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Mayor and Town Crier, Commonwealth Day 2020
The role of the Town Mayor
The Mayor is expected to attend all Council and Committee meetings. The Town Mayor automatically becomes a trustee of Okehampton United Charities, Okehampton Educational Foundation, Simmons Homes, and The Charities of Holditch & Others. On appointment the Mayor becomes the President of Cancer Research (Okehampton Branch) and President of the Okehampton Friendly Circle. The Mayor is an honorary member of the Okehampton Rotary Club during his/her term of office.
For those wishing to have the attendance of the Mayor at any function then please contact the Town Hall.
Councillor Julie Yelland, Mayor of Okehampton 2019 - 2020
It is a real honour to have been selected to represent Okehampton as the Town Mayor. I am married with two grown up children. I have lived in Okehampton since I got married to a local builder in 1981 and, prior to that, was brought up on a farm near Belstone so am very local. I worked for a firm of local solicitors until my eldest child was born and then took part time casual work as and when I could fit it in around school hours (there was no child care available back then!)
More recently, I spent several years working for Citizens Advice and still volunteer one day a week. I am the Chairman of Okehampton Street Pastors - a charity that cares, helps and listens to people who are out late at night in the town.
Okehampton is a rurally isolated town with a fantastic community full of dedicated volunteers who give up endless hours of their time for the benefit of the people of the Town and Hamlets. It is a delight to be able to live in a place where people are friendly and say 'hello' as you walk down the street.
This ancient town of ours, set on the northern edge of Dartmoor, has developed and grown over the years reflecting the rise and fall of the fortunes of the people who dwell within it. There has been a route through this area since prehistoric times where people have come together to hunt for food on the moor, herd livestock and establish farming settlements on the slopes and ridges that surround the area from which the town has evolved.
Only last year, Okehampton came to national attention with the archaeological discovery of what is believed to be the most south-westerly Roman town in Britain. This has been a significant discovery and included the foundation trenches and post holes of about 25 buildings set either side of a well-preserved Roman road which extends from a military fort.
I, along with others, have been working hard to secure the re-instatement of a regular passenger train service between Okehampton and Exeter. There is an enormous amount of support for this and, once up and running, will certainly reduce traffic going in and out of the town and provide opportunities for efficient travel for work, leisure and education. We are living in times where climate emergencies are being declared and, as a town, we need to be pro-active in playing our part in looking at how we can reduce carbon emissions and protect and preserve our way of life for future generations.
Okehampton might not be particularly large, but it is thriving. We have lots of lovely independent shops; a newly opened primary school; a beautiful park set beneath the wild and dramatic backdrop of Dartmoor, plenty of places to eat and drink and we welcome visitors. There are lots of different events taking place throughout the year - far too many to list here! If you are new to the area, then there will always be a coffee morning going on either in the Charter Hall, the Church Hall or Fairplace Church so do pop down and introduce yourself. You will be made very welcome.
My chosen charity for the Mayoral Year is Okehampton PADS. This is a newly registered charity which was set up in 2017. It installs community defibrillators in Okehampton and provides free training in CPR and the use of the equipment. They have already done a tremendous amount of work promoting the use of this life saving equipment and are an organisation that I should like to support. My Chaplain is Cllr Rev Mike Davies.