Tuesday, 12 February 2019

The Mighty Women of Buckingham

Last Thursday, Julie and I had the enormous pleasure of attending the opening of the 'Mighty Women' exhibition at the Old Gaol. (It is still on - do go and see!) This has been put together by Lauren Hutton and her colleagues to honour and celebrate the achievements of local women over the ages. You can find out more from this link

And one of the featured women is Professor Edwards who is working with the Town Council on the joint TC/Uni Pontio Group. I never knew all this about her!

Here is the short speech I gave to welcome the exhibition to the town:
I am going to say only a very few words to offer my support and praise to this exhibition and give my sincere thanks to all those who have made it possible. I am reminded of a quote:
"Continue to speak out against all forms of injustice to yourselves and others, and you will set a mighty example for your children and for future generations" (Bernice King)
Everyone here is a leader in some way - as a parent, or as a manager, or as an artist, or as a politician or as an active member of our Buckingham Community or whatever. We all have a responsibility to show girls and boys, what it means to be mighty. 
And being mighty for me, means helping oneself and others shape dreams and then use our abilities to make those ambitions come true.  
And because we live in an unfair world: where people of colour like Ms King and her father, where women, where people with disabilities and many others are discriminated against we should always look to take positive action to bring more fairness to the world. So that all people, regardless of who or what they are, get to dream dreams and make all their ambitions happen. 
So this exhibition is just positively fantastic because by celebrating the mighty women of Buckingham, this show shines a brilliant light on how these women have helped make Buckingham the town that it now is.  
And may this light, continue to shine and glow for all the girls and women in the town so that they too can feel empowered to add their spirit, their imagination, their energy and their light to this wonderful place.  


Twice a year, the University extends a big welcome its new students to offer and assure them all of the support, guidance and connections available from the institution. Because the University has such a manageable size, this welcome is most warm and personable. I attended one a few months ago and this time (on 18 January) the University kindly gave me a slot after the Vice Chancellor's words to welcome all the students to our wonderful town.

I urged them to all to get to know us and partake of all the great opportunities here for them to enjoy - ranging from our green spaces and walks, our events, our shops and our hostelries. I congratulated them on making such a insightful choice of coming to Buckingham!

Fresh from unpacking boxes all day long (I had moved house the previous day), here I am addressing the students flanked by the University Heads of Schools and senior staff. Thanks to the University for the permission to use the pic.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Barabra Farmer, Mace Bearer Extraordinaire!

Yesterday lunchtime, I was delighted to participate in the regular Well Street Church's networking lunch at the invitation of the Town Council's Mace Bearer, Mrs Barbara Farmer. Barbara gave a presentation to the group on her 32 years as Mace Bearer for the Town Mayor. It was wonderful to hear her stories and about her experience of being in this role. Barbara treated us all with some excerpts from her scrap book.

And all this was rounded off with an amazing lunch provided by the volunteers at the church. (If you have never been, I highly recommend the company and the cuisine!)

Below, I have reprinted the speech I gave last May, when the Town Council honoured her dedication and length of service.

Address for Barbara

Barbara Farmer was appointed to become the Town’s Mace Bearer on 2 November 1987. She has faithfully served the Town and Council since then, a period now of over 30 years. And I have the most enormous pleasure of recognising, celebrating and thanking Barbara for her dedication and long service. 

Barbara’s role is a ceremonial and voluntary one - but one that she has done with exemplary skill, professionalism and panache. I know she will remember for example, accompanying the Town Mayor, Cllr Derrick Isham on the visit by HM the Queen in 1996. And how wonderful a day that was. 

The Mace is priceless. It is made of silver gilt, and dates from the time of Charles II. On the raised flat top are the Royal Stuart arms. And between the letters at the base is an inscription as follows: “In the 12th year of the reign of our sovereign lord King Charles II by the grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland 1660”. 

So I know I am glad I do not have the responsibility of carrying such a precious piece of history! I would probably have dropped it my now. More than once...

I should add Barbara is effectively my bodyguard at events such as these as the mace was originally a weapon of battle. Fortunately I have not had reason to call on her martial arts skills so far, but I have no doubt that she would despatch any combatant swiftly and without mercy should anyone threaten the Mayor of Buckingham. Indeed I know that Barbara has battled the elements of inclement weather on many occasions with grace, stoicism and determination.

Barbara is from a local family and is one the stalwarts of our solid Buckingham community. She is of course, the first woman to hold this position. And I am told, this was controversial at the time she was appointed by the then Mayor, Cllr Mordue after being nominated by Cllr Isham. Heaven knows why gender should have mattered but I am so glad that times have moved on much since then.

And so here we are, 30 years on Barbara. I am guessing that when you signed up for this role, you may not have expected to be here all this time later. But you are and Buckingham Town Council, Buckingham people and me as the current Mayor are extraordinarily grateful. Thank you so much for your long and dedicated service. 

In honour of your service, here is small gift for you to wear. For those who cannot see it is a lapel brooch miniature of the mace itself. Thank you again.

Coffee, croissants and kuchen

I enjoyed some wonderful 'continental hospitality' with the Buckingham Twinning Association last Saturday morning. There are lots of brilliant twinning events coming up in 2019! Do keep track via their website.

Thanks to everyone who organised Saturday's most successful coffee morning.

Oliver Patrick Hilsdon RIP

Since becoming Mayor, I have attended several funerals as a representative of the Town Council and in honour of the lives well lived. Oli Hilsdon's funeral was the saddest of occasions. Hundreds of people filled St Bernadine's Church on Chandos Road at the end of January to mark the passing of this young man who died just shy of his 27th birthday.

We were all there to grieve his departure and pay tribute to his valiant, inspirational and popular spirit. My sincere condolences go to all his family, his friends and indeed the many people whose lives he had an impact upon. His memory will live on and Buckingham will remember this young man for decades to come. I am sure his courage and good nature will continue to inspire many.

RIP Oli.

Friday, 1 February 2019

Centenary Home Coming Charity Dinner Dance 16 Feb 2019

You are invited!

One hundred years ago, Buckingham kept the home fires burning to WELCOME HOME the demobbed soldiers after the Armistice. The Buckingham Town Mayor invites you to this 

Centenary Dance to Remember! 

So if you wondering how you might celebrate Valentine's Day this year - why not do it, remembering all the love for the soldiers returning from the Great War, whilst having an amazing time with excellent music and food.

Last year, we had some wonderful prizes to raffle off donated by local businesses and people... so we are looking for more of these this year. Please contact me if you would like to offer a prize - thank you!

I am most grateful to Ausra Glozeckaite-Mohandas who has done huge amount of work to bring all this together!

The Mighty Women of Buckingham

Last Thursday, Julie and I had the enormous pleasure of attending the opening of the 'Mighty Women' exhibition at the Old Gaol. (It...