Mayor’s Report May/June 2015
Celebrating 10 years – Wednesday 20th May
Following an invitation to the Whitchurch Toy Library, the Mayoress and I spent a very happy morning with the adults and children celebrating 10 years of service to families in Whitchurch. As well as the volunteers that had been there from the start, there were others who had helped and moved on and those that hopefully will be encouraged to join the weekly library, committee and helpers in keeping this most valuable asset running.
Supporting the World Wide Whitchurch event – Monday 1st June
By request we joined the team of committee member volunteers involved in the World Wide Whitchurch for a promotional photograph. The Andover Advertiser were running an article to promote what promises to be a fantastic weekend and another ‘first’ for Whitchurch Hampshire.
National Garden Scheme – Sunday 7th June
Bere Mill – the home of Mr Rupert Nabarro – was the venue for the National Gardens Open Scheme on the weekend 6th and 7th June. A lovely afternoon in bright sunshine we met many folks local and from far afield enjoying the lovely informal grounds at Bere Mill. It was a pleasure to meet Mr Nabarro who has a real heart for Bere Mill. The local branch of the Cats Protection League were serving tea and cake – how can one resist sitting and having tea in such wonderful surroundings with likeminded people who just love nature.
Children’s Bike Fun Event – Sunday 7th June
A visit to the Queen Elizabeth II Field saw around 20 children setting off crocodile fashion into and around the field on their bikes. This was the second Kids Bike Fun event run by volunteers organized as the Test Valley Cycle Club. It was great to see and experience the training of children in the safe use of bikes, this can only be a benefit in a town where the car is predominant. Lots of good advice on site, and experienced, qualified personnel on hand to carry out the essential bicycle safety checks. What a thrill for us to see one youngster who had come to the event with stabilisers on her bike, now riding confidently without them. The group are planning a regular monthly event which if today was anything to go by, will be a very popular meet.
Gardens Galore – Sunday 14th June
Two local gardens were open for the NGS over the weekend and we were asked to attend the lovely country garden at Tufton which is a very deceiving property, at the front one wonders what it is all about, walk around to the rear and it opens up to a labyrinth of secret gardens with something fresh at every turn.
The second garden was at Down Farm where we were welcomed by the owners to view a beautiful garden and property that just a few short years ago was dilapidated and in a pitiful state. We met and talked with both local people and visitors from far afield. It was good to see such support for this now looked forward to, season of open gardens.
Primary School Fete – Saturday 20th June
It is always a pleasure to support the primary school and on this occasion it was the summer fete. A lovely bright sunny afternoon and what an atmosphere, it was awash with families, doing what families do – enjoying themselves. There were some very innovative ways to raise money. The Mayoress and I tried most stalls, spent a small fortune, came home having adopted a teddy and bought more plants to put in the garden. Still the flowers will be a reminder during the summer of our wonderful visit where we were made most welcome.
Armed Forces Flag Day – Monday 22nd June
A trip to Basingstoke on a wet and dreary morning to the War Memorial Park to attend the wreath laying ceremony in commemoration to the Armed Forces personnel killed in action in the two World Wars. Wreaths were laid by the Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, the British Legion and the Royal Air Force and a short act of remembrance was conducted by the Mayor’s Chaplain Rev Kelvin Taylor, whose full text can be read on the notes attached to this report.
It was a fitting reminder of the sacrifice that men and women have made to secure our freedoms, and we should not forget. It was also a time at the reception afterwards to share with others who had attended the event.
Whitchurch Guide Pack – Wednesday 24th June
We were privileged to attend and present three of the Girl Guides with their Baden Powell Award certificates. They had worked hard to carry out various challenges and projects to complete all that was needed to gain the highest award possible in Guiding. The short ceremony was held at the Millennium Meadow where a combined meeting of the Brownies and Guides was the ideal venue for a BBQ, camp fire and a sing-song. It was a real pleasure to recognise those in leadership and the very important place that Guiding has in moulding and nurturing our young girls and women into their place in society.
Bere Hill and Wessex Lodge Nursing Home Fete – Saturday 27th June
On a bright afternoon we enjoyed sharing with the folks at Bere Hill. It was good to see such support for an important facility in Whitchurch. We shared in the varied activities for all ages and Sandra even helped on one of the unmanned stalls for a period. We also visited a couple of the local residents now permanently in the home. There was a real sense of it being a home and the care provided by staff was all apparent. A real fun afternoon raising money for further facilities in the form of a cinema room. we wished them every success in their efforts.
Fireman retires after 25 years’ service – Saturday 27th June
For 25 years local part time fire fighter Nick Turrill was on alert for that call to service day and night. He has finally hung up his boots and Sandra and I were honoured to be invited to join with Nick and his former colleagues and family and friends as he celebrated his “retirement” at the Longmeadow Sports and Social Club. As Nick retires, we should all be mindful of the sacrifices that fire fighters make to ensure that a professional and speedy response is in place in times of disaster.
Sowings for New Spring – Saturday 4th July
This unique event featured the unveiling of Sowings for New Spring textile art project which can now be seen on display in the ground floor public office. Meticulous planning for the unveiling event last Saturday ensured a seamless operation for the many dignitaries and honoured guests and others who attended. Whitchurch can be rightly proud of its lasting memorial to the Great War now for all to see and reflect upon in their own personal way.
Test Fest – Saturday 4th July
‘The first of what could become an annual event’ is what we heard from several people attending this fantastic and very popular event. Billed as for the pupils by the pupils we were not disappointed, for the talent was mind blowing. Led by a very popular music tutor Mr Lester, his students just shone. The nerves some of the students must have been suffering from in performing in the open air to a great crowd gathered certainly did not show. Exemplary was a word to be used in so many of the musical pieces. Expecting to stay for around an hour turned into over 4 hours, such was our enjoyment of what was pure student talent both in music and in dance.
Whitchurch Silk Mill Vintage Fair – Sunday 5th July
Having arrived, making our way to the marquee proved long drawn out as we met so many people who just wanted to chatter. Inside we discovered what we could only describe as the type of thing that up until we moved to our present home we could have surely found in our loft and garage. A leisurely wander around the stalls and out to the back of the Mill to listen to the live music, on into the tea rooms to enjoy more conversation with folks local and visitors from as far away as Birmingham. We enjoyed a welcome lunch which rounded off our visit to the fast becoming popular venue thanks to the enthusiasm of the Trustees chaired by our own Town Councillor Claire Isbester and the many volunteers, without them much would not happen in Whitchurch.
Barry J Jackman
Mayor of Whitchurch Town
6th July 2015