory can play tricks on you!  It has on my anyway – I have lost chunks of time (anyone know a good hypnotist?)!

The service was lovely and whilst naturally sad, it was definitely a celebration of her life.  My brothers and I each spoke about our Mum and Mollie, one of her grand daughters, spoke of behalf of all the Grandchildren.  My two youngest each played a piece on the piano for her (Mum loved listening to them practice).

 

After the service, there was a private committal at Poole Crematorium that Rev Rowland attended to finish the service.  That was tough.

We then went back to the Royal British Legion for the wake.

What a day, what a funeral, what a way to say good bye – she’d have loved it!


Commonwealth Day

Reading the Speech

Commonwealth Day – 11th March, it is traditional for the Town Mayor to raise the Commonwealth flag at the Royal British Legion in West Borough.  A speech is put online from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to be read out across the Country at 11am on the day.  This year’s theme was ‘A Connected Commonwealth’.   There certainly appeared to be an essence of ‘Brexit’ in the mix – but maybe we see that everywhere at the moment!

A number of the RBL staff attended as did some Town Councillors.  The actual raising of the flag can be a bit tricky (I remember one year, it got stuck), so all precautions were taken and an expert from the RBL did the honours for me after the speech.

A windy day for a flag!


Fair Trade Week

On the Smoothie bike

Fairtrade fortnight kicks off in March and the lovely committee volunteers put on a bit of ‘do’ at the Minster to raise the profile of the fact that we are a Fairtrade town and to give people information on what it means and how they can support it!

In the Minster there were a few stalls offering products all made with Fairtrade materials and ingredients – lots of yummy cake!  Wimborne War on Waster had a stall with ‘plastic’ alternatives.

Cllr Hymers

During the morning there had been musical entertainment, including a local school’s Steel Band.

Of course the famous Wimborne Smoothie bike was on show – I had to have a go – but didn’t actually make a smoothie (too energetic – and I’m dairy free)!

 

Well done to all involved!