Keeping the Mayor out of mischief
This month, I have two events I want to tell you about in particular!
First, at the beginning of October, there was the annual Mop Fair in Tewkesbury. To tell you the truth, I do not think I have been to a fair since my school days, and I wasn’t at all sure about this appointment!
I was told very firmly that it was my job to share in the opening of the fair along with the mayor of Tewkesbury Town. And, do you know, I am very glad that I was able to take part. So, with all my regalia, and accompanied by my mace bearers and Christine (the Mayoress), we processed from Tewkesbury Abbey to the Cross for the brief opening ceremony, during which we remembered the show people who had died in the service of our country. We rang the bell, I shouted ‘The fair is opened’, and then made straight for the dodgems. Oh look, there are other councillors on the dodgems – can I knock some sense into them?
It was a great, good-natured afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed myself having a go on some of the rides, and watching with delight as people I knew were whisked away on heart-stopping rides.
I had a wonderful time and I loved the good-tempered crowd. It was a huge pleasure to chat to so many people. If you went along to the fair, I hope you had a really good time as well.
Did you know that there is a Tewkesbury Fair Society that has as its aim ‘to stand as a voice in safeguarding the tradition of Tewkesbury’s ancient street Mop fair and its Royal Charters, first given to the town by King John in 1199’?
After we had toured and sampled the rides, we returned to the Abbey, where there was a splendid buffet meal and the showmen presented the Town Mayor and me with very handsome cheques for our charities. My chosen charity is to support the food banks in Tewkesbury Borough. We were also given a lovely commemorative certificate by Future4Fairgrounds, celebrating the links between the Mop Fair and the town and borough.
The second event I want to share with you was, for me, a very special occasion. Each year, the Mayor hosts a civic service. As well as being a borough councillor, I am a Methodist Minister, so this was particularly important to me. The service this year took place in Churchdown Methodist Church, a church with which I have had a long association. It was a great privilege to invite colleagues to share in the service. The Superintendent Minister of the Gloucestershire Methodist Circuit, Rev John Hellyer, conducted the service. Two friends of many years also took part: Rev Tony Barnes played the organ and Rev Dr Leslie Griffiths (Lord Griffiths) preached. Tony and Leslie were both students for the ministry at the same time as me.
There were lots of guests who were involved in public life, as well as other friends and neighbours. Methodists have a reputation for hearty singing and this occasion was no exception. For me it was a moving experience, and I want to say a big thank you to all who were involved and who helped organise this event. Last but not least, there was a generous collection for my chosen charity, supporting the food banks in the borough.
There have been other events in the last few weeks. I was happy to attend a graduation ceremony for Hartpury University students in Gloucester Cathedral – yet another reminder of the quality of the young people in our midst. To add to that, was the annual general meeting of the Gloucestershire Federation of Young Farmer’s Clubs. I was so impressed by the warmth and efficiency of these young people. We have a lot to be grateful for.