Mayor of High Wycombe

Mayor’s Musings

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I have been keeping a record of my activities via my ‘musings’ which have kindly been published in our local press!  You can read these below:

28 June 2010

My first six weeks as Mayor of the Town of High Wycombe have flown by!

I have been privileged to meet so many wonderful people during this time who, in many instances, work tirelessly for the benefit of the rest of the community!

My very first engagement as Mayor was to attend the Asian Ladies’ Bazaar at the Green Street Community Centre straight on from the reception in the Town Hall.  It is always a delight to meet our Asian ladies whose colourful dresses remind me of exotic butterflies!

No lying in on my first Sunday!  Up with the crack of dawn in order to launch the Rotary Club’s annual Pedal Push at the HQ of the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People in Saunderton.  The Rotary Club raises thousands of pounds for local charities through this annual event!  Well done to all those involved in the planning and helping out on the day.

I have also visited the new showrooms of Frank Hudson.  High Wycombe can still lay a claim to producing wonderfully carved items of furniture and this showroom had excellent examples of what our local craftsmen can produce.

As Mayor I have also been called upon to chair the AGM of the High Wycombe Town Twinning Association.  Our links with our Twin Town of Kelkheim go back over twenty-five years.  This is a wonderful way of keeping in touch with a European country and experiencing their culture and hospitality through school exchanges and visits between member families!  Germany may have knocked us out of the world cup but I can assure you all that any organised visits to Kelkheim are memorable for all the right reasons!

I saw an amazing performance by the younger members of our community when they took part in ‘United in Dance’ at the Swan Theatre.  A lot of talent there!

I was also very impressed with the work of the trustees of Wycombe Mind who, after several years of very hard work, have set up a new Recovery Centre in Easton Street.  This is a very good facility in the community for those with mental health needs which has linked up with Bucks New Uni to provide practical training and experience for students who are studying for degrees in this field. Special recognition needs to go to Cllr Julia Wassell for all her hard work and commitment for this much needed centre.

One of my first engagements in June was to the Bucks Vision’s De Fraine Competition where blind and partially sighted members make the most amazing craft exhibits. I was very impressed to say the least!

I have also opened a new store for the British Heart Foundation, attended a very moving wreath laying service at the Dunkirk War Memorial in Easton Street and also a fundraising Summer Fair for the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.  As a consequence of this, I have volunteered to be rescued from water by a Newfoundland Dog to raise money for them. Oh dear, what have I let myself in for?

I have also met members of the High Wycombe Macular Disease Support Group who meet regularly at the Wesley Methodist Church Hall in Priory Road.  This support group really does provide help for those who struggle with this problem. I am hoping to be invited back in December for “mince pies” and a chat.

I have been to Marlow Town’s annual Regatta and John Lewis’s Vintage Summer Day for the local community and here, in the centre of High Wycombe, I had the privilege of taking the salute from our ‘boys in blue’ during the Royal Air Force’s Freedom Parade.  Operational duties meant that we were not able to have a fly-past by a Dakota but this was still a very memorable occasion.

I have been to neighbouring towns for a civic service at Amersham and at Princes Risborough.  It is an honour to represent the town of High Wycombe on these occasions.

I have also joined members of the United Reformed Church for a fundraising Caribbean buffet! Delicious and ‘finger licking good’!

We also had a flag raising ceremony at the Council Offices for the start of Armed Forces week. Students from St Augustine’s school joined local dignitaries, representatives of the Chelsea Pensioners and members of the Royal British Legion in raising the flag and afterwards for lunch at the Oak Room.

Fundraising events for my Pepper Foundation appeal started with a tombola stall on Booker Common on Bank Holiday Monday and a Fun Day at the Cressex Community Centre last Saturday from 12 noon until midnight and was supported by the local community and we had a lot of fun whilst raising almost seven hundred and fifty pounds. 

I also managed to find time during the day to go to Wycombe Abbey School to present trophies to the winners of the field and track events which took place that afternoon. I was offered a very tasty afternoon tea whilst watching the first raft race to take place at the school.

We have also set a date for my Mayor’s Charity Ball!  This very special event will take place on Saturday 2 April 2011 at the Wycombe Abbey School!  Details will follow but put this date in your diary now!

Finally, I held my own civic service at the Union Baptist Church in High Wycombe last Sunday where we were welcomed by my chaplain, Tim O’Brien, and his congregation.  We were treated to a very uplifting service which was followed by Beating the Bounds – an ancient tradition to ensure that people knew where the exact boundary lines of the town were! A ‘bumping box’ is placed in front of the boundary stones and a small boy or girl is ‘bumped’ head down on the box!  Despite the heat, great fun was had by all and a surprising number of heads were turned upside down, even yours truly was initiated into this custom!

July is already promising to be equally busy!

