Monday, 27 August 2018

Talented Buckingham: Bandjam 2018

The market square was filled (eventually) as it always is on the Sunday before the August bank holiday with a great crowd to listen to a line up of locally based and loved bands, second to none! Admittedly the show started at 1pm with a fair degree of wetness from the sky but the opening band treated us to some great favourites that even got me dancing! (The anti-rain Mayoral dancing) eventually worked its magic and by around 6pm and the more soluble residents of the town decided they could brave it and joined the festivities as the show continued.

The Town Crier said this was going to be best Bandjam ever and I think he was right: the musical mix was everything we could want (thanks to Lee Maloney, impressario extraordinaire and now landlord of the New Inn) and whilst the sound had it 'moments' the overall sound presentation was fabulous with brilliant production and staging by Strawberry Fieldz. And the bands were just wonderful of course: we have such talent in this town!

Thanks to Amanda, Town Council events coordinator and all the team from the Town Council who made this possible - including Cllr Terry Bloomfield, Chair of the events committee and all the councillors who helped tidy up the square afterwards (although rubbish was minimal!)

A few pics (mine and thanks to Cllr Robin Stuchbury and Amanda)...

The moon shone on the last act of the day: Red Bullets who played some of my favourite tracks including Rocket Man! (Gosh that takes me back!)

The Town Crier heralds the beginning!

It was a little wet at the beginning...! (Lee in the middle and Mayoress on the right)

Great line up

It did brighten up eventually - that is sunlight on the building!

And blue sky!

Which led into a warm evening with some chillin' music

But the rain was never going to put off the town's stalwarts!

Talented Buckingham: the University students and staff

Last Wednesday I had the treat to attend an afternoon of music and poetry from across the world. There was such an array of talent. I am only surprised that more local people were not there to enjoy it - it was an open ticket. It was good to see the Young Carers group having a picnic there, led by Margo Jackson. Here are a few pics and the overall programme.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Plastic Freed Ducks in Buckingham

Yesterday was the annual Duck race at Tanlaw Mill on the University Campus. Such a wonderful carefree event that saw (I reckon) at least a 150 people watching the flotilla of plastic ducks glide down the mill stream. My task was to judge the artistic merit of the decorated ducks in three age categories: 1-5, 6-12 & 13+. It was a tough call, but someone has to do it. I selected a top three from each age category and then chose the winner. And the winners were:
  • 1-5 years old: Henry Bartlett (for the exuberance of his design applied with such youthful abandon)
  • 6-12 years old: Hope Lawler (for cramming as much glitter as she could, and the world always needs more glitter)
  • 13+: Marianne Collier (for majestically turning her duck into a Chinese dragon)
And the overall winner of the duck race itself was Dr Frances Robinson's plastic bird. Everyone received prizes from Crafty Little Monsters, Gazzeria, the Woolpack and Amazon respectively. 

The University managed to raise £553 for UBSOS (University of Buckingham Supporting Overseas Schooling). The UBSOS will be looking at a project for this money and it will probably be to an orphanage in India. (Thanks to Anne Matsuoka for all these details: it all went by in a yellow and glittery blur for me!) And thanks to Dean Jones for most of the photographs below! 

The ducks on route to the launch!

They are launched - with help from a large duck in a canoe!

Here are some of the 1-5 entries with the winner in the centre, front.

The top 3 in the 6-12 category with the winner at the front

The top 3 in the 13+ category - Polduck (with a map of Cornwall), the one I labelled Mamma Miya and the winner of course - the Chinese dragon

Professor Robinson and her winning duck being presented with her prize by Professor John Clapham

Tino Santonocito, the University’s International Business Development Manager acted as MC for the event. Here he is next to me (deep in judging thought).

More ducks!

And I quite liked this shot of a judge in action!! :-)

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Journalism at UoB

Yesterday I was invited to be a live subject for a simulated press conference for some university journalism students. I had met many of them before over the course of their studies and I was most charmed that Simon Watts, visiting lecturer and freelance broadcast journalist asked me to go along. I was grilled for about half an hour on a wide range of subjects - all off the record of course!

Thanks to Simon for this pic. And below this he has generously offered the slides he used to open up his lecture. Thanks! They may be interesting to some readers.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Thames Valley Partnership

The Thames Valley Partnership was set up 25 years ago by the former Chief Constable, Sir Charles Pollard. The organisation is still going very strong, providing a range of services including victim support, restorative justice conferencing, support to offenders to help reduce criminality and technology to assist victims of domestic abuse to stay safe. (I recommend you have a look at the App called 'Bright Sky' - an ingenious app for assisting people prevent harm from domestic violence)

It is a most impressive outfit. I was invited to meet with the Patsy Townsend yesterday morning (after a contact was made via a local resident who works for the Partnership). It was great to learn more about this organisation which is providing such important and vital services across Thames Valley.

The Otters Return

The Town Council organised a small get together to celebrate and 'unveil' the installation of the new wooden Otters in Bourton Park yesterday. It was a sunny afternoon and it was great to see these new sculptures created by Andrew Stentiford (of Knotted Wood Chainsaw Carving). AJS helped to put the sculptures in place. And it was all organised by our Estates Manager, Lee and the Environment Committee chaired by Cllr Gateley.

The old otters had sadly rotted from the inside and broke up on removal. Let's hope these new otters last for many years to come. They certainly look pretty robust and well preserved.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

In the zone!

I had a most enjoyable hour or so visiting and supporting the Charity Fun Day at PK Kids Zone today. I had not been there before (mostly because my children are well past the age for this fantastic gem of a place). I had a go at having my hand modelled in wax by WaxyHandz, tried the tombola and raffle... and (get this) I managed to get selfies with Skye and Marshall!

PK Kids Zone was raising money for and supporting the Puzzle Centre today. Indeed, it was great to hear how the whole place is designed around being a fun and safe space for all children, including those with particular physical or psychological needs. (If you have a small child, have you been?)

It was also fabulous to hear how PK Kids Zone is working with other early years services and businesses in the town, supporting each other to remain in place and develop: helping young parents manage the logistics and stress of bringing up young people. Is there room for some more sharing of ideas and support I wonder..? I think there might be... but what do you think? If you would like to be involved in this idea... please email me (

Paw Patrol selfies!

Here is joint pic with Louise, one of the helpers and Skye & Marshall

I wish I was small enough...

Lesley and Louise running the tombola

Sedi and Jasmine from WaxyHandz

Pic by Louise of me dipping my hand in the molten wax

And thanks to Jasmine for this pic - compare the hands!

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...