Welcome to The New Mayor’s First Blog
The Last Day as Deputy Mayor Monday 9 May 2022
How does the knowledge that you are about to become Mayor of this magnificent Town affect you?
I will admit I have been thinking about this since I was asked if I could do it. Shall I write a speech or just ‘wing it’? I decided to ‘wing it’ judge the mood and see how hot the room was, I know The Alexander Centre can get a little too warm! Should I do a stunt to get some social media hits and promote the Town to a worldwide audience? The role of Mayor is such an ancient one better not.
I have the day to prepare for this I have said I will help set up the sound system as I trained as a Theatre Electrician so I can manage the mixer setup as no one who has done it before is available, quick call to check the time I am needed put the 3pm meeting time in the phones calendar.
Right, still going over the potential speech in my head need to do something on my own. I haven’t signed the Schools accounts as Chair of Governors for March I will pop in and sign them. So I went to The Abbey School and having signed the accounts checked in with senior leaders and see how things are going. On the way home time to reflect by visiting my parents graves, just imagine what they would have said. I think my Father would say well you’ve know enough Mayors of the Town to know what to do. My Mother would have just been bursting with pride and would have said “Well that’s even one up on your Grandfather”. Got home had coffee then into town set up the sound system. Take a look around the venue set up. Why is there a seat with T Martin in the audience? Oh it’s Mrs T Martin next to Mr N Martin oh yes Son Nicky only got married on Monday that’s Tania’s seat! Then walk home to get changed for the meeting.
Eat, get changed from T-shirt and Jeans to a Suit 3 piece or two it gets hot in the Alexander Centre, two piece will do and tie, which one The Cinque Ports I think then the cufflinks. Need a tie clip the Worldwide Scout one that my dad was given by the 1st Faversham Committee when he retired from it. Brenda does that look okay? Yup you’ll do. Ben looks round and says we need to Robe at 6:30 Dad let’s get to the car.
Mayor Making robe then check the various protocols is it the Deputy Lieutenant of Kent or Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Kent the first. Good got that right on the note I made. Paul from New Romney arrives Speaker of the Cinque Ports check Deputy Mayor of Deal have a chat as Auntie May and Uncle Ray lived in Deal as did Uncle Alf. Time to get lined up and start. I will reflect on the evening tomorrow.
Tuesday 10 May 2022
Last Night I became Mayor of Faversham, it still seems surreal to write that. I will start by thanking all those that attended to Mayor Making, So many friendly faces it was hard to take it in perhaps I should have taken a photo from the stage to remember them. I confess it did cross my mind but I resisted the temptation. A few photos taken appeared on Facebook and the positive responses have helped the realisation that this is such a privilege to serve this Ancient Town and Port of Faversham.
My colleagues at work have been so supportive today, in our team meeting I spotted an e-mail come in from Ofsted. As Chair of Governors at The Abbey School please see the attached Notification of Inspection. A quick phone call to the school to confirm details and to give my availability to be interviewed by the inspection team. Sorry tomorrow I am in London with the Town Clerk. Work have said I can have Thursday off to do whatever is needed.
Then remembered I had an e-mail about judging the Window dressing competition for the Transport Festival and that the result was needed Friday. Better leave work a little early to take a look to see if any are done yet as the plan to do it after work on Thursday could now be taken by the Ofsted feedback meeting. Also need to confirm the time to meet the Town Clerk tomorrow for the Museum and Heritage Show visit. 08:04 train oh and you need the Badge of office. We need to arrange some formal portraits oh and some of the Mayoress, the new Deputy Mayor and Consort and Cllr Reynolds as she has only ever been Mayor since being elected. We talked about a Mayor’s Blog could you think about writing something?
I will give it ago!
Wander round Court Street, West Street, East Street, Preston Street look at the shops who has started decorating for Transport Festival? Olli Bongos have done a good job, West One looks like they are going to, but have not finished yet. Jilly Pop Sweet Shop has, even though they said they were not open due to a family bereavement, my thoughts go to them. Oxfam have a window full of Transport books don’t look too closely you have too many books you could start a library . Phone the Mayoress do I need to pick up anything in town? Well you could bring home Fish and Chips so that’s dinner sorted.
