Mayor’s Blog for May/June
Monday 23 May 2022
The diary looks quite clear today just a Staffing Committee at noon to chair. So that can be done virtually during my lunch break from work.
Catch up on e-mails and some reading of paperwork in the evening.
Tuesday 24 May 2022
The first day since taking on the role with nothing in the diary!
Work in the morning and answer some of the more urgent e-mails during my break.
Lunch and check the social media St Mary of Charity Primary School have raised how much with a sponsored walk for The Air Ambulance! Shall I e-mail them my congratulations? No I will write a letter, draft that before going back to work then e-mail to get it printed on headed paper.
Wednesday 25 May 2022
Up early to catch a bus to work nice to see the litter bin has been replaced next to the Bus Shelter, reporting these things works. 10:15 sorry boss got to go to the Cathedral. Walk from the office to Canterbury Cathedral to attend the service of thanksgiving for the life of Ann Allen BEM the Chairman of KCC when she passed away in October last year. No matter when I visit the cathedral I notice something new or restored. The Service was humbling and a reminder that serving as a Councillor can make a difference. Following the service make my way back to work.
Once home time to update the diary and go through today’s e-mails.
Thursday 26 May 2022
Special Leave day from work as some Mayoral events today. Pop into town with a Jubilee Flag for the Town Hall, got spotted on the window ledge by Robin Warren so the photo got taken. Flag up. Put up banner then get back inside.
Sign some letters to Stagecoach and KCC about the devastating changes proposed to the bus services from the Town Council.
Get home time to change as the Town Sargent is picking me up for some pleasurable School Visits.
Off to Luddenham Primary School to meet Maria and Eric presented both with the special Mayor’s Platinum Jubilee Badge and give a book token to Maria as the winner of the Group 1 in the Literary Competition. Well done to both of you.
On to The Abbey School, pop into the Heads PA sign off a visit as Chair of Governors, then a quick check into the Finance office to ensure I have no more accounts to sign off before a look around A Block meet the Mayors Scout and other students including those that had been baking cakes for the a whirlwind of prizes to give out with the ever bubbly Mrs Page. Firstly for Stella Sunley winner of Group 2 and Libby Moore winner of Group 3 in the Platinum Jubilee Literary Competition. Outside now to see the Marching of the Forces Cadets and meet with fellow Governor Mrs Keeling ready to help me judge the Pudding competition.
Wow what a display 10 or so entries and all very good. And although we tried them all a layered sponge cake was very impressive. Well done a superb result and it is great that the bulk of the cake will be sold tomorrow to aid the schools charity contributions.
Back home and a quick check through the messages and e-mails. Arrh the flag looks like it is wrong. Okay I will fix that at 6pm when I come back into town.
Coffee and upload the photos taken on my camera. Couple of tweets change suit. Ten to Six Hall.
Fix the Flag it now looks right. Quick catch up with the Deputy Town Clerk add some dates to the diary, mainly in September. Copy of the Guest list for tonight Deputy Lieutenants of Kent Sir Hugh Robertson and Sir Robert Worcester will be in attendance. Who wishes to speak at the event? Sir Robert wishes to say some words as does Cllr David Simmons from Swale Borough Council and the Municipal Charities. Justin Croft who has been a key part of the advisory team will speak about the history. The Mayor of Swale Cllr Simon Clark will also be there.
Oh The Doddington Parish Library will also be open, please mention that.
Put on the chain of office, then go down to greet the many guests arriving.
Many of the guests are trustees of the various grant making bodies that supported the cost of construction of the exhibition and the conservation work on the items displayed. Faversham Municipal Charities, Bensted Charities, Edward Vinson Trust, Swale Borough Council and individual Swale Borough Councillors Cllr Ben J Martin, Cllr Hannah Perkin and Cllr. Eddie Thomas who used part of their members grants to help fund this.
Finally get to meet in person the advisory team who I have met with only via Zoom and Teams Sarah Stanley, Sheila Sweetingburgh, Paul Upton, and Diane Heath. I cannot thank them enough for their unwavering support in this. They have been truly an inspiration to me, as chair of the Heritage Working Group, to see this through.
I cannot thank enough Justin Croft enough, his expert knowledge and easy reading writing style will I am sure help us all understand the charters. The Faversham Charters and Magna Carta Website went live today, must have a look tomorrow.
Sir Robert Worcester kindly donated a copy of the Sotheby’s Catalogue from the sale of a Magna Carta in 2007, along with some of the memorabilia from the Magna Carta 800 to The Mayor and Town Council. I will read the book during the week.
There were so many kind remarks and I hope that on Saturday the people of Faversham and beyond will like what has been done.
Get home and reflect on the event with Brenda and Ben then check that the Work equipment is packed for the morning.
