This is my last Mayor's report of the year!
On November 27th we managed to put together a table of ten to support the Rushden Mayor's charity event – an Italian Night at Pizzeria Venezia in Rushden to raise money for his Mayoral charity MIND. This was very well attended with many local chains, friends of the Mayor and Town Councillors.
On Tuesday 3rd December both the Mayoress and myself, along with the Rushden Mayor and Mayoress, were pleased to be invited to the annual ''Sing for Serve'' event at Park Road Baptist Church in Rushden. Along with trustees and staff from SERVE we enjoyed Rushden's over 60's silver band who provided the music along with members of Park Road Baptist Church, the Ferrers School and South End School, all compered by Mike Neville. The venue was full and the audience very much enjoyed joining in with the Carols.
On Wednesday 4 December I attended the Wilson Browne Solicitors offices to enjoy the United Charities Coffee Morning where mince pies, sausage rolls, biscuits, tea, coffee and sherry were all on offer. After the refreshments, I presented Christmas gifts to the Pressland Pensioners and thanked them all for the invitation, along with sincere thanks to the ladies for providing and serving the refreshments and wished them all a happy Christmas.
On Thursday 5th December the Mayoress and I attended Colonel Wendt's Wing Commander's Reception at RAF Alconbury. We were both greeted, as were all guests, with a guard of honour. We were welcomed by the Colonel and his wife Christina and alongside a group of local chains and crew from RAF Alconbury we enjoyed entertainment from a choir and plenty to eat and drink. It was a good opportunity for us to further strengthen the great relationship we as a Town Council have with the visiting US Armed Forces at RAF Alconbury.
On Friday 6th December we both attended the Shrubbery care home here in Higham Ferrers for their annual Christmas Fair, where there were plenty of guests, lots of stalls, and a special appearance by Father Christmas! The house was well decorated for the season and it was clear the staff had put a lot of hard work into it.
On Sunday 8th December we attended the Freemason's annual Christmas Carol Service at Peterborough Cathedral. The Cathedral was full of members of the Freemasons, Civic Guests, and many members of the public. The choir were absolutely amazing and much enjoyed by all those I spoke to. The service was conducted by the Very Reverend Christopher Dalliston, the husband of my Mayor's chaplain Reverend Michelle Dalliston, who is also the Reverend at St Mary's Church in Higham Ferrers. After the service we were offered wine, orange juice and mince pies, some of which came from the Market Square Bakery in Higham! A wonderful event that we thoroughly enjoyed.
On Monday 9th December I attended the Higham Ferrers Nursery and Junior School to judge a competition where the children and teachers teamed up to decorate their classroom doors with a Christmas theme. There were 14 doors to judge in total, and the designs showed a very high standard of skill and imagination. After being given a tour of the doors by the Head Girl and Boy I happily awarded the prize to a classroom who had decorated their door with a 'Polar Express' theme.
On Wednesday 11th December the Mayoress and I attended the Raunds Mayor's Family Carol Service at The Methodist Church. This was a real family service involving the Manor School Quartet, the St Peter's CofE Academy, Park Infants and Windmill Primary students who all performed brilliantly in front of a full house. A really great family event. Afterwards the Civic guests were invited by the Mayor Cllr Richard Levell and the Mayoress Magdalena Levell back to their house for refreshments, which was very welcome.
On Thursday 12th December we both attended the Higham Ferrers Gateway Club Christmas Party at Higham Ferrers Working Men's Club. This is an annual event supported by the Swivel Club where they put on a Christmas Party for adults from 19 yrs old with learning disabilities. The event was ran by Steve and Pip Willmott with some great support from others. There was disco dancing, rock and roll from Johnny Red and a visit from Santa Claus who had a sack of presents to give out. We also enjoyed great food from the Swedish Kitchen.
On Friday 13th December the Mayoress and I, along with 21 others, attended the annual Christmas Council lunch at the Stanwick Hotel. We enjoyed a very nice lunch, in such a nice venue and with such good company.
On Saturday 14th December the Mayoress and I attended the St Neots Civic Carol Service with Mayor Cllr Gordon Thorpe and Deputy Mayor Cllr Christine Green of St Neots. We joined other Civic guests from Peterborough, Kettering, Huntingdon and Godmanchester. There were three local schools attending who entertained us with some wonderful singing.
On Sunday 15th December it was time for the annual Town Carol Service at St Mary's here in Higham Ferrers. The Mayoress and I led a parade from the Town Hall (headed up by Bedesman Geoff Moore standing in as Mace Bearer) and welcomed guests from some of the local areas, such as the Mayor and Mayoress of Rushden Cllr Cesare Marinaro and his wife Sabina and NCC Chairman Cllr Stephen Legg and his consort Liz Cox. Town Clerk Sandra Mitcham, Deputy Mayor Cllr Tina Reavey and Town Councillors Angela Gardner, Bert Jackson, Sheila Mantle, Peter Tomas, Nigel Brown and Barry Spencer joined us for the service alongside some past Mayors and Mayoresses and the Bedesmen. The service was conducted by Reverend Michelle Dalliston and Father Tom Mclean, who we heard is leaving St Mary's for a post at Cambridge University in January, so congratulations and good wishes to him. The choir were amazing and it seemed everyone enjoyed the readings and the Carols, along with the mulled wine and mince pies which most of the congregation stayed to enjoy afterwards.
I have a busy run upcoming in the New Year as I enter the final months of my Mayoral year. Come and join me at one of my upcoming events in 2020.
Saturday 21st December - Christmas Farmers Market, 9am to 1pm, on the Market Square in Higham Ferrers where on the Mayor's stand you can win a Christmas hamper! Tickets will be £1 and the prize will be drawn at around 12.30pm so don't miss out!
You can also purchase tickets for the Mayor's next fundraising event: Fynnius Fogg (60'S cover band) at Higham Ferrers Working Men's Club on Saturday 1st February. Tickets are £10 and available from the Town Hall. Reserve your ticket now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01933 312075.
On Christmas Eve come and join the Raunds Temperance band and U3A Choir for Christmas Carols on the Market Square from 7pm to 8pm, organised by the Swivel Club.