Marking the sad passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
I have written a post to continue updating with the summer period through July and August and the Hop Festival, however it does not seem appropriate to publish that yet, following the events of the past few days. I do, however, wish to share my thoughts on the events of Thursday 8 September through to Sunday 11 September 2022.
Thursday 08 September 2022
This week I am covering some of the Team Leader responsibilities at work. I had a day off on Wednesday so was in catch up mode when logging on. My work team are amazing, they have been since I took on the role of Mayor, so things seem reasonable as I work through the outstanding items. I join the wayfinding project presentation by Swale Borough Council officers via Zoom. I can see that many in our community have passion about the destinations that attract visitors to our wonderful town. The contributions in the Guildhall from them will give the SBC team much to think about and the consultation, it is agreed, will reopen for two weeks to enable those ideas to be expressed.
The Faversham in Bloom Certificates have been dropped off for signing I will do those at lunchtime. I have tomorrow off for an event in New Romney so can drop them off in the morning.
I pop downstairs for a break and to catch news as a number of messages suggest that The Queen’s health has deteriorated. BBC 1 has gone to a rolling news format. Brenda promises to keep it on and if any major developments happen let me know.
Back to Work.
At lunch (I tend to lunch quite late when working from home) I watch the news, members of the Royal Family are travelling to Balmoral. I spot a change in the colour of the news reader’s tie. This could be a clue. I send an e-mail to the Town Clerk Thursday, September 8, 2022 1:58:49 PM. Just a short request ‘given the developing news please let councillors and myself of any protocols we need. I am able to drop everything if needed.’ Before logging back into work I find black socks and trousers, my black jacket and a pair of black shoes. I remember the Scout motto ‘Be Prepared’ and put on the trousers, socks and shoes. I really pray that what appears to be about to happen won’t. Back to work.
I finish work about 5pm and go look at the news. I find the ‘pack’ I prepared last year just in case. A small plastic bag contains a black tie, black armband a Town Council face mask and a black lanyard. I put that in a more prominent position.
I make a coffee and notice the fridge/freezer appears to be failing. A quick check and yes it will need replacing. I think this is near 20 years old so I suppose it has not done too bad
The tone of the news coverage is such that by 5:45pm it seems that my worst fear is about to happen. I go put on a white shirt and bring the black jacket downstairs.
18:00 News, I was expecting the official announcement to happen but no nothing yet.
18:30 the official announcement I was expecting but hoping would not happen. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has passed.
Quick check place Mayoral Badge on Black Lanyard formal morning dress Black Tie etc. Not sure if I need to do anything tonight, but if I am to go out I best set the correct formal tone. Just remembered we are due to have a Creek Working Group meeting at 7pm. I consult with fellow Councillors we will not discuss any of the business. The Chair will make a statement as will I. Anything I hear re protocols and what is due to happen I can relay to them.
Son Ben has come in from work. We look at the situation Ben needs a plain white shirt. He has had some guidance from Swale Borough Council. We have a set of Black Armbands here. More discussion with Councillors Williams and Rowlands we will meet in town and let them have a Black Armband. We go to Tesco’s to get that shirt. The atmosphere in there is strange. I cannot put my finger on it but the news must be spreading fast. As we leave the rain starts. We park in the Central Car Park. I take an old coat that Ben has in the car and we head to the Guildhall. Cllrs Rowlands and Williams join us we discuss the likely effects on Council business and what things will need the Council to do in the next few days. The Guildhall flag is already at half-mast.
On return home the confirmation that tomorrow’s Mayoral Event has been cancelled. The day is now free to commemorate Her Majesty’s passing and find out the next moves.
Time to order a new fridge /freezer. The earliest delivery is Saturday. Given the need to be flexible tomorrow that might not be too bad. However, we will probably lose quite a bit of food awaiting it!
Friday 09 September 2022
Opening of Books of Condolence 10am. Nigel will collect Brenda and I so we can run through the expected timings of events with the Town Clerk and Deputy Town Clerk. Black Ribbon for the Mayoral Badge, Black rosette for the Mayoress and the Robes will be updated with Black Ribbons.
