Friday, 28 July 2017

Fairtrade Cake judging!

Buckingham has been a Fairtrade Town for 10 years and festivities are in hand to mark this anniversary. (Updated blog - now with a picture of the winning cake...)

Children from local schools were invited to design a celebratory cake and I had the enormous pleasure of judging the entries this morning at the home of Cllr Margaret Gateley. Margaret is one of the main Fairtrade organisers in the town as well as being a Town Councillor.

The judges were myself, Julie, the Mayoress and Victoria Forward (of Victoria Sponge). Victoria is making the cake for the celebratory church service on Sunday 17 September at Well Street United Church. (Make a date in your diary now!)

There were over 30 entries and we had a difficult job to choose the winner. We gradually narrowed it down to one that captures the essence of Fairtrade, Buckingham and the ten year anniversary. I won't reveal the winner at this point but watch out for news of it!

And if you want a taste, make sure sure you are there on 17 September!

Meanwhile here is pic of us all and the certificate showing the date on which the Town first made the Fairtrade grade.

Meanwhile, if you want to know more about Fairtrade and buy more of the products, here is the link. And do you know what the logo represents? (I did not until this morning...)

There is a leaf and the blue is water... and it shows a person waving to you.. I had never seen that until this morning!!

UPDATE (13/11/17): And here is a pic of the winning cake design on the cake! (Sorry it has taken me so long to publish this!!)

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The Mayor's Charities

Each year, the Mayor chooses a set of charities for donations to be offered. Each Mayor makes their own choice. This is my choice for this coming year:

  • Buckingham Youth Centre - helping young people in our Town
  • BACAB - raising money to support Citizens Advice locally
  • Bucks Mind - for people and well-being

If you wish to make a donation to the Mayor's Charities Virtual Bucket (as it were), you can transfer money to this account:

Account name: Buckingham Town Council Mayors Charity Fund
Account sort code: 30-91-39
Account number: 00678744

Or you can send a cheque, made payable as above, to the TC offices: Buckingham Town Council, The Buckingham Centre, Verney Close, Buckingham, MK18 1JP

Thank you

More information about the three charities can be found here:

Statement from my first year (2017/2018)

As someone who has been working with young people in various ways for much of my life, including volunteering for the NSPCC for four years as a Schools Service facilitator and being a member of the local youth club management committee, two choices were easy. The third charity is also close to my heart as because I am committed to ensuring that children across the world get to live safely and have dreams & ambitions, and all the wherewithal to achieve those. So consequently I chose these three charities: Buckingham Youth Centre, NSPCC and UNICEF.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Well done Fin and his pals Harry & Rowan!

This morning, Cllr Mike Smith and I had the enormous pleasure and honour to attend a fund raising event in Bourton Park. What made this event particularly notable was that it was initiated by young lad called Fin, with help from his friends, to raise money for the hospital where his Mum, Emma is being treated for a brain tumour.

There are some people in the world who talk, and there are some who talk and then take action. Fin is one of those people to take action and he is a fraction of the age of most people who will be reading this blog! Who knows what he will be doing as he gets older: I am anticipating lots! Perhaps he is a future entrepreneur, captain of industry, prime minister or even, possibly... a Town Councillor!

So very well done Fin. And well done Emma for being his amazing (and I am know, very proud) Mum.

There is plenty of time to donate to the cause which is linked here.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of pics. With this one, how can you not want to donate some more money to this very worthy cause! (This is Emma with her daughter Niamh, Fin's sister, holding the collection bucket)

And here is Fin (in blue hat on my right) with his friends Harry & Rowan either side at the front. And behind are all the children who helped them run in a relay for an hour. Well done to everyone who ran and helped organised today!

The sign announcing what was happening:

This wasn't just a fund raising event: this was a community event that brought people together in a spirit of support for Fin and his Mum.

