Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Rich tapestries of life

I popped into the library to view the Armistice 100 Tapestry Exhibition this afternoon. It is very much worth a visit if you have not already been! Lots of amazing artwork and very thought provoking images. Do go and see!

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Do you protect the pumpkins?

Buckingham Primary School invited me to spend time with the pupils in their Foundation, 1 and 2 years. It was so much fun! I was intrigued by the questions that the youngest group had put together. Indeed I think they asked the best questions both off the cuff as well as prepared. Years 1 and 2 had some brilliant ideas about what they would like to see in the town to make it even better for them. And I was delighted to learn about how much of the town they already knew and enjoyed. I hope that amongst these bright and sparkling students are the councillors and mayors of the future!

I spent about 50 minutes with years 1 and 2 - and about 30 minutes with the Foundation classes. I asked them what they liked about Buckingham and what they would like to see happen to make the town event better. They had some lovely ideas from having a beach, to a shop that would provide chocolate dinosaurs, and some even wanted a real dinosaur or dragon in the town. There was lots of interest in having a slide in the swimming pool and a splash park somewhere. The children loved the events in the town especially the fair. They also like the Christmas parade and the lights switch on.

The questions ranged from how old I was, to what does a Mayor do, through to how I became Mayor. But I think the best question was the one I put at the top of this blog! When I asked them what they thought the Mayor did, many of the answers centred on keeping the town safe and happy. (I wish I could do that more...!)

Anyway, this was a wonderful morning and thanks to all the children, teachers and assistants and especially to Kelly Brookes who set this up. (There will be some more pics to come once Kelly as passed them as OK - but meanwhile please feast you eyes on these words and drawings from the children in answer to my questions!)

This is a new beach with palm trees

This is the library - one of the things this group liked

A welcome to the new University Students

Yesterday evening, I popped into the University of Buckingham Matriculation ceremony. This is the moment when all the new students of the University are welcomed to the institution. I was there to represent the town and our welcome to them as well. It was lovely to hear the warmth of the welcome from Sir Anthony Seldon and his colleagues to these fresh new learners, on the cusp of their lives to come.

Indeed I was moved by Anthony's declaration that not only did he care, deeply care about each and everyone of them, but that he loved them too. And he will be delighting in their academic journey ahead.

We do have a really rather special university in our town with some amazing academics, who are profoundly committed to the learning and well being of their students.

A quick selfie as the church was filling up with students.

The University Mace on proud display

Monday, 29 October 2018

County Council Civic Service

Cllr Netta Glover, Chairman of the County Council, hosted her Civic Service in the All Saints Church in Wing yesterday. It was attended by a goodly number of Mayors, Chairs, Leaders, the High Sheriff and the Lord Lieutenant, of course and many other civic leaders. Julie and I were honoured to represent Buckingham and the people of our historic town at the service.


Citizens Lifeline

Fortunately most people reading this will never need to consult the local Citizens Advice services. But in the course of 2017, over 5000 people did, and many of them more than once. And for those people it was a lifeline: a way of helping them manage often in desperate times. For me it is good to know that CA is there for all those people and it's a comfort to know that the advice would be there if I ever needed it. So it was a pleasure to attend the AGM of the service last week in Winslow and support their work.

Below are some pics from the pages of briefing that documents the impact of the service. Effectively it is its annual report. It makes for moving reading. However on the other hand, it was also reported at the AGM that the service made a loss of over £25k last year, a financial position which is unsustainable. More money has to be found for the service because for sure the needs for the advice are mounting.

Put in simple terms, many of the authorities who have traditionally given money to help pay for the CA services, have cut back on their grants. Money to fill to these gaps is becoming harder and harder to obtain as many other charities are chasing this money too. It is not looking rosy.

All this means that I am most glad to have made BACAB, the local charity that raises money for the local CA (especially its home visiting service), one of the three I am supporting during my second Mayoral year. So if you like to help the local CA, you can donate to the Mayor's Charities (see the panel next to this blog >>>), or direct to BACAB ( or direct to the CA (

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Fields and boxes of Poppies

On Tuesday, I was honoured to be present at this year's launch of the local Royal British Legion's poppy collection at the Old Gaol. Watch out for the picture in this week's paper hopefully. Meanwhile it good to meet many people who have been collecting for years and who proudly display their poppies in remembrance of all those injured and killed as a consequence of war. Please be sure to make your donation to this worthy cause.

This of course is a very special year: it is (as everyone must know by now) a 100 years since the armistice was declared at the end of the First World War in 1918. It was a terrible war, as all wars are of course. My grandfather, who lost his older brother, would never talk about his experiences of the war. I know that many people reading this will have similar connections to this conflict.

May we all use our memories and reflections on these last 100 years and redouble our efforts to continue to build a peaceful and harmonious world where our differences are resolved without resorting violence, harm and death. We all have a part to play in this, I believe.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Rotary Club: 50th Anniversary

Julie and I spent Friday evening in the company of local Rotarians and visitors from many other places to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Buckingham group. It was a delightful occasion with many fine speeches and warm applause. They are, of course, always on the lookout for new members. So if you are interested, please get in touch with them. They seem to be a most welcoming, happy, generous and purposeful bunch of people!

District Governor David Ford offering a speech of thanks and congratulations to the Buckingham Rotary club.

The pennants around the room, I think, are all from visitors to the club over the years or from where club members have visited other clubs in the UK and abroad. It was an impressive display of friendship across the world.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Celebrating the University Library

I was given a most illuminating and inspiring tour of the libraries at the University of Buckingham on Monday morning by Peta Yates, the Librarian. And in case you did not know, anyone can become a reader at the library and use many of their facilities. There is much history to be see and some wonderful books to browse! There is also a local history collection that would be a goldmine for any local historians. Do go and see!

You can check out what books and journals etc they have here:

Meanwhile, here are a few pics of my visit.

The Edward Legg collection of local history

What was the chapel at the Franciscan Nunnery on London Road 

Old law books (I think!)

Some graffiti from when it was the stables of the Bucks Yeomanry!

The High Sheriff's Justice Service

Julie and I spent most of Sunday participating in the Justice Service hosted and organised by the Buckinghamshire High Sheriff, Professor Ruth Farwell. It was a glorious occasion where the Parish Church of All Saints in High Wycombe was filled with Judges, Magistrates, Recorders, Mayors, Chairs of Councils, the Clergy and High Sheriffs from nearby counties as well and the Chief Constable among many others.

"The Justice historically marks the beginning of the legal year and is a celebration of the work of the legal profession in the county as they seek to ensure that justice is done"

Below are some pics of the event and the lunch beforehand. I have also copied across the programme as I think some might be interested to read the whole piece.

Charlotte Dunn, Under Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, holding the mace presented to the Under Sheriff in 1992 to celebrate a millennium of the office of Sheriff.

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...