I will see if anymore windows are done on Thursday I can do that between Ofsted Meetings or after.
Watching the news The Queen is having episodes of poor mobility, hope this passes but better follow my Scout motto ‘Be Prepared’ get a small sandwich bag to keep some things together so I can always have them with me even if I am not in town.
Let’s try the blog write up the notes
Set the alarm as I do not want to be late for the train in the morning.
Wednesday 11 May 2022
Up and at ‘em meet Louise at Faversham Train Station and travel to Kensington Olympia realise that it is the first time I have been on the Overground Branded trains in London. A visit around the Museums and Heritage Show. Pick up some information on the sort of merchandise that may be suitable for the Faversham Charters Exhibition. Also picked up a copy of the Visit England Pink Book a guide to legislation for Tourist Accommodation and Attractions, Really useful publication.
On return bumped into the new Deputy Town Sargeant Mark, nice to have a quick catch up and start to get to know each other.
Got home thanks for the lift Mark.
8pm time for the District Scout AGM on Zoom having had to delay it from 2021.
Thursday 12 May 2022
Go to Abbey School 07:30 am get home from the Ofsted Visit 8pm. Time to just relax a little after that.
Friday 13 May 2022
Go into town complete the judging of the Faversham Festival of Transport Window Dressing Competition. Thought it would not take too long to give my verdict and get to work. Couple of issues to deal with. Then go to catch bus to work stop at the Mental Health Awareness Week to get an update of how the market area drop in has worked this week. Home at 7pm time to relax, oh 10 e-mails that need sorting through. Go through the diary for the next few days.
Saturday 14 May 2022
Saturday of Faversham Festival of Transport. Quick Coffee then off to Macknade to see the Park and Ride site catch the First Park and Ride bus into the Railway Station. Nice to see the Demelza House and Queens Platinum Jubilee livered buses on this job from Stagecoach South East.
Say hello to The Town Clerk then make my way down Preston Street looking at the buses parked up take few photos then round to Stone Street to say hello to Joe manning the barrier. Whilst there go round to pick up a family members prescription in Bank Street then back to Stone Street to photograph the bus sitting next to the Stop with the latest Living roof shelter.
Continue down Preston Street taking photos of Fire Engines whilst having a Chat with Claire the Town Councils Event coordinator who does so much to put this event together, the weathers good and Claire has a smile on her face so I know things are going well.
Round the Market and a chat with Jude who is with the Skiff promoting the Creek Trust and the Rowing Club. Then a wander round the Market and head down to Faversham Umbrella go in and find my Sister is there with a singing group get some raffle tickets from Toni and Lavinia always a pleasure to see them, hang on I have just bought some raffle tickets, those two are always getting me to get my wallet out to support the centre!
Back up to pick up a coffee from one of our independent coffee shops in west street. Meet my daughter in law out with her dog so stop and make a fuss of the dog!
Go round and say hi to the pilgrims hospice band and take a look at the Community Rail group in the Guildhall remember to take some photos for the American Lady I met a couple of weeks ago of the Mayoral Roll in the Guildhall to send her proof of her ancestors name on the roll.
Start to walk home pop down to the electric vehicle display the Ice Cream trailer is powered by an electric car! Fantastic idea.
Get home have a brief sit down process the photos and upload to the cloud then go back to Macknade and catch a park and ride into town with the Lady Mayoress, some personal shopping is needed. Walk through the town catch up with Louise and Claire to see how things have gone. Great day great atmosphere. Get home to the cup final, type up the blog and then to social media to say thanks for today.
Sunday 15 May 2022
Early start pop into town for 7:30am meet the team manning the barriers. Start photographing the Cars as they arrive. Wow some of these are quite spectacular! Try to ensure I say thank you to all the marshals. Sons dog is in the flat window spots me and is wagging it’s tail like made. Big smile on my face. Although there are spots of rain hope it stays reasonable for those coming into town. Pop into West 1 menswear as they have a Motorbike for sale as part of the shops display for the Festival of Transport.. Walk home around 10:30 time for breakfast. A full English is consumed, time to get those photos uploaded to the cloud. Change into a suit and put clips on the shoulders for the chain ribbons. Phone call from Cllr. Henderson could we meet I have some questions about Mondays meeting.