The playground is open!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of officially opening the new playground next to the Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre. This was funded by what is called s106 money. This means the developers paid for it (as they did the school, community centre and football pitches) as way of boosting the infrastructure of the new estate.

I hope children from Lace Hill and beyond have great fun playing on all the equipment!

There will be a picture in the local newspaper this weekend. Meanwhile here I am I taking some time out after some hard work cutting a piece of ribbon...

Monday, 24 July 2017

Comedy Night success rounds of fab Fringe

Joel Dommett returned to Buckingham on Sunday to a sold our performance! There was much mirth and you had to be there to know what #getrigidtrev will forever mean...

This was a fantastic evening to round off one of the best Fringes Buckingham has known.

So big thanks to everyone who made all this possible, most notably Amanda Brubaker, the Town Council's Events Coordinator, Cllr Terry Bloomfield who chairs the Town Centre and Events Committee, all the officers and councillors who have helped out, all the staff of all the venues who have made things run smoothly, all the sponsors, all the performers and of course, everyone who came along and partied with everyone else! Thanks to you all!

If you have any ideas for next year's Fringe, please let Amanda know.

Lace Hill Family Fun Day

A great time was had by all, it seemed at the first Lace Hill Family Fun day, held on Sunday last. Julie and I walked over using the bridle and foot paths from Maids Moreton. We were delighted to be greeted by a colourful spectacle of stalls, bouncy castles, singing, tea, fire engines, zorbing and generally people having a lovely time with their families.

It is wonderful to see how the Sports and Community Centre is bringing people together and helping everyone get to know each other and our great town. So well done to Sam Hoareau, the Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre Coordinator employed by the Town Council - and everyone else who contributed to making this a special day in the new life of Lace Hill.

And we were serenaded by the Rock Choir who meet at the school on Monday nights.

Let's go fly a kite...

One of the more sublime events of the Buckingham Fringe was the Kite Flying up at Embleton Way on Saturday afternoon. True the wind was a little inconsistent! And true it sometimes fell away altogether, nearly... But a good time was had by all who came along and flew their kites before the heavens opened!

We gave out vouchers to three youngsters who had made special efforts: two for their construction of a kite each and the other young chap for managing to keep his kite aloft for longer than any of us thought was meteorologically possible! We gave him another kite as well as a special prize!

You can see the winner in the distance with the pic below, with his kite a long way up.

As Mayor, I try to keep lots of 'kites' up the air. So it was great to try and keep a real one up there as well!!

Buskingham on International Busking Day!

Since the last meeting of the 'Destination Buckingham' group, I have been taking action to promote the space outside the Town Council Chamber which has been designated as a place where street performers are welcome.

And so on Saturday, with T-shirts and stickers sent to us by Rachel Meir, the Operations Director of Found in Music (thank you!), Buckingham participated in International Busking Day.

I was able to award Gaz and Dec with a t-shirt each on Saturday morning. Here's a pic to celebrate their musical contribution to the town!

And another pic, this one with June Lewis after she gave a pack of carrots to Dec for their horse Barney (who is something of a star too!)

The full Barney

And all buskers are welcome to Buskingham!

And here is a very short sample of their music recorded on my phone:

Leaving a gem of a school

George Grenville School's Acting Headteacher Emma Killick invited me to attend their Year 6 leavers assembly last Friday. It was a pure joy to be there and I am most grateful for invitation. This is a lovely school. Whilst it is smaller than most the other primary schools in the area, it evidently has a very big heart and a massively committed staff team led by Emma. Emma has all the exuberance, great humour, steely determination and caring that all primary school heads need to have.

And I was so impressed by the Y6 tutor, Caroline Ryan, who went through each child who was leaving, one by one, with a tender and inspirational description of their talents and contributions to the school.

The assembly opened with Stephen Townsend, Chair of Governors who encouraged the youngsters to be themselves and look forward to the future. The assembly then went on for over an hour while each child managed to sit their patiently enjoying the proceedings with only the smallest amount of fidgeting. And some of the children were from the nursery. Again, I was hugely impressed by the way in which the school obviously teaches their students to listen carefully to what others are saying.

