September Mayoral Musings
It was a joy to celebrate with the Okehampton Columbine Ladies Hockey Club as they commemorated their Centenary on Saturday 7th September. Members of the club were very keen to pay tribute to a couple of their long serving volunteers who have invested so much of their time, skills and energy into the Club and had written a speech which I was privileged to deliver together with presenting an award. There is a wonderful historical display that has been put together which features a lot of faces of Okehampton who will be recognised by many people.
Simmons Park has just been awarded 'Much Loved' status in the Fields in Trust UK Best Park 2019 awards which is very exciting. I, along with other councillors and staff, was joined by members of the public to celebrate this wonderful achievement on Thursday 12th September in the Park. We have a brilliant team who work incredibly hard to make our Park such a fantastic space and that has clearly been reflected in the number of votes cast by those who love and enjoy Simmons Park.
I popped up to Okehampton Station on Saturday 14th September to welcome the newly named 'Okehampton Castle' Class 255 Locomotive that was running a trip to Weymouth. This has been organised by OkeRail who are working hard to get a regular passenger service between Okehampton and Exeter re-instated.
On Sunday 15th September, I held the annual Civic Service in Fairplace Church. This is always preceded by a Parade through the Town Centre very ably led by our very own award winning Excelsior Silver Band. The Parade and Service are a tradition that goes back hundreds of years and it is a real privilege to be part of tomorrow's history. I am so very grateful for all those who helped in organising the event and ensuring it ran smoothly. It takes a big team and everyone is a volunteer, so thank you very much.
There are several new independent shops that have opened in Okehampton recently and I was privileged to be invited to the Official Launch Event for Dogberry & Finch Books in St James Street on Saturday 21st September. It is a wonderful shop with a huge selection of books that are suitable for adults and children. There was a very interesting talk by Alan Lee who is an Oscar winning Tolkien illustrator and film conceptual designer. He worked on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and brought Gandalf's Staff with him which he had designed.
On Saturday 28th September, I arranged a Coffee Morning in the Charter Hall in aid of my chosen charity, OkePADS. This was very well supported - especially given the inclement weather! I am so grateful to all those who helped out by donating their time and skills to make it such a successful event. A big thank you to everyone who provided a raffle prize and very special thank you to Annie and Minnow for doing the teas and coffees and Helen and Katie for running the raffle. All proceeds were for OkePADS and we raised an amazing sum of £187! Thank you to everyone who came along and contributed.
At the end of September I was invited to the Tavistock Mayor's Civic Service which was very well supported. It was held in St Eustachius' Parish Church which is an ancient building of significant historical interest in the centre of Tavistock.
During September, I presented two cheques on behalf of Okehampton Town Council. One was in support of our local Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme which does such sterling work with the young people of the town. The second cheque was towards the maintenance of Meldon Viaduct that is such a recognisable heritage asset to the area.