Whitchurch Town Council

Mayor’s Report October 2015

Basingstoke Variety Show – 3rd October

By invitation of the Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Cllr Anne Court, we attended the Basingstoke Variety Show at the Anvil. A terrific line up of local talent entertained the packed auditorium. If the Mayoress and I had to choose the act which impressed us the most it would have to be the sparkling and unique display of dance and acrobatics performed using shopping trolleys by the Basingstoke Gang Show with their item entitled ‘Trolley Dash’. The massed choir made up from four Basingstoke town schools made a big impression on the audience with their two pieces which were sung by very enthusiastic youngsters who really enjoyed their singing. The show is an annual event organised to support the Mayor’s Charities which have this year been chosen as Inspero, Basingstoke Multicultural Forum and Ark Cancer Centre Charity.

Friends of Whitchurch Primary School AGM – 8th October

The invitation to attend the AGM of the Friends was a welcome one which I was privileged to accept.  I was made most welcome and after introductions sat down at the tables with the 20 ladies present. Some had been on the committee for some time and there were those who came along to get an insight into what the Friends are all about. The first aim of all that the Friends do is to benefit the 417 children at the school. We heard how the £23,085 raised during the last year was a record and would be used entirely for essential, not luxury items, such is the identified need. Following the Chair stepping down elections took place for the key positions of Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Secretary and saw all filled.  A strong committee of 10 was elected and on the way to another successful year.

Law Sunday Choral Matins at Winchester Cathedral – Sunday 11th October

The Mayoress and I attended Winchester Cathedral to celebrate Law Sunday, a service which honours those who serve to uphold the law of the land. It involved many from the legal profession, as well as Scouts, Guides and others representing various volunteer bodies across the county.  The High Sheriff of Hampshire, Lady Louisa Portal explained in the Order of Service that the office of the High Sheriff is over 1,000 years old, making it the oldest secular office in the land. Lady Portal also gave the first reading from Proverbs 8 vs 1-4 and 22-31. A very moving address by the Revd Paul Cowley MBE, it was testimony to how a man’s life can be completely changed when he gives his life to Jesus. Paul told of being expelled from school at 15, in prison by 16, married twice and having a son at 25 whom he disowned, how he fell into deep despair. Paul went to an evangelical church and heard the word of God, there he attended an Alpha course and gave his life to Jesus. Paul is now happily married with another child, re-united with his son and works in various prisons as a Chaplain, telling others about the total change in his life and witnessing to them the love of God.

A simple reception followed the service and gave Sandra and me the chance to meet and share with many familiar friends and to meet new folks involved in various aspects of public life.

Pumpkin Carving at the White Hart – 31st October

All was set for pumpkin carving under gazebos set up by the Festival Committee in the car park at the White Hart Hotel. Youngsters used their skill and imagination and some very different examples of pumpkin carvings were created. The pumpkins were judged by the Mayoress, Mr Graham Burgess and myself and the winner presented with a medal and a very cuddly Minion.

The Annual Firework Display

This was an amazing show, the fireworks were absolutely fantastic and equal to any others we have seen in the recent past.  Coupled with the usual 31st October event with its dressing up gave the Mayoress, Mr Graham Burgess and I an impossible task in trying to judge the winning fancy dress entries. Sandra and I found particular hope when the winners were so obvious and stood out with their quite pretty fairy dresses; two sisters and a friend waving their multi coloured wands won first prize. Second came a brightly dressed clown and third place was a particular favourite of Graham’s, a grown-up, highly decorated and lit up with fairy lights completed the line up. We spent some two hours mixing with all the many folk in the crowds that made it a true community event. Another successful event laid on by the hard working Festival Committee whom we thank most sincerely.

Barry J Jackman

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