30  July 2010

What a month!  Really not sure where to start! During the last five weeks I have attended various meetings, a Civic Funeral, several school visits and so much more besides trying to work really hard at raising money for the Pepper Foundation – my chosen charity for the year!

The AGM of the Central Aid Society was my first introduction to this very old Wycombe Charity (now in its 103rd year).  They do stirling work for the local community in providing support via furniture, bags of food and secondhand clothes to people put forward by the Council, the Social Services or the CAB. 

I also attended the AGM of Wycombe Women Aid and the AGM of Rape Crisis.  Both organisations demonstrate that there is still a need in our society for specialist help for women and both organisations need support from our local community, particularly financial!

Sad engagements were our dear Betty’s funeral at the beginning of July when it was an honour to read her favourite poem ‘Remember’. Betty Barratt had been a member of our local council and community for so many years and worked so hard for the good of the community.  It was a lovely send off on a perfect summer’s day!  Our thoughts are with her family!

Another sad engagement was held at the RAF in Naphill when a newly created medal and memorial scroll was presented to two families in a very moving ceremony.  The Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll are granted to the Next of Kin of UK Armed Forces personnel who have died on operations or as a result of an act of terrorism in national recognition of their loss and sacrifice.

We also said goodbye to Janet Clements who had worked for the Council for forty years and during that time had worked with many Chairmen, several Chief Executives and Leaders.

However, from tears to laughter!  Especially when faced with a whopping great Newfoundland Dog licking me all over after it had rescued me from the water when I was raising funds for the Hearing Dogs for Deaf Charity. I hate water and I hate not being able to put my feet on the bottom when standing in water!

I met pupils from the Royal Grammar School at their Junior Prizegiving evening and Year 6 pupils at Castlefield School who were going onto ‘big’ school’.  During their graduation ceremony I was able to present to the school the Ceremonial Key used to officially open their school in 1939.  An acquaintance had given me the key knowing that I had attended Castlefield School myself!

Other ‘fun’ engagements were burying a Time Capsule with pupils from Highworth Community School at a new development in Totteridge and attending the Cherry Fayre in Flackwell Heath where I was invited by the Royal British Legion to join the Chelsea Pensioners in an open car for the parade so I wore the red robe and was really surprised to hear myself being announced as a Chelsea Pensioner!  At least we got a good cheer! We were treated to lunch afterwards at a local golf club and I would like to say thank you to the lady who was also eating there for her kind words of encouragement – I hope you enjoy reading this month’s musings!

Drinks [non-alcoholic for me] at the High Sheriff’s home in Penn gave me the chance to meet more people who do work in the community and presenting an award at a local Indian restaurant left me and my escort convinced that a definite ‘and some more’ is looming for next year’s weighing-out ceremony.

The highlight of the month probably has to be the invitation to join the Mayor of Henley to take the salute for the Dunkirk Little Ships Boat Rally when a Lancaster roared directly over us to celebrate the 70th anniversary.  A very emotional moment! During the course of this event I had to dash back to Wycombe for a special photo shoot with our local brownies and girlguides to celebrate their Centenary year.

I also attended a red carpet event at the Empire Cinema when students from the Pauline Quirk Academy had a cinema screening which was followed by my Duck Race!

My duck race – well what fun we had – me in my borrowed waders rescuing ducks from the Wye!  The winners have been notified and were thrilled to bits especially young Martin Evans who won the first prize along with a trophy.  I presented a cup to John Shaw of the Woodlands Trust who were winners of the Business Duck Race and won two tickets for the Mayor’s Ball next year!

Later that evening I attended the unveiling of a plaque in memory of Cllr Maurice Smith at the RBL in Loudwater and stayed for their quiz night!

On the fundraising front I must apologise for forgetting to thank members of the Magnolia Leisure Centre for their hospitality at the former Broom and Wade Social Club where they raised an amazing £330 for my appeal through an impromptu raffle.

I started off the Grant and Stone High Wycombe Half Marathon in which I had five runners for my appeal and had to dash out of the way very quickly not to be mown down by the little girl with her pink pram who started off the Fun Run at a cracking pace!  A big thank you to Tony Hill of the Pepper Foundation and to Cllr Trevor Snaith, Cllr Ray Farmer, Paul Galbraith and Mohammed Khurram Hussain who so kindly ran for my charity! Total raised to follow!

At this point I must also thank our Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress, Alan and Janet Hill, who have stood in for me this month at a civic service, a meeting of the Disabled Friendship Club, officially opening Shelburne Lodge’s Summer Fayre, a celebration of sport evening at Harleyford Golf Club and also at the Parents’ Day at Pipers Corner School – thank you to you both for your support.

I know that August will be less busy – at least my office assures me that that is the case!

Keep smiling!

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Written by mayorsparlour

20 August 2010 at 11:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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