If Carlsberg did leavers' assemblies ....etc!! 

I made a small contribution to the event with a short speech where I highlighted five points for the leavers:

1) Stay in touch with your friends and don't let schools divide you. (I told them about how I lost a good friend Roger when I went to grammar school and he did not)

2) Be yourself for each one of you is unique. (I asked them to be proud that each one of them will be adding something special to the world that nobody else can)

3) Find your tribe because sometimes growing up can feel very lonely (I mentioned that there are always other young people out there who like the same music or also share the same interests. It is just a case of finding your own group)

4) Talk about stuff and don't bottle things up (Growing up is hard and I said there were always lots of people to talk with about anything that might be troubling them. Always better out than in.)

5) Have ambitions and be bold (As with my mayoral theme, I encouraged them to consider big and small ambitions - to become an astronaut or someone who programmes robots or someone who paints great pictures or whatever but to be themselves and have dreams!)

Friday, 21 July 2017

Healthcare transformation?

It is sometimes very difficult keeping up with changes to health and social care arrangements. The NHS seems to delight in moving from one structure to another with a storm of new acronyms. But they have surpassed themselves this time and kept the same acronym (STP) and changed the meaning of it! STPs were originally Sustainable Transformation Plans, then Projects and now are Sustainable Transformation Partnerships!

What's in a 'P'?! I am really not sure that I know or indeed whether I am much clearer after last night.

And now this has all be overwritten with the agreement that Buckinghamshire should become an Accountable Care System.
NHS moves to end “fractured” care system
The head of NHS England will today (Thursday 15 June) pledge to end the “fractured” health and social care system that leaves too many patients “passed from pillar to post” by giving local leaders and communities more control over how they improve health and social care.
Addressing the NHS Confederation in Liverpool, Simon Stevens said: “As the NHS approaches its 70th Birthday, we are now embarked on the biggest national move to integrating care of any major western country. For patients this means better joined up services in place of what has often been a fragmented system that passes people from pillar to post.”
He announced nine areas in England – covering some seven million people – which will be the forefront of nationwide action to provide joined up, better coordinated care breaking down the barriers between GPs and hospitals, physical and mental healthcare, social care and the NHS.
Eight ‘accountable care systems’ (ACSs) will bring together local NHS organisations, often in partnership with social care services and the voluntary sector. They build on the learning from and early results of NHS England’s new care model ‘vanguards’, which are slowing emergency hospitalisations growth by up to two thirds compared with other less integrated parts of the country.
Bucks is one of these eight. And so in an effort to keep local people informed, Buckingham Town Council asked the local Clinical Commissioning Group to come to a public meeting and explain what changes were in train. The CCG set the date as last night (20 July) and I understand the only available space was the sports hall up at the new Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre. About 120 people turned up despite some saying it was not well advertised.

Before this meeting happened, it became clear that the proposal to build a new medical centre on the available ground on Lace Hill could (and I stress could) mean all the doctors' surgeries closing in the centre of town. Unsurprisingly many people have taken to social media to express their concerns about this change and many of them them turned up to the meeting yesterday. As this was known to be an issue, two GPs (Dr Jonathan Pryse and Dr George Gavriel) from the Swan Practice were late entrants to the panel. Details of all the panel below

The speakers also included: Nicola Lester, Director of Transformation from the CCGs.

So what did we learn?

With regard to the ACS, plans are afoot but how exactly this is going to transform local care, is still very difficult to say. Ms Lester presented this slide by way of an explanation of the aimed for new system:

I think this all pivots on having "community hubs" akin to what is being developed in Thame and Marlow at the moment. If you have the time, read this document for more explanation. I think there is also planned to be a more comprehensive triage done over the phone so that patients / clients are directed to the part of the health system that they need to access.