Walk into Town agree to meet The Lady Mayoress at the Town Hall at 13:30. Start with a visit to The Quay as I hear a Scooter Club has turned up for Lunch take a few photos then walk to Standard Quay to see the Steam Lorry and Traction engine. Look at the time rush up Abbey Street and get to Guildhall a little late. Put on the Chaim and start the walk to hand out the Certificates to those awarded prizes in the show. Start off going to the furthest travelled Wendy and her Ford Anglia have come from Scotland then onto the Best Carr in Show a Blue MG in Preston Street walking toward Market Street Spot ‘Ram’ is in Ossies, Pop my head in and he comes to give me a huge hug, Thanks for the sponsorship Ossies Clare was quite surprised by his reaction!
To Ollie Bongos to present the Certificate for Best Dressed Window. Then onto the oldest car in show 1897! This is the car I saw first coming in.
Where is the best Motorbike owner? Whilst locating him we look at some of the other cars and bikes in the Market Place then do a quick interview on Radio Faversham.
15:00 Presentation of trophies to those winners in conjunction with Radio Faversham.
Back to the Town hall to draw the Platinum Jubilee Tea winners.
Chain off time.
Wander down to The Quay to catch our breath quick drink then bus home!
Monday 16 May 2022
Work! ½ day today but working from home makes it quick. 13:30 door rings Town Sergeant Nigel arrives put chain on and travel to Sittingbourne to support the Mayor of Swale’s Charities.
Old Forge House never been and I love history and heritage. A home devoted to the World War 2 home front. Rationing recipes for the masses and using replacement ingredients a cake using soup instead of sugar? Really?
An air raid and in the garden is the Anderson Shelter, then off to meet the Home Guard All the reenactor’s really look the part. I can see how this would be a great resource for anyone who is studying the period particularly children.
Tea with the other guests and a raffle to add to the Mayors Charity funds then off for Town Council Planning and full town council meetings.
Tuesday 17 May 2022
A Work day, off to the office lets get back into a bit of a routine. A phone call comes in sorry boss got to take this. The Faversham News reporter Gerry Warren have you got time for a few words sorry we missed putting in a story about you becoming Mayor last week but we want to run one this week. Check my diary and I can relax and catch up on the e-mails tonight.
Wednesday 18 May 2022
Time to work in the Office then catch up on the e-mails re some staffing matters. Also an e-mail can we have a quick meeting with SLT prior to half term/end of term. Arranged for tomorrow
Thursday 19 May 2022
Working from home till 2:30pm visit Abbey School to review the views of what the outcome might be. Now comes the wait for the report. Back home and back to work for an hour. Spot message re the opening of Faversham Charters and Magna Carta exhibition could you do an interview with KMTV? What time 11am tomorrow.
Friday 20 May 2022
Go to work let the boss know I have a TV interview at 11:00 the rain is beating on the window but put on the suit and pop into the Town Hall. Join Justin Croft to complete the interview in the Exhibition space.. WOW does this look good. Whilst the reporter Jadzia Samuel set up had a chat with Justin about how good this looks. I had not seen the space with everything in it!
Finish the Interview pop into Umbrella Centre and pick up the Raffle Prize I won on Saturday. Home and back to work until 5 :15pm when Mark called to put the Chain on, he hands a large file of entries from schools for the King and Queen Competition and we go in to see the preview of the 365 Photo Exhibition. I am blown away by how it shows the spirit of Faversham through 2021 and how the pandemic affected the town, some unusual shots too, The Town Sergeant raising the Pride Flag on the Town Hall reminds me we will soon be in Pride Month. Have a chat to some of the sponsors then walk down to the Alexander Centre to see the Alexander Collection Launch. An Interesting collection of Artists works are now on display there. Tonight proves that the pandemic has not diminished Faversham’s Cultural aspects. Check what time I need to be ready for tomorrow for the Cinque Ports Standing Committee.