Friday 27 May 2022
Nothing in the diary so a full day at work. Look at the Faversham Charters and Magna Carta on the bus to work. Even on a mobile this works well. Thank you Neil Brown of Beamtwenty3 it looks good. Another Faversham Company involved with this.
Get to work and for once I have not brought my own laptop as well. Get lift from the boss as we were both working past 6pm. Get home to a lot of e-mails and some really nice posts on social media and blogs about last night.
Saturday 28 May 2022
The day we open to the public the Faversham Charters and Magna Carta exhibition. Meet with the performer playing the part of Henry VIII, take him in to see ‘his’ charter. Helen Whately MP is here with her husband, we join Henry for a few photos prior to cutting the ribbon and opening the Faversham Charters and Magna Carta Exhibition.
The 2 New Faversham Town Council Gazebos are outside Nat West with costumed reenactors showing some of the Medieval crafts they even have a reproduction of the customs book from the period. This was how Faversham became so influential.
The Street entertainers are attracting quite a few visitors. I spend time greeting visitors, some are old friends, nice to see Jess and have a little catch up and reminisce about going crabbing down the creek in our early teens. Shall I take the chain off and go to Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School to see their charter? As Councillor Rowlands and Councillor Ben J Martin are going to join me, the Town Clerk suggests it’s okay to wear it for the visit. Walking through the Market take the opportunity to ‘Point’ at The Spire stall ( for those that do not know The Spire is a satirical magazine and blog about Faversham) as they had published an article about ‘The new Mayor not pointing at things’.
On to QE see a couple of Ukrainian mums with their children going to the Physic Garden, will pop in there on the way back. Get to QE and the foundation charter still wows me. Have a chat with some of those visiting and my sister Yvonne who is manning the exhibition which includes Royal visits to the school. We take some photos both with the Charter and of it as well as few others. The E of the charter has a portrait of the Queen so I concentrate on getting a good picture of it. Thanks QE.
As we stroll back we go to the Physic Garden they kindly offer drinks a blackcurrant squash for Brenda and a coffee for me go down really well. We go offer our support to the two Ukrainian’s we saw earlier as the children explore and enjoy this great space.
We take a walk around the garden marvelling at the bright blue dragonflies over the pond. This place is one of Faversham’s hidden assets in the shadow of the original Elizabethan Grammar School Building and directly opposite it’s Modern counterpart. Head back into Town and pass the Platinum Jubilee Post Box topper in Court Street stop to take a photo and just wonder at how the Gunpowder WI keep coming up with these designs that seem to make everyone smile.
Back in time to enjoy the ‘Fire Show’.
See two of the leading lights of the Town Twinning Association Trevor and Clarissa with some visitors from Norway. Point out the Elizabethan Charter is on display today they say they will take a look on the way to Standard Quay.
The scene in the Market Place looks so good with a bright blue sky and some Cumulus clouds I cannot resist and take some shots on my phone. Take off the big chain and realise a parcel we need to send is still with us. Post Office closed at 12:30 so pop into Canterbury to complete the transaction, operation brock has disrupted the bus services again. So we do not return until 5:15pm Check my messages Councillor Rowlands messaged that over 200 visitors hade been into the Charters exhibition today. Thank goodness it all seems worth it. Update Social media channels having downloaded photos from the bridge camera, that Brenda had been using. Time to reflect on the day and prepare for tomorrow, Nigel has said he will pick us up at 8:30ish so it’s an early start.
Oooh The Pittsburgh Passion are playing and I can get a feed on the computer. The Passion are the women’s American Football team so time to enjoy!
Sunday 29 May 2022
Up and at ‘em. 08:30am Nigel the Town Sargent Calls and of we go to Brightlingsea in Essex. It is long drive but we arrive at 10:30am. We meet other Mayors and Town Sargents from both Essex and the Cinque Ports. The reason for this is that Brightlingsea is A liberty of the Cinque Ports and at one time the Mayor of Sandwich was also the Mayor of Brightlingsea and appointed a deputy to run the town. Today the Mayor of Brightlingsea is referred to as The Deputy.
We go to the Pub opposite St James Church to Robe. It does seem strange seeing so many robes and Mace bearers uniforms. The assembled Mayors are then asked to stay on the pub side of the road as the Town Cryer reads out the proclamation and we are called to our place in the procession to the ‘Hard’. Just as we are about to step off the drizzle turns to rain. Thanks Nigel for the umbrellas however with both Maces in hand I could not see a way to get you under as well (Nigel is also a fair bit taller then either Brenda or myself so that makes it harder).
We make it to the hard waving at the brave souls lining the route or waving from their windows as we process. A short service led by the Rev Caroline Beckett in the open and the rain stops for a while. We then make our way to the assorted vessels assembled. The Rain tips it down Brenda is so cold that she declines the trip on the Brightlingsea Creek to beat the bounds. I go and the sun comes out at West Ness as the flotilla stops for the blessing of the waters. There is then the traditional ‘Din’ Bugles Horns and bells make as much noise as possible. The Deputy of Brightlingsea is ringing a bell but the clapper breaks and ends up in the Creek.
