Thursday, 31 May 2018

The Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom, MP & the Leaders Symposium

Buckingham was graced with the presence of the Leader of the House of Commons today who provided the keynote speech for the Leaders Symposium organised by the Students Union and in particular its President, Shayne Tshabalala. Andrea Leadsom talked mainly about the reforms she is seeking to install for an independent reporting system in the House of Commons and across the whole Palace of Westminster which will hopefully ensure that no one is bullied, harassed or discriminated against in the future. She also spoke about the suffragette/suffragist movement and how the whole of Parliament is celebrating 100 years of women's suffrage. Here are Ms Leadsom and Mr Tshabalala

The later speakers included Dr Philip Smith (MK Business Leaders), Dr Jane Tapsell (Pro Vice Chancellor), Hannah Graham (UK Youth) and yours truly. We had a great conversation all afternoon about positive leadership with the odd mention of Brexit and Domestic Abuse (amongst a wide range of topics) while Ms Leadsom was taking questions.

Here are Hannah and Philip deep in conversation afterwards.

The flyer for the afternoon

And here are the slides I used for my presentation

Coding for the future

Just as twenty years ago, probably very few of us would have predicted how much the internet would change our lives, my hunch is that few of us can predict how Artificial Intelligence and Robots will change the world 20 years from now. But one thing is certain, we will need people to programme the robots and make sure that the AI systems enrich rather than enslave us. And to this end, huge credit must go the the partnership between Cloudy GroupS4A and Technovisual for launching a coding club for youngsters this week at Bourton Meadow Academy. I had the great pleasure to visit just before all the girls and boys got their hands on the kit!

You can find out more about it all here. Such a great initiative! Here is my selfie featuring Mark Vanstone (Techno Visual), Matt Ogle (S4A) David Hall (Cloudy Group), Charlie Parker (Cloudy Group), Sam Croxford (S4A).

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

We dodged the rain (well mostly!)

The Buckingham Acoustic Club and the Town Council hosted the annual 'Music in the Market' event on Sunday and weather was (95% of the time) marvellous, despite the threats of thunder and torrential rain. The music was as usual brilliant with a wide range of folk, ambient and rock styles. As last year, I enjoyed opening it with our Town Crier and bringing it to a close at the end, although many I am sure would have liked it to go on into the early hours! #LoveBuckingham

Thanks to all who made this happen so smoothly including our Events Coordinator, Amanda Brubaker and the chair of Town Centre & Events committee, Cllr Terry Bloomfield. And the BAC team: Fraser Winterbottom, John Howarth, Mike Weston, Emma Jenkins, Thomas McAvoy, Henry Sampson, Udo Dölz, Suzy Ann Smith and Gary Warden (hope I have not missed anyone). And a huge thanks to all the musicians who entertained us!

You can get a flavour of the day from this video uploaded by Tim Rayner

And thanks to Bittersweet Music for this annotated programme!

I also broke out my new t-shirt with this logo emblazoned:

And some pics from Katharine in the Office - thank you! Happy days!!

International Inspiration Day

The Friday before the second May bank holiday has for many years been International Inspiration Day at Buckingham School. It is organised by the Rotary Club in association with the school's PE department to achieve two main objectives: to provide an opportunity for the sixth-formers studying Sports Leadership to have their skills assessed by members of the club and for the year sevens to work as teams exploring the cultures of other countries.

It's a complex day and I want to praise all the people who made it work last week, especially Margo Jackson who acts as linchpin for the day. Beyond that praise is due to all members of the Rotary Club and Inner Wheel who acted as assessors, the school's leadership and departmental teams, the sport leaders themselves and all of year seven who seemed to be having a great time!

Not the best pic in the world: Sue Renshell, AVDC Chair & Rotary Club member, Gerry Bluck, President of the Buckingham Inner Wheel and Chris Sutton, President of the Rotary Club of Buckingham - as we assessed the international presentations.

Monday, 28 May 2018

#ShopBuckingham #LoveBuckingham #PlasticFreeBuckingham

Last Thursday evening, I welcomed and chaired a meeting of the local retail traders, convened by Mary Simons of Finca El Monte. It was well attended with nearly two dozen people there. The aim was to reboot the Buckingham Traders Association and look for ways to get more people spending more money in our retail shops.
It was a lively discussion, with inputs on developing a new local discount scheme, using social media to boost the footfall in the town and plans afoot to make Buckingham (single use) plastic free. And lots of other ideas were discussed too from new festivals to popup shops etc. Notes were taken by Sharon Cook from Yuzzamatuzz and these will be broadcast back to all the traders.

