June Mayoral Musings
On Saturday 1st June, I was privileged to be invited to the Rotary Club of Okehampton President's Dinner. The speaker was Mr David Lemon who spoke about his adventures walking along the length of the Zambezi river travelling through Zambia, Angola and Mozambique. He is the first person in recorded history to make that particular walk which is 2000 miles long and both the obstacles he faced in terms of his personal health and the support he received from local people along the way were truly amazing. There was a raffle for the outgoing President's chosen charities for the year which are Children's Hospice South West and Hospiscare.
The following day I was invited to a Ten Tors post event lunch at Okehampton Battle Camp where I met representatives from all the different organisations who work so hard to make Ten Tors such a success. 2020 will be the 60th Anniversary of Ten Tors and the organisers are very keen to hear from anyone who was involved in the early days. If this was you, then please do get in touch with them. The email address is SWHQ-TenTors-MAILBOX@mod.uk .
On Wednesday 5th June I attended the Introduction Ceremony for the new Mayor at Northam Town Council. This was a very interesting evening and it was good to have the opportunity to talk to others about the work we are doing in Okehampton to get the passenger rail service re-instated.
Fairplace Church put on a beautiful Flower Festival which I went along to on Saturday 15th June. In the gallery upstairs was a gorgeous display of wedding dresses and photos from members of the congregation and downstairs were themed displays which reflected the annual cycle and rhythms of Church and Rural Life. The quality of the arrangements and story-telling through the displays was truly incredible.
On Saturday 22nd June I was invited along to South Molton Olde English Fayre. I have to admit that I have never been to South Molton before and it was a lovely drive through beautiful countryside in glorious sunshine. I even took part in the Floral Dance - another first for me!
Would you know what to do if someone collapsed in front of you? - apart from call the emergency services of course. Okehampton Public Access Defibrillators (OkePADS) is my chosen charity for my Mayoral year. I met with two of the trustees to talk about how I could be of service to them. They are very keen to see their free training being taken up by all members of the community. Anyone aged 14 and over can take part. The sessions last about two hours and include training in CPR. What is CPR you might well ask? It stands for "cardiopulmonary resuscitation" which is an emergency life-saving procedure that is done when someone's breathing or heartbeat has stopped. This may happen after an electric shock. heart attack or drowning. CPR combines rescue breathing and chest compressions. In short, being trained in CPR and the use of defibrillators will give you the confidence to take action and give the victim the best possible chance of survival. If you want to know more or book yourself on, then please either email them on firstname.lastname@example.org or check out their website: https://okepads.wixsite.com/okepads. You can also find them on Facebook.
My next official event was in Okehampton at the Octagon Theatre on Thursday 27th June. Community Links SW CIC put on a Music Centre Concert to showcase all that their students had learnt over the summer term. The orchestra and choir were made up of young people of all ages and they played and sang their hearts out on a very warm summer evening. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did. Congratulations to all those who worked so hard to make it such a success.
My final duty for this month was to attend the Annual Service of Commemoration and Re-dedication of St John Ambulance (Devon) in Fairplace Church on Sunday 30th June. I expect there are quite a few people who were members of the St John Ambulance Service in their youth and learnt first aid - I know I was one of them. The St John Ambulance Brigade was formed in 1887, however the service dates back to 11th Century Jerusalem where the first Knights of St John set up a hospital to care for sick pilgrims. Their motto is Pro fide Pro Utilitate Hominum - For the Faith and In the Service of Humanity.
Throughout the month I attended as many coffee mornings on Saturdays that I could. It isn't always possible to get around to every one as it can depend very much on existing commitments. My apologies if I didn't make it to yours. It was also lovely to have a wander around the town on Saturday 29th June which is when the Food and Drink Festival was running. Lots of stands selling local, unique produce and plenty of visitors to the town.