As we return to the moorings the rain returns and turns to Hail. A Very damp group of Mayors Clergy and others make their way to the Clone Yacht club to remove the rather wet robes before lunch.
The return journey was not so quick the queue for the Queen Elizabeth II bridge slows us to a crawl.
We arrive home at 6:40pm.
Time to put the photos we have taken together. Tomorrow has a couple of things in the diary an interview at 11am another at 6pm and Policy and resources at 7:30pm. I will look at the papers for those either later or in the morning.
Monday 30 May 2022
Annual Leave now for three days so I can concentrate on the Queens Platinum Jubilee and some of the Town Council things that need my attention. Pop into the Guildhall for 11am as we are interviewing for the post of assistant to the Town Clerk. Following the two interviews I call Brenda to say I am now free and take Jubilee packs for the Towns Crown hunt into Jilly Pops Sweets and have a chat with the owners then onto The Hobby Shop. Chat with Gareth and Jenny Reeves of Radio Faversham with Brenda. Then off to The Refinery for a coffee before doing some food shopping and returning home.
Start preparing for tonight’s Policy and Resources Meeting decide to print all the papers for it. Blimey the printer has taken ages. Ben can you drop me into Town I have to meet up with the Staffing Committee to conduct the final interview. I go to The Bear to grab a mug of coffee prior to the P and R meeting. Stroll home at the end through the Recreation Ground forgot the Fair would be packing up so divert a little as they have lorries across the footpath as they pack up. Have seen the results of the Tests from the Interview protest agree a 09:30 am Teams call for the staffing committee to discuss the appointment.
Tuesday 31 May 2022
Nothing in the Dairy so today was spent doing all those jobs that have been waiting more pleasant weather. Time to clean the winter algae from the PVC slats on the house. The purchase of a new pressure washer makes the job easy.
Wednesday 1 June
Get up and start the with a coffee and e-mails. An e-mail comes in that needs quick attention and the day looks like it will be busier than envisaged. Spend most of the morning arranging a quick meeting with our HR advisors and set a meeting with them for 3:30pm.
Time to take son some prints he requested for The Quay and some Visit England information I picked up with him in mind from the Museums and Heritage Show. The Pink Book Guide to Legislation for Tourist Accommodation and Attractions looks particularly useful. If you are looking to run a business with that market in mind I recommend that as a good starting point. Then to Town Hall to meet Nigel to get the Chain on. Whilst in the Reading Room I ask about some staves or walking sticks shown in a postcard with the Chain and Moot horn. Nigel says they are here but have suffered some water damage as they were previously stored in a cellar. I notice that the longest has and inscription on the silver top, it mentions being given to commemorate the restoration of King Charles II. We need to consider getting the water damage repaired or restored and the details made available. Perhaps find a way to allow them to be seen, even if only a couple of times a year. I will think how we can do that.
Then we walk down to Age UK to join them at their Jubilee Party. What an event! The party put on by the team was fantastic. Music was provided by The Three Hats, many of those present were up and dancing. The workers were in tears as this was the first time they had been able to provide such an event with so many clients since the start of the pandemic. I am no dancer but ended up joining in.
I returned home in time for a virtual meeting.
The Town Sargent calls and it is time to put the chain back on and travel to Tenterden for a drinks reception to launch their Jubilee events. An exhibition of rocking horses has been put on in the Town Hall. Rather special ones made by Stevenson Rocking Horses. Many of those on display are from ranges made for Her Majesty to celebrate significant milestones in her reign. They all seem to have something special about them. The Stevenson brothers show tell us the history of the company and invite Mr Pembleton, keeper of the Queens Horses, onto the stage. The latest rocking horse is a lifelike one modelled on the last race horse breed by The Queen Mother. I was particularly interested in the rocking horse made for the Magna Carta 800 celebration.
Thursday 2 June
Just one thing in the diary today a meeting with Revd Ros Parrett to sort through the details for the Civic Service in July.
What Hymns? Do we want to light a candle in remembrance of all those who the Town and townspeople have lost since the last Civic Service? We discuss this and come to the conclusion that yes we should. I am very conscious that many have lost friends neighbours and family members and may not have been able to acknowledge this in the way they may have wanted.
We look at hymns we decide on two Ros suggest one more and suggest either this or that. I decide that as the other two hymns are quite upbeat we keep them all like it. Ros suggests three short readings. I look at them with her. Very appropriate and we discus who should read them. Having set out the main details, Ros will work with the St Catherine’s congregation on the rest and then send through a running order and any details I might need to confirm.