It was a positive meeting and I am confident that more traders will be there next time, with a smaller group taking the ideas discussed forward. I will offering what support I can and I would expect all Town Councillors to be equally supportive of making our retail centre even more vibrant and sustainable into the future.

Remember: please shop local as much as you can!

Rainbow fun!

I was invited to support the Bourton Meadow Academy school with their fund raising rainbow fun run last Thursday - and what great time I had! There was such excitement and good spirit amongst all the pupils, the teachers, the parents and all who were involved. People ask me if I am enjoying being Mayor for a second year. I think these pictures answer that question!

(I was in the middle of that colour explosion!)

Thanks to Nina Stockhill for the pics.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Law Clinic: win/win/win/win for Buckingham

I guess I ought to have known all about this: but did you know that about 10 law students at the University of Buckingham are trained each year by Citizens Advice so that they can offer 'gateway' advice on legal matters from a Law Clinic that operates out of the UoB building on the London Road?

It is a win/win/win/win all round - students gain skills, Citizens Advice increase capacity, local people get more help and the University gets better qualified graduates. Such a brilliant scheme!

I found out all about yesterday, on my visit to the Law School where I met Professor Susan Edwards - Dean of Law, Ms Christina King - Manager, Citizens Advice, Aylesbury Vale, Mr Thomas Cottew - LLB undergraduate/Citizens Advice gateway assessor, Mrs Julie O'Shea - Professional Skills Administrator, Mr Dean Jones - Development Manager, Mrs Nicola Ellison – Law Admissions Administrator, Dr Patricia Covarrubia – Senior Law Lecturer in Intellectual Property and EU Law, Ms Meg Pettit – Law School Admissions and Media Officer.

Here is a photo (with Julie and Nicola - thanks to Meg for the pic) which although it looks like I have sunk a bottle of gin, I really had not! And above that is a more detailed picture of the noticeboard detailing some of the activities of the Law Clinic run in association with Citizens Advice.

And please be aware that if you know of a young person who is thinking of studying law, the Law School offer a 'be a law student for a day' service for any person who wants to have an experience to help them make up their mind.

From a 2016 newsletter a bit more explanation

RAF 100

Julie and I attended the annual reception at RAF Halton on Wednesday evening. Sadly there was no flypast (mechanical problems I understand) but we were treated to a wonderful rendition of the Evening Hymn and Sunset march by the local volunteer RAF band while the officers stood to attention. All the more poignant as the RAF celebrates 100 years and this being the year in which we commemorate 100 years since the end of WW1

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Royal Wedding Flags

In case you missed this in town last Saturday, the Town Council celebrated the Royal Wedding by raising the Union Flag next to the Town Council flag. Thanks to Katharine McElligott for doing the hoisting and the photo!

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

In loving memory

I have just returned from the wake following the funeral of Claire Stuchbury, former Mayoress of Buckingham. Beautiful words were spoken by Jack & Sean, her two sons, and Robin her husband of 32 years. Their eulogies were heartfelt, poignant and endearing. They talked about a woman who never spoke ill of anyone, had a rock solid moral compass and made sure she savoured every moment of her (too short) life. And all three made us laugh as well, as Claire would certainly have wanted. The parish church was packed with people from across the world who came to support the family, and honour and celebrate Claire's life. Our town has lost one of our own and one of our most wonderful citizens. Rest in peace, Claire.

Monday, 21 May 2018

BAFA: does what it says on the tin!

I love the idea of Buckingham Art For All. The group exists to support everyone who is an artist, aspires to be an artist, just beginning to be an artist, is thinking about dabbling in some art or who just likes art (or whatever!)... They are just such an inclusive group and add (in my view) to the 'Imagination Quotient' of the town. Our collective #ImQ goes up when BAFA put on an exhibition!

So here is the exhibition in the Woolpack's Cote over the weekend: making art accessible to all. Such a glorious event and such wonderful art. I hope you got a chance to see the art: some beautiful pieces on display!

RAF Halton Freedom Parade

Aylesbury Council awarded RAF Halton the freedom to march with bayonets drawn through the streets of Aylesbury in 1956. They have celebrated this freedom in Aylesbury ever since. Julie and I were fortunate the be present at this years march past. We had precision marching and and an amazing military band to enjoy. There was also a fly past of a Douglas C-47 Dakota aircraft as part of the celebrations.

Sorry for the pics: they are not my best. I didn't feel it was quite right to be photographing the assembled troops while we were there to witness their presence in the town. I have copied the programme below too.

And I did not get a pic of the aircraft as it flew over - but here is one similar! (With thanks to 'Aircraft Nut' blog)

And here is a pic just provided by Sue Carpenter (Aylesbury Town Mayor's Assistant & PA to the Town Clerk) of me belting out Jerusalem! Thank you Sue.

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...