May Mayoral Musings
VE day 75 on the 8th May. There were great plans afoot to celebrate this event, both locally and nationally, which had to be scaled down with it being down to individuals to decide how best they could celebrate in line with government guidelines. However you spent it, it was a wonderful opportunity to think of those who laid down their lives for our freedom and to rejoice and give thanks for the liberties we have enjoyed as a result. It was made all the more poignant by the current situation we find ourselves in where it is our turn to protect the generation that made the ultimate sacrifice for us.
I stood on my doorstep at 11 am, wearing the Mayor's day chain, to observe the two minute silence. In that time my thoughts travelled to my grandfathers - both of whom were involved in the war. One was at El Alamein in North Africa and the other was a locksmith which was a reserved occupation. He lived in the Midlands and was responsible for securing banks and other buildings that were bombed during the Blitz. I thought about their wives and young children and tried to imagine what had been going through their minds when the announcement was made on the 8th May 1945. As a nation, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who have gone before which can never be repaid and each one lives on in our memories.
Now, as then, neighbour is helping neighbour, key workers and volunteers are putting themselves on the front line to keep vital services running and families are learning how to keep in touch with one another through the wonders of modern technology.
Councillors made the decision not to hold an Annual Meeting this year, so there will be no changes to the committee membership. I will continue as Mayor with Cllr Dr Ireland as Deputy Mayor. The Chairmen of the Committees will remain as Cllr Leech (Planning); Cllr Marsh (Parks); Cllr Tolley (Policy & Resources) and Cllr Goffey (Property).
As Mayor, I continue to chair the Council meetings with our meetings being conducted digitally - a new experience for everyone! These meetings are open to the public and the Clerk includes details of how to join when the agendas are published which are available from the Town Council website. The Town Council has been working hard behind the scenes to offer support to the voluntary organisations who are helping those who are self-isolating. We have offered funding, equipment and staff time and have set aside a £3,000 discretionary Hardship Fund to which individuals in need can apply. Details are on the Town Council website.
On a final note, I should like to express my sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones over these last few weeks - whether to COVID 19 or for other reasons. Coping with bereavement is hard enough when we can surround ourselves with friends and family. Going through it without that physical support network makes it even harder and my heart goes out to you.