But in all honesty it is still a bit of mystery to me, as I do not live and breathe 'NHSspeak'. We were shown a video from Dorset which is apparently providing the template for services in our neck of the woods...

Dr Graham Jackson explained that the CCG would be putting up more information on their website soon as a start of further consultation and explanation. Here is a starter for ten for those who want to keep themselves appraised of these changes. Once I hear of anything more, I will add the links here.

Ms Lester went on to explain the "magnificent seven" core features of the new health care system that she is directing transformation towards:

The seventh is now dignity of care which has just been added to this list.

Dr Tina Kenny explained the role of the NHS Trust in all this with much enthusiasm and a helpful palpable case study but...

I think my overall view, at this point, is watch this space for something that makes more sense beyond all the jargon and elaborate diagrams. The direction of travel appears to be towards what I thought health and social care should always have been about: seamless & multi-disciplinary care than meets the needs / requirements of patients and communities. But what do I know...?! (If you think I have missed things, then do please tell me. I would love to understand this better...!)

So then we came to questions and pretty soon, the discussion got into the future developments of the surgeries in town and the planned creation of a medical centre at Lace Hill (details here). The Design and Access statement can be accessed via this FaceBook post by me a couple of weeks ago.

It was left to Dr Pryse & Dr Gavriel to explain the challenges they have with managing a multiple site practice, difficulties in recruiting staff (including GPs), the access the challenges they face and shear shortage of space. The new medical centre is designed to overcome most of these problems. I think their earnest ambitions to provide better healthcare for all was evident to see. Dr Pryse admitted that their original intent was to keep open some GP facilities in the town centre but it was now proving difficult to make all the figures add up. But, he explained, nothing is fixed as yet and certainly he was given plenty of guidance from his patients present at the meeting that having a town centre location was essential. There is much more water to flow under the bridge on this, clearly.

And I would encourage people to write with their concerns not only to the Swan Practice but also critically to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). They, after all, hold the purse strings on all this. What was not evident last night was much sense of partnership between the CCG and the Swan Practice. It would have been helpful to hear the CCG Clinical Chair express his backing for the moves and a commitment to working with the GPs to find a workable solution... that did not happen in my earshot. Some more public statements on this would be welcome, I feel.

And moreover, I did not get the sense of any great partnership between the NHS services and County's social care ones. We all know that health and social care need to work together hand in glove and while there are plans afoot to do some more 'joining up' through the 'Better Care Fund', more explanation could have been provided. And moreover, a public and clear commitment by the Buckinghamshire officers and councillors present to be active and diligent participants with all the system, to make it work and find ways to sort the doctors' surgery issue was somewhat absent from last night's meeting.

More needs to be done to really join things up, it seems to me...

And so good that the meeting happened, but there is a long way to go yet! Meanwhile, here I am opening the meeting up (thanks for the pic Cllr Robin Stuchbury).

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Lace Hill Residents Association meeting

I attended the LHRA meeting last night which must have attracted at least 70 people to the sports hall at the Town Council's Sports and Community Centre on Lace Hill. It was an excellent meeting, well led by Joëlle Jones and Petula Boddy who talked people carefully through the detailed agenda of items.

Frankly, there is a huge amount to manage as it would appear that the developers are just a little bit reticent, shall we say, to fix all the problems with the public (and probably domestic too) areas of the estate. Fortunately the LHRA is now going from strength to strength with several new committee members joining in recent weeks. But there is a big task ahead. The LHRA needs all the support it can get.

The core challenge they face is to ensure that when management of the estate is handed over to the new Management Company (which the residents will be paying a premium for - and have the opportunity to become directors / shareholders of) - that the public areas are handed over in a fit state. If not, then the residents of the estate will be paying for improvements over many years that the developers should have put in place first off.

