Whitchurch Town Council

Mayor’s Report – February/March 2016

Youth Options Awards Presentation Evening – Thursday 11th February

A journey to Crosfield Hall in Romsey to the venue for the awards presentation evening for Youth Options was, as usual, well worth the journey. The welcome from Chairman Mike Gretton was short, with an overview of another past successful year, with a special mention of the 25 years service of the Chief Executive Mark Dixon. Funding as with most organisations is a challenge which Youth Options have been particularly successful with looking forward to the year ahead.

The remainder of the evening was ably led by the young people themselves and highlighted the many activities carried out in the past year. Individual and group awards were made and received with much excitement. Several young people who had engaged on the programs spoke of being changed characters. At the start they had been shy, nervous and reserved and were now confident, outgoing and happy to the point of being able to share their experiences with all who attended this event. The most moving element of the evening was a short but very powerful film on child exploitation made by several of the young people from personal experiences.

Planting the Whitchurch OakSaturday 13th February

Planting the Whitchurch Oak

Willing helpers to plant the Whitchurch Oak

It was on a wet morning that committee members of the Daniel Field met with Graham Burgess to plant the Whitchurch Oak as part of Graham’s Whitchurch Forest initiative. An English oak planted in every Whitchurch in the country is the aim and the one in Whitchurch, Hampshire the most important as this is where it all started. The weather favoured ideal ground conditions and ensured the best start for a tree that will be admired in future generations.

Whitchurch History Society AGM – Tuesday 1st March

The AGM chaired by Mr John Mariner was well attended and a full committee appointed to serve for another year. The evening was made very special when Hector Goldsack presented one of his films of Whitchurch to the obvious delight of those present. These films are always of interest and it seems no matter how many times they are shown, it is never enough as various people present seem to find and point out something or somebody new during every showing. It is good to look forward but also to gain experience from viewing the past from time to time.

Clean for The Queen – Saturday 5th March

Clean for The Queen event

The Mayor and Scouts litter-picking in the rain

This weekend had been designated as ‘Clean for The Queen’ weekend when groups and individuals all over the country went on a clean-up of their community. Whitchurch Hampshire was no exception – in fact members of the Walkers are Welcome group here were out on all three days around the perimeter of the town and collected many bags of rubbish as well as larger items earmarked for later collection by BDBC. I went out with youngsters from the local Scout Group litter picking both morning and afternoon as part of their community badge work.  We got very wet towards the end of the afternoon but Whitchurch centre looked a lot tidier as did the footpaths and streets around Whitchurch, thanks again to all the volunteers.

Book launch – Joanna’s Teddy – Saturday 5th March

Author of Joanna's Teddy

Mayor and Mayoress with Annie Wallace (L) and her daughter

The tea room at Whitchurch Silk Mill was a lovely venue where the Mayoress and I met Antoinette Wallace (‘Annie’) as the author of this wonderful children’s book when she read to assembled children and those adults who could easily be described as young at heart.  A story of such a real-life situation, written with feeling and emotion, compels the reader to be the child character. Having made a mistake and fallen out with a best friend, then through the path of seeking forgiveness and finally being forgiven. I can only say one thing; keep on writing Annie, this I trust will be the first of many.

Townswomen’s Guild AGM – Thursday 10th March

A very happy and welcoming group of ladies met me at the Parish Hall as I joined them for their AGM.  I learnt of all the activities and heard details of just one or two of the speakers that have entertained and taught the group of ladies so much in the past year. Looking forward we heard of all that is to take place here in Whitchurch and further afield as part of the organisation throughout the south.

Community Lunch – Thursday 10th March

This event was arranged by Revd Kelvin Inglis for leaders within the community to share lunch at the Gill Nethercott Centre. During the buffet lunch each organisation was given time to introduce themselves and the organisations they presented to the group and then time given to network. A very useful event where new contacts were made and existing ones strengthened.

Rising Fives visit to the Town Hall – Thursday 17th March

It was with great pleasure that the Mayoress and I welcomed to the Town Hall a group of very excited children from the Rising Fives pre-school. They explored the Council Chamber and then took their seats to experience a formal meeting; the aim of the meeting was to have a vote on the preference of a chocolate Easter bunny or Easter egg. Their young minds could not decide as they eagerly and wisely put their hands up for both. We read a story to them and their visit culminated in each of them wanting to bang the gavel. I am not sure who was more excited at the visit, them, or us!

Visit to Oak Tree nursery and pre-school – Thursday 17th March

What was a belated but much looked forward to visit to the Oak Tree nursery at Bere Hill proved to be worth waiting for. Sandra and I read a book to two groups of children who eagerly and loudly joined in. The book reading was followed by each child standing on a chair and trying on the Mayoral robes and chains and having their photographs taken. We finally joined in the activities outside as children went about their usual routines. It is without a doubt, following contact today with two of the childcare facilities in Whitchurch, that our young children are in good safe hands.

Whitchurch Tennis Club AGM – Thursday 17th March

I joined the Whitchurch Tennis Club for their AGM at the White Hart Hotel on a cold wet evening. I was made very welcome by the Chairman and Committee of the club. It is without question that the enthusiasm with which the various sections of the club gave their reports of a successful season shows that they are looking forward with excitement to the challenges faced this coming season. Their facility at Laverstoke is ideal and improvements are taking place as time allows with working parties arranged to ensure the courts and surrounding areas are ready for the start.  It was a great privilege to be a small encouragement to another important community group who made me so welcome.

Unveiling of Angels Corner – Sunday 20th March

Angels Corner Dedication

This was the culmination to a very wonderful project to erect a memorial for those who had experienced still births.  A place created in the town cemetery for those to come and reflect on their particular loss. A dedication service led by our local vicar at which Mr Ron Cook, who had initiated the idea, spoke of his part and I was privileged to unveil the memorial.

Good Friday United Church Service – Friday 25th March

For me as a Christian, Good Friday is the most important in my calendar as I remember Christ died for me. The Methodist Church was the venue for this united Baptist/Methodist service when the congregations joined together to re-enact the death of Jesus on the cross. It was a very moving service as we heard how Jesus, a man without sin was persecuted and nailed to a cross. A sombre day but as a Christian we can look forward to Easter Day and the resurrection.

Whitchurch Business Network – Wednesday 30th March

I met with several businessmen at The Silk Mill for breakfast.  I had hoped to see and share with local businessmen from the town centre and the industrial estate and maybe learn about the interaction between local businesses, transport issues and residents living in Whitchurch. However it was an interesting morning – Mr George Oakham spoke to us about positive thinking and how it can affect business and our personal lives. They say you learn something new every day and today was no exception.

Friends of Whitchurch Silk Mill Coffee Morning – Wednesday 30th March

What was billed as an hour sharing with the various friends of Whitchurch Silk Mill was such a useful time and for me turned into a councillor surgery and lasted for two and a half hours. I would not have missed it for the world. I came away having discussed so many local issues and have suggested to some I spoke to that they should join me on the local Council.

Cllr Barry J Jackman
Chairman and Mayor
Whitchurch Town Council

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