Friday 25th October - I was one of four judges at the Serve goes Dancing competition at Rushden Goods Shed, in which 16 contestants competed in 3 dances. It was a great success with all seats sold, compered by Mike Neville and organised by Jenny Standen the evening raised in excess of £12,000.
Thursday 31st October -We had the official opening of the Nightingale Way Play Area. The area was well received by the parents and children who turned up to see the opening. I was pleased to be joined at the opening with staff from HAGS who supplied the equipment as well as the Town Clerk, Deputy Mayor and other councillors along with some of the Council Staff
Saturday 2nd November- The Mayoress and I attended the Northampton Mayor's Gala Dinner at the Marriott Hotel in Northampton, along with many other chains. There was a raffle and auction on the night, raising money for his charity 'Lowdown' which supports young people in Northampton.
Monday 4th November - Both the Town Clerk and myself, fully robed, welcomed the 1st Higham Ferrers Rainbows and some of their leaders to the Council Chamber as part of Parliamentary Week to tell them about the Mayor and Council roles in the town. We let them try on the Chains of Office and had them do their own election and voting. They all seemed to find it interesting and have a good time, asking lots of questions. Maybe we have some future Councillors!
Tuesday 5th November – I attended the United Charities meeting at Wilson Browne. The litter working party decided to organise a poster competition with the local schools to promote a cleaner Higham Ferrers. The Assistant Clerk contacted the schools and got a response from both the Junior and Infant Schools in Wharf Road and a few submitted posters from Henry Chichele Primary. The Leader of the Council, Cllr Pam Whiting, sponsored the prizes and Colemans kindly donated a prize for a poem that was wonderfully written by a local school child and handed in with the entries. After the working party had judged them it was arranged to visit the schools to announce the winners, and present the prizes, where I was accompanied by Cllr Pam Whiting and Assistant Clerk Alicia Schofield. On Thursday 7th November I attended the Junior School to present a prize to the winner Matthew, runners up Ethan and Evie and a special prize to the writer of the poem, Christian. Then on Friday 8th November I went to the Infant School and presented a prize to the winner Ava with runners up Ella and Eva. Finally on Tuesday 11th November I attended Henry Chichele where the winner was SJ and runners up were Maria and Jack. All those who participated were given a Town Council Pencil. All the entrants will be shown on the website and around the town from January, helping to launch our Keep Higham Ferrers Tidy campaign.
Sunday 10th November – This year our annual Remembrance Day Service fell on Sunday 10th, where the Mayoress and I joined hundreds of people on the Market Square, including the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Dr Martin Gaskell, Chairman of East Northants Council Cllr Dudley Hughes, many Councillors, Bedesmen, Youth Groups, former Mayors and many others, for a service led by the Reverent for St Mary's Michelle Dalliston and Hope Methodist Church Reverend Lesley Dinham. David Hudson called the wreath layers out and the parade marshal Major David Granfield ensured the service went to plan and on time. We had hundreds of attendees and I hope all felt that we did the fallen of Higham Ferrers justice with this moving display of respect and remembrance.
Monday 11th November - The Town Clerk, Deputy Mayor, some of our Councillors, staff and a few members of the public attended a small ceremony conducted by myself at the War Memorial where some readings were made and the 11am 2 minute silence observed by ourselves and the small gathering that joined us.
Wednesday 12th November - I went round the shops in the High Street and Market Square to collect signed petition forms which I delivered last month regarding the request for extended parking from 1 hr to 2 hrs on the Co-op side of the High Street.
Thursday 14th November – We were lucky to have the BBC Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge come through the town. The Town Clerk, Deputy Mayor and myself took the opportunity to put our full robes and chains on to cheer along the team with at least 200 others lining the streets of Higham Ferrers Myself, the Town Clerk and Dep Mayor turned out in full attire along with around 200 others. I also had an interview with Radio Inspiration in the Council Chamber to talk about the role of the Mayor, the Town, our events and the Council.
Sunday 17th November – I helped the Tourism Group in putting up the Christmas trees in the town ready for the big switch on.
Wednesday 20th November – I had a second chance to attend the offices at BBC Radio Northampton and join Helen Blaby on her show to promote the Sparkle and Farmers Market.
Thursday 21st November – I attended the funeral of Bedesman Adrian Lord.
Saturday 23rd November – It was the day of the Christmas Sparkle. I started at 7am helping with the road closures and mounting advertising boards, then at 10.15am met the Bedesmen at the Working Men's Club where the Tourism Group each year invite them for a cup of tea and mince pie. Due to issues with the stage the opening was delayed by almost an hour, but we did officially open the event and Rev Michelle led with a prayer before I made a short speech. I was then generously presented with gifts for my next raffle by the fair organisers. Fynnius Fogg, a sixties cover band, kicked off the stage entertainment and showed us they can put on a great show. I'm looking forward to welcoming them to my next fundraiser on Feb 1st in the Working Men's Club. Tickets are on sale from the Town Hall now at £10 each (limited to 120). We had a busy but enjoyable day visiting as many of the stalls as we could, spending lots on the tombola and talking to many people as possible. We discovered some attendees had come from as far as South Yorkshire, Nottingham, Grantham and Stamford, some for the first time but most have been coming for many years. Despite a few hitches the weather wasn't as bad as forecast until the rain set in at around 4.30pm, just before I was accompanied by the Mayoress, Mace Bearer, Santa Claus and May Queen Sophia and her Prince and Princess on the stage in front of hundreds of people to lead the countdown to the lights switch on. At 5pm the lights went on, a cheer went up, and the snow machine made everyone look very festive! Many thanks to everyone who worked so hard for this tremendous event, and to Mike Neville who despite the late start with the entertainment got everything back on track. My thanks also to Kath (the Mayoress') daughter, who in the afternoon manned the gazebo where she raised awareness and money for one of my chosen charity, the Encephalitis Society. I raised £84 and was very pleased.
Sunday 24th November – The Mayoress and I both attended the service at St Mary's Church to witness and support Reverend Michelle Dalliston being made the official Interim Vicar by the Archdeacon and Bishop, which was warmly applauded by a large congregation. This will keep Michelle at St Mary's for three years in total and this was very well received as she is an asset to the town.