This is no mean challenge. I said that various levels of local government were here to help and mentioned all the councillors able to offer assistance: all the Town Council, Cllr Charlie Clare (Buckinghamshire County Council - who was present last night), Cllr Robin Stuchbury (District Councillor - who gave his apologies as he had some family matters which required his attention) and Cllr Howard Mordue (District Councillor). I also explained the importance of understanding what each council does. This link gives that information.

I suggested that they needed 'snagging wardens' for each small collection of properties to collate all the issues that need to be resolved before the estate management is handed over.

Meanwhile here are some links to bodies that might also be able to help:

One or more of those might be able to help with providing ideas on how to manage the transition from others who have just come through it.

Meanwhile, here is a pic of the room, before everyone came (extra chairs had to be found). And below is a copy of the newsletter that the committee are now distributing on the estate. I wish them all the very best and remain on standby, happy to help.

The inspirational Youth Project

Now in its 10th year, the Youth Project is a joint project with the Royal Latin School and Buckingham School sponsored by the Town Council as part of the Fringe every year.

Last night was the culmination of two days collaboration between the two schools to produce an evening of art and drama. And it was magical!!

If you were not there: you missed an amazing, inspirational and heart warming treat. A group of about thirty 14 and 15 year olds produced a play made up of a series of vignettes focused on being kind to others. I know that sounds schmultzy but it was deeply moving for me and I am sure everyone else who was in audience. I am so glad that I didn't have to speak afterwards as I would surely have choked!

I wish it had been filmed as it would provide an powerful antidote to any adult who might sometimes have a downer on the 'young people of today etc'. What was on display last night was challenging, profound, generously provocative and extraordinarily talented - both the actors and visual artists.

Well done everyone! Obviously well done to the young people themselves but also to the teachers who guided and facilitated them: Rachel Hunt, Lance Keegan, Clare Checkly, Shahanara Ahmed and Vicky Richardson. And the technical support from Angus Butcher and Tom Dudley was seamless too! Thanks.

Kindness and love right back atcha!!

Sorry no pics of the young people themselves (we were told to post any on social media) but here is Rachel announcing the start with Lance and Clare beside her.

And here is people at the end - Amanda Brubaker (Town Council Entertainments Coordnator), Cllr Lisa O'Donghue, Julie, the Mayoress, Clare, Lance and Shahanara

And here are the three panels of artwork produced over the two days:

And I loved this - small notes were taped to the backs of all the seats. This was my one:

So to whomever wrote that - it is the same for you!

A gentle & musical cream tea

As part of the Fringe, I enjoyed a most enjoyable cream tea at Villiers yesterday where we were serenaded by ‘Prosecco Notes’ (flute and violin duo, consisting of sisters Camilla and Lucy).

The cream tea was subject to a 10% discount on production of the Fringe brochure. And I didn't even have to pay as past Mayor Mike Smith paid for mine! Thank you Mike.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Rotary welcome

On Monday lunchtime Julie and I were treated to a meal at the Golf Club with the Buckingham Rotary Club, hosted by their incoming President, Chris Sutton. Thank you!

There were about a dozen members present including one from Bratislava who brought greetings from there. The other external member was Euan Martyn from Towcester who was also the speaker. Euan spoke about Mary's Meals which is a charity established to make sure that every child receives a nutritious daily meal in a place of education.

£13.90 is all it costs to feed a child for a whole school year.... 

Euan also spoke about the Backpack Project which he says Towcester Rotary is committed to supporting (see below for further information). This could be coming to Buckingham schools, so don't throw away your old backpacks yet!!

So I have huge respect for the Rotary Club International (my Dad was a Rotary president in his town many moons ago). Long may they continue to support communities both here and abroad. (More information about them here)

The back pack project:

The incoming President, Chris Sutton

Great vision!

I was hugely impressed with the work of Bucks Vision when I went to visit them on Monday morning. They are based in Aylesbury but provide services across the county.

Steve Naylor, Chief Executive and Anne Mills, Fundraising Manager welcomed me with great cup of tea and a fascinating conversation about the work of their charity. This is one of the hidden gems of Buckinghamshire.