On my return home I look at the garden. No Mow May has finished and it is time to do that and trim the top of the hedge or the dog rose in it will take over.
Friday 03 June
A wander around one of the developments near home in the morning to see for myself the progress and some chats with some of the residents.
Today we have the ‘Proms on the Market’ but first some visits to street parties that are going on.
Blackberry Gardens have turned the area Red White and Blue. They even have a banner especially made for the occasion. Nice touch.
At Chambers Lane they have barbeques on the go and a huge age range represented. The two young people who put this together are a joy to meet.
The Quay are having a Jubilee event and I take the opportunity to try the Jubilee Ale they have and have a quick break.
On the way back to town I notice a Wedding party with lots of children present at St Mary of Charity. I congratulate the couple on their marriage. I was told by one of the family that they knew nothing of the wedding as they had been invited to a christening and at the end were asked to wait 20 minutes as the couple were getting married too!
We continue to the Town Hall for Proms on the Market. The Gunpowder WI are selling refreshments and running a tombola, Faversham Celebrates Jubilee badges are being sold and the Poppy Appeal are selling their wares. Pilgrims Hospice Session Band are playing and people are thronging Market Place. I make a short speech of introduction before The Railway Swing Band take centre stage. A superb mix of swing numbers are followed by the traditional Land of hope and glory, Rule Britannia and our National Anthem all of which the crowd heartily sing. The set ends with the Ukrainian National Anthem. I am pointed to some Ukrainian refugees standing to the right of the band, so I walk over to them, the lady is wiping her eyes I ask did you like that last number? She took my hand shakes it vigorously and says yes thank you. Probably the most poignant point of the day.
Saturday 04 June 2022
Best go see the Clog Dancers that are performing on the Market this morning. I walk into Faversham. Could I help put the Bunting in the Guildhall higher? Of Course! I go over with a step ladder and the Deputy Town Clerk and raise the height of the bunting. Fiddlesticks North West Clog Dancers are ready to perform. I have my photo taken with them and ‘The Queen’ and out they go to perform. My love of photography creeps in and I go back into the Guildhall to take some overhead shots. I see Councillor Reynolds watching and go over for a chat. We can see the Clog Dancing from the seats outside the Refinery so stop and have a coffee. After the performance I thank the members of Fiddlesticks even in the damp they have drawn quite a crowd.
Oh the Proms advert on the Town Hall needs to be removed. I take a pair of scissors to cut the ties and pull in the banner.
The afternoon sees two invites to Street Parties, oh and I’ve won an auction for a Faversham Shield with Mayor on it. Son can we go to Sittingbourne to collect that then go to the two street parties? We get in the car and off we go.
The Shield is placed on the dashboard as we attend the first at Winter Gem Lane. It looks Like a large number from the estate are on the Green. The organisers have done a great job. I have my photo taken with a number of residents. Quite a few have moved in from the town area.
Time to move on to Hatch Street, The wind direction has moved the Street Party to Beckett Street. A traditional street with a great spirit.
Sunday 05 June
Sunday sees quite a busy schedule so a full English breakfast to start us off. I walk to Beech Close to open their Street party. My what a setup! A Blow up Pub covers two driveways and has the advantage of protecting the sound system. The residents have all pitched in with kiosks for the cupcakes and gin. They have a ‘bash the rat’ pipe side show, not seen one of those for a while! We sing the National anthem then a loyal toast is proposed.
Someone from Noble Court asked at the Proms if I could visit their street party on Sunday so on my way to the Guildhall I stop off and have a beer with the residents. They have some large garden games for the youngsters too. I don not think I have seen a bigger version of connect 4!
Must admit I marvel at the way the various street parties have brought neighbours together over this period.
On to the Guildhall the Gunpowder WI have provided a Teas and those whose names were drawn out last week are there. I meet Brenda and put on the Chain of office. I walk to each table and say Hi. A quick speech of welcome then partake of the wonderful tea. Gunpowder WI have provided. I lead a loyal toast and sing the National Anthem.
It is then off to the Church Service of Celebration. The Walk to St. Mary of Charity gives me chance to reflect on the huge support that the town have given to the various events held since I became Mayor, it is truly humbling. Meet with the Revd Simon Rowlands who briefs me on the service. I have a reading to do so read through it once more before the service starts, I always have that niggling fear I will trip over the words. At the conclusion of the Service I am invited to plant a tree as part of the Queens Canopy project in the Churchyard. As Helen Whately MP is there, she joined me to plant a Hornbeam. A good specimen has been selected as it is not the best time of year to plant a tree. Cllr. Chris Williams is with us to ensure that the tree is planted correctly. I really appreciate having a team of Councillors who are willing to use their expertise and experience to help the town.
Back in Church we have chance for another cup of tea and a chance to catch up with some of the congregation. We walk with other Councillors back to the Town Hall to take off the chain of office and return home.