We go to The Town Hall where the Book of Condolence has been set up. Brenda and I sign then Eddie and David as Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor’s Consort. We have a small bouquet of flowers to lay so go to The Memorial Garden in Stone Street to start of the laying of Flowers in remembrance of Her Majesty. St Mary of Charity Church has a book of condolence open, and Revd. Simon has asked about attending the 10AM Service on Sunday and reading a lesson. We decide to visit the Church and sign the condolence book in a more personal capacity. On arrival we meet members of the church and we go to sign the Book of Condolence. After signing I make my way to the Remembrance Chapel for a short moment of contemplation while The Mayoress Signs it.
We chat with Gail Rowlands about the events of the last 20 or so hours and the plans for the next few days.
As we are about to leave a call is taken by one of the church members and I catch he is here now. The phone is handed to me. Revd. Simon wants to send over the lesson that I am to read Sunday so I can read it through before reaching the lectern. What’s the best e-mail address to use? I confirm one he has used before and in seconds I am reading it on my phone. A few more details are confirmed about Sunday. We make our way outside as it is nearly time for the tolling of the muffled bells. Revd Simon arrives and we discus a few more of the details for Sunday as according to the plans I will be required to go to Dover for the reading of the Ascension Proclamation then read it here in Faversham. Timings have not been confirmed but we have advertised the times in the plan.
The Bells toll and a few people stop to listen. We join with them. My predecessor as Mayor, Cllr Reynolds, arrives to listen to the muffled tones, we join her. After the bells stop, we have a conversation with Alison about the weekend. She is at a family birthday tomorrow but is contemplating returning late rather than staying in London to join in the events on Sunday.
With the conclusion of this it is time to go home via the supermarket (we still need to eat).
As Brenda and I get home we watch the coverage of The Queen’s life and death on the TV. Time to re-read e-mails and catch up on those I have not read in the past few hours.
Around 3:30pm an e-mail arrives from the Cinque Ports suggesting that the reading of the proclamation might be changed to Monday. What! My reaction is we have told the people of Faversham that the proclamation will be read on Sunday whilst I understand that it is unusual for Sundays to be a working day for Council employees can we state our disappointment at the suggestion of change for this. I discuss with the Town Clerk our feelings about this. I think that we would get a considerable number of Councillors, Past Mayors, Freemen and others to the Proclamation Reading on a Sunday rather than on Monday. Let’s e-mail back expressing this and hope that the plan stays.
Confirmation has also been received that the 10 days of official morning cannot count as day’s notice for the purposes of the public notification of Meetings. As 3 clear days are needed, we cancel all meetings until 26 September. An emergency procedure to approve payments is in place following an emergency where the council cannot meet. That plan kicks in.
The rolling news and e-mails are going to keep me busy. Nothing is in the protocols for Saturday!
Saturday 10 September 2022
Phew the Cinque Ports have e-mailed. Sunday will be when Proclamations are read. I start getting the plan for Sunday into my head.
St Mary of charity Church 10am Service Dover to hear Cinque Ports Proclamation 1pm Faversham read that Proclamation.
Time to clear the fridge freezer prior to the new one’s arrival. Much food is being disposed of. I take photos for insurance if I need to claim.
I will watch the televised Privy Council meeting re the accession. I start to watch the doorbell rings the Avon order has arrived. Back to the TV. The doorbell rings again the fridge freezer has arrived. They are about to take the old one but there is still Ice in it so it will be collected another day.
I see the herald read the proclamation on TV. That will need to be read a few times before I make the proclamation. There are some phrases which I am not used to in that. It will need careful pacing.
With that Ben arrives home from a shopping trip. We discuss his purchases. Then decide to go to Canterbury. Brenda could do with a black jacket for tomorrow’s events.
12:21 an e-mail from Swale Borough Council requesting our presence for their proclamation at 3pm on Sunday. A discussion with Adrienne and Louise over timings. I need to be in Dover for 12:15 Sittingbourne for 14:15. We set a 5pm time for reading Faversham’s Proclamation.
Brenda and I travel to Canterbury as we have the shopping done. I suggest we go to the Cathedral to see the flowers and Condolence book. As we enter the grounds we find that Councillor Anne Dekker, Lord Mayor of Canterbury is there. We have met on a number of occasions so we stand and discuss the various events that this historic occasion has brought about. It appears we both had the same idea, take a break from the e-mails and what feels like constant alterations. We take out leave and I go into the Cathedral. Some time to reflect on the events that have occurred and are to come. I forget sometimes how lucky we are to have such a magnificent building so close.
On our return home a list is made and Ben and I go to replenish the fridge. We collect Fish and Chips for the evening meal.