If you are or you know someone who is experiencing sight loss of any description, Bucks Vision will be able to offer helpful advice on aids and support. They also seek to tackle the social isolation that can come with losing one's sight. As people are living longer, the incidence of sight loss is increasing. And so the vision of Bucks Vision of working towards a day when:
"all blind and partially sighted people are able to participate fully in our community, enjoying the same opportunities, freedom, responsibilities and quality of life as people who are fully sighted"
is one that is even more vital now.

Do get in touch with them if you are seeking assistance for yourself of someone elese, or indeed would like to offer support as a volunteer. (This is a volunteer based service)

BucksVision Office and Aylesbury Resource Centre
143 Meadowcroft
HP19 9HH

T: 01296 487 556

Barks in the Park!

I had a very doggy day in Bourton Park on Sunday, acting as compere for the the annual Town Council Dog Show, now in its fourth year. More than 90 dogs were registered and I reckon, at one point, there were over 200 people there. This is a fabulous celebration of our canine friends.

There were big dogs, small dogs, shaggy dogs and bald ones - and everything in between. My job was simply to announce the next competition class and then the winners. The real had workers were the judges: Helen Holland (a local professional dog walker amongst other occupations) and Claire Childs (the Deputy Town Clerk). They had the excruciating task of deciding (for example) the cutest puppy from about 25 very, very cute puppies! No mean feat!

And I should report that 'best in show' was Lucy, an English Mastiff from Thornton with her owner Paul.

Great thanks also to the organisers: Cllrs Lisa O'Donoghue & Terry Bloomfield, Amanda Brubaker, Eloise-Mary Medland, Craig Calder and Ian Saunders. And great thanks to the sponsors: Aden Grange & Canine Kitchen for sacks of dog food for the worthy winners, the Maids Moreton Veterinary centre for the rosettes and Vets4Pets for the winners cup.  And thank you too to Kimberly Cox for the dog training demonstration. It was great to see more side show tents there this year as well. Perhaps even more next year!

Even the Red Arrows put in an appearance for us!

And thanks to all who came along and supported this event - whether you had fur or not!

Here are some pics taken mostly by me but with a couple by Lisa O'Donoghue (thanks)

The Best in Show: Lucy (a rescue dog) with owner Paul from Thornton.

The cute puppy array with the judging team in the foreground

Not sure these two quite got the idea of the lookalike class...!! :-)

Michael Doherty in his Veterinarian scrubs ;-)
(Thanks Lisa for the pic)

The compere trying to stay on top of all the activities!
(Thanks for the pic Lisa)

Monday, 17 July 2017

Quiz night fun

To kick off the annual Buckingham Fringe, the Town Council organised a Family Quiz Night at the Community Centre. We had a great evening with some lovely food provided by the Woolpack, as part of the package as it were!

The questions were set by Cllr Terry Bloomfield, ably assisted on the night Cllr Margaret Gateley. Amanda Brubaker (TC Events Officer) had set some questions for young people present too - and we had a special round for them. I acted as Quizmaster.

It was delightful fun with a broad range of questions. The Quiz being won by the Heath Family. Well done!

Thanks to all who came along and everyone who helped make this happen.

Friday, 14 July 2017

One teacher, one child, one book, and one pen can change the world!

The world needs more teachers, this country needs more teachers and Buckingham needs more teachers! And so I had the greatest of pleasures handing out the certificates for the successful completion of training for a dozen new teachers trained at Bourton Meadow Academy school over the last year. 

They are pictured below together with the Head of Training Helen Byrom and other key tutors. It has been a very hard working year of study and practice for them, I know. It will probably be even tougher next year when then all take on their first year's work as a teacher. And I wish them all the very best in the years to come.

Below the pics is the speech I delivered.