Got home and James called in. Nice to catch up with him after his holiday. He handed me a box with a ‘here got this for you’. I open it and it is a Figurine of the Mayor of Trumpton!
Of all the things that have happened in this first couple of weeks it was that simple gesture from him that makes me realise that being Mayor of this wonderful town is something very special.
Saturday 21 May 2022
Which suit to wear to the Cinque Ports meeting? I choose the plain Blue one. Get ready and put the clips on the suit to go to Hythe for the Cinque Ports Standing Committee. Travel with the Deputy Town Sergeant and Town Clerk to Hythe. Check the agenda and reports on the way. Mark is using the Sat Nav to ensure we get to the right place.. hang on we appear to be at the Shuttle Terminal the operator must be used to this gives us an Exit pass and we get back on track. Arrive at the Pavilion in Hythe and join fellow Town Clerks, Mayors and representatives of Councils of the Confederation. On the agenda is how the Cinque Ports can help each other and use this centuries old neighbourliness to focus the Confederation. The Joint Solicitors look back at the Elizabethan Charter the Cinque Ports. They report ‘in its inception seemed to have two objectives. The first objective of defending ourselves has largely been superseded by legislation but the second objective of ‘bettering’ and “for the further good and public advantage” of the Cinque Ports towns should be in the authors opinion our main focus. In other words, putting our combined efforts into promoting the Cinque Ports.’
We go through some ways this can be done. Expect an e-mail with more details soon.
A Formal Loyal Address has been prepared to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and a Tree Planting will take place at Walmer Castle later in the year to add to the Queen’s Canopy.
We then install a new ‘Speaker of the Cinque Ports’. Congratulations to the Mayor of Hythe Councillor Jim Martin on taking on this Historic Role.
After the meeting some photos are taken of the Mayors with the Loyal Address. I stand next to Jim and joke that being next to each other will confuse some when the photo is tagged. He says we need to get the Chair of Folkestone and Hythe District Council to join us at some point during the year.. three Councillor Martin’s together.
On the way back reminded I must start sorting out the Charitable events I want to run. I admit I am going to try and put some ideas together tomorrow as I have nothing in the diary, so might get chance to look at the what where and who after deciding the Platinum Jubilee King and Queen winners.
Sunday 22 May 2022
Check diary yup still blank. Go through the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee entries just a file full. Full English for breakfast then continue through. Got the final 3 and an overall winner so e-mail the Deputy Town Clerk the results. I have not visited the Maison Dieu since joining English Heritage a few years ago, time for a look. A stroll through to Water Lane meet with the Volunteers looking after this wonderful asset. Then a wander round update my knowledge of the Medieval use of the site. Interestingly just in the door is a case with some of the items found when Barkaway’s butchers closed and the site redeveloped, as they are not yet labelled we discus the items, I look forward to the identification of them as I think 2 are locally decorated tiles one is part of a clay jug another looks like a ridge tile.
Following that visit cross the A2 at the pelican crossing notice some stickers and graffiti on the button box covering the ‘Wait’ light, must report that to KCC later, as they do not accept fix my street reports for signal controls. Head past The Ship still amuses me to see the pill box there, head down Ospringe road. I decide to pop into Chart Gunpowder Mill meet Richard the volunteer from the Faversham Society manning it today. I reminisce about helping clear the westbrook as a child taking bricks that had fallen in from the water races and passing them to the adults ready to restore them. Richard tells me he got involved after volunteering to help with the Magna Carta exhibition in 2015, well the Magna Carta is back on display Saturday! I ask how many volunteers man the mill, he says they are down to three. Please if anyone reading this can spare some time on weekends to help keep this fantastic place open contact The Faversham Society.
Stroll down by Westbrook toward Stonebridge Pond I was intending to go home via west street but meet a couple looking a little lost, where are you heading to The station they say, so I volunteer to guide them there. Where have you come from? We walked via the sea wall from Teynham so get them to Preston Street. Meet Helen and Mark chat on the way through to the Rec then on toward home.