Sunday 11 September 2022
Today is quite packed so we have a big full English breakfast. Change and leave the house at 09:30am.
To St Mary of Charity for the service. Fellow Councillors are already there robed. I robe for this. The Service is a very good one it sets me up for the day ahead. I thank my Chaplain Ros and hand her a card on the way out as it is Denis and Ros’ wedding anniversary today. Revd Simon has announced that I will have to leave straight after the service, so as Brenda is going to stay in town whilst I go to Dover, The Town Sergeant and I make a quick exit. At Dover we make our way to the Maison Dieu. I am putting the robe back on as Bishop Trevor, the Lord Warden’s Chaplain arrives. He has driven from Somerset just for this. The Cinque Ports Confederation are all present in Dover. We take time to have coffee and are briefed on the way the Proclamation event will take place.
We process out and await 1pm. Bishop Trevor reads prayers for our Late Queen and for the new King. Then The Deputy Constable of Dover Castle Brigadier Guy Boxall reads the Proclamation it is unfortunate but the Lord Ward of the Cinque Ports, Admiral of the Fleet the Lord Boyce KG GCB OBE DL cannot be with us. God Save the King is responded to by those witnessing this. We make our way back inside. I grab a cold water as Nigel and I make our way back to Faversham. A Call to Louise to confirm how our Proclamation event running order seems to be right.
Once approaching Faversham I call Brenda, we will pick you up soon. We drive in and I take the opportunity to talk to Sam and Roger briefly before we head off.
On arrival in Sittingbourne we make our way to St Michael’s Church. I chat with some of the Swale Councillors that I know then make my way into the Church. I am greeted by the Chief Executive Larissa Reed. I have known Larissa for sometime as she went to St Catherine’s Church and knew my parents well.
I Speak to a few of the Councillors and Aldermen that I know. This Proclamation takes place within the form of a Service in the Church.
We make our way back to Faversham. We are meeting guests in the Guildhall from 4pm. We arrive just in time. Radio Faversham have asked for an interview. I answer some questions and the post goes live on Facebook almost straight away. I make my way back up to robe for the final time today.
I suddenly realise that my stomach has a slight ache. Is it ‘stage fright’? No. I have not eaten since Breakfast. I find that some biscuits are available so a couple ease the twinge. I Join my fellow Town Councillors who have been able to attend. They we go down to the front of the guildhall for this Proclamation. This leaves the Town Sergeant Nigel, the Town Clerk Louise, My Chaplain Revd. Ros, my Mayoress Brenda and I to make our way down. I pick up the two sheets of paper and at the bottom of the stairs am handed a hand held radio mike. We make it to the Stage. I look around there is quite crowd compared to the other 2 proclamations I have already attended.
I won’t repeat what happened there are videos of that.
At the conclusion of the event I spot MP Helen, we had been looking out for her before the start as we had her name in the initial greeting. I mouth sorry did not see you earlier. She comes across and I am pleasantly surprised when she says ‘Well Done, that was not an easy thing to do.’
We all make our way back upstairs. Nigel says ‘If you’ll forgive me Mr Mayor I will go and raise the Flag to Half Mast’ I reply ‘Of course that is more important’ Then ‘I will come with you if that’s okay?’ We make our way to the roof and lower the flag then raise it to full mast and back down to half as is the correct procedure. As Nigel Ties off, a photographer below calls Trevor I salute him.
Having taken off the robes we make our way back down and chat with some of the townsfolk who are still in Market Place. I go with Brenda and Ben to the Bear, time for a drink, whilst ordering Nigel Comes in He deserves a drink after all that we have done today!
We head towards the car to go home walking with past Mayor Cllr. Alison Reynolds BEM. chatting about the events of the past few days.
Home and almost straight away Roger and Sam arrive with Millie their crazy spaniel. I play with her for a while. Print some things off for Roger and he offers to go get food. He heads off to the Best Kebab to pick up the order whilst I get the printing completed.
I look at my blog post that is saved. The Steelers game is streamed in the background whilst I type. I mention to Brenda I have suggested I might be a little late for work tomorrow she reminds me I have an engagement to show the QE pupils and their German guests some of the Treasures and the Faversham Charters Exhibition in the afternoon. I head to bed the blog post can be finished in the morning.
Monday 12 September
I awake at 7:30AM finish off this post then to Work!.
GOD SAVE THE KING
The Mayor of Faversham, Cllr Trevor Martin
13th September 2022