It is my great pleasure and honour to be here this evening for the awarding of certificates to the new graduates of the Bourton Meadow Teacher Training programme. 
Just to begin: thank you all: new teachers, experienced teachers and tutors... thank you all for being so committed to the profession of teaching. As Malala has said “one child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world”. You are all changing worlds, opening vistas and nurturing ambitions. 
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done and will be doing for the young people of Buckingham and beyond.
It’s my job as Mayor to be relentless in searching for all the ways to help Buckingham become an even better place in which to live, work, study, visit and play. Thanking you and supporting you is a big part of that.
As I see it, you are in the ambition business. I am too and always have been. 
Ambition is a very important word to me. When I review all of what I have sought to do in my life: professionally, personally and politically, I have arrived at the conclusion that ambition lies at the heart of it all. I have always aimed to do all that I can to help create a world in which everyone has dreams and ambitions, and the wherewithal to achieve these. 
Ambition is a precious thing and I think we need more of it in our world. Ambition, hope and dreams are good for our health and well being, and they good for our society too as they drive our economy forwards and make improvements in community spirit.  
And so as Mayor, I am carrying on with my focus on ambition. Ambition is a key theme of my Mayoralty. I have been and will be looking for all the ways in which I can support, nurture, recognise and rejoice in the ambition present in all those whom I am meeting. And I see a lot of it here tonight!
I have initiated the ‘Buckingham Ambition Project’. I The shape the BAP is slowly emerging and so please let me know if you would like to be involved in some way. 
For me teaching is all about cradling and developing that fragile thing called ambition. Perhaps that is the reason why we remember our teachers decades on. 
I can still name and picture my primary school teachers: Mrs Johnson, Mr Laugher and Mr McHaffie. Mr McHaffie used to keep a second shirt on the back of his classroom door as by lunchtime his passion for music, English, poetry and drama usually meant he had worked up quite a sweat and had to change his shirt! I remember that sort of stuff and I bet you all do too… I think that it is because teachers help us shape our nascent ambitions that memories of them stick with us.
But I left out two teachers on that list: Lorna Harvey and Ron Harvey. My parents. They were both teachers and they both taught me for much of my early years. I was kind of home-schooled at school if you like! Indeed my dad was a teacher of teachers for the later part of his career. So I have watched what teachers do in the day times, in the evenings and at the weekends… And it is even tougher now, I know.
So I am here to wish you well in your careers as teachers. Please never forget that the children that you teach will probably never forget you. And I know that you will be doing all that you can to help them be ambitious for themselves and the world.
So may I thank you again sincerely for being wonderful, magical, liberating, inspiring, sponsors of dreams and ambitions: in other words, for being teachers!

The Café Crawl

This all began as an idea for a get together arising from the Buckingham: What Matters to You facebook group. The group had a pub crawl a few months ago and some people said that would not suit everyone. So the idea of a Café Crawl emerged. June Hall and I hosted the first one last Wednesday (12 July) and whilst people did not come out in huge numbers (there were about 8 of us involved), it was a success. We proved the concept!

So, the question now is when to host the next one... (and collect some more money for the Mayor's Charities!)

Monday, 10 July 2017

Buckingham school: sporting achievement all round

Julie and I had a fabulous evening at (a very hot) Buckingham School event on Thursday last: the Sports Presentation Evening 2017. Such wonderful talent on display from so many youngsters excelling in netball, football, rounders, rugby, badminton, basketball, golf, horse riding, and athletics etc!

The awards, talent and achievements are too numerous to list (and sadly are not listed on the School website either) - but there have been many, many successes and wins over the last year - as teams and as individuals.

Well done to all of them!

The special guest was Luke Delahunty who gave an inspirational address and then gave out the dozens of awards and shook dozens of hands! Great thanks to him.

Here's a couple of pics taken by Cllr Robin Stuchbury (thanks for the use)

My last post on this blog

Last night I handed on the Buckingham Town Mayor's chain of office to my very worthy successor, Cllr Mark Cole. This marks the end of my...