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Mayor’s July Crier Article

Our Mayfair was sorely missed again this year especially by the young people who were hoping to play a central part in the festivities, but other casualties were the Glastonbury Festival, the North Devon Show, and Ocean Fest, so we were sadly in line with the recommendations which we must remember were put in place for our safety. Now things are slowly opening up once more, we must be cautious and not think this awful scourge has finally disappeared. On 6th May however we still managed to stage our traditional reading of the Proclamation from the steps of the Town Hall.  Our Town Crier shook the buildings with his dulcet tones, the Town Clerk read the Proclamation and after our outgoing Mayor, Cllr Allin exhorted us to continue with our post Covid rejuvenation and support local shops and businesses.  Finally, one of our Macebearers Tim Cloke delivered a most poignant speech recalling our illustrious heritage.

The following week I had the privilege of declaring the new Refill Shop open. We have yet another gem in our midst, and I encourage everyone to pop in to see what great things Bruce and Michael have in store. Every day there are new lines to tempt us, and I’m certainly becoming a regular. I can resist anything except temptation!

On the 26th in the Town Hall, the Council Planning Committee convened the first face-to-face meeting to be held for over a year. It was good to see what people really looked like in the flesh once more!   During the lockdown Zoom has been an absolute godsend for those of us who needed to continue with meetings while observing lockdown, but I do hope this easing of rules is the sign of things to come.

As reported in last month’s CRIER, Val and Peter Morris have dedicated a vast amount work over many years to the continued existence of our Town Museum. In recognition of these unstinting efforts, and being proposed for the award by a member of the community, the Town Council voted that they be awarded the Howe Plate for service to the community this year. It was lovely to meet with them both in the gardens of Castle Hill to present the plate and the certificate on behalf of the Town and Council.  Val and Peter were both surprised and delighted, and were grateful for the recognition.  As if joining in the celebration, the sun made a special guest appearance which made it the perfect opportunity to sit in the beautiful garden and sample the delights now on offer from ‘The Fork ’n Feast’.

Now seems to be the appropriate time to remember our wonderful local shops who were able to remain open throughout these past months.  They were absolute Stalwarts…. Our local Champions.  Our best way of thanking them is to continue to ‘shop local’ and even more than most of us already do.  Great Torrington has a well-deserved and envied reputation for the variety and diversity of choice available to shoppers and wouldn’t it be a huge lost opportunity if we didn’t build on this as a key part of our Town’s recovery and revitalisation?

Town Tidy is now a well-established movement thanks largely to Councillor Allin and many other determined towns folk. It will continue to enhance our streets but why, oh why do people insist on hanging dog poo bags in trees and bushes when we are already providing and emptying proper disposal points?  This habit is absolutely disgusting and must be discouraged.  Please.

After the heartache of Mayfair, we are now looking forward with anticipation to some late summer street events.  It’s a bit early to know what form they will be taking, but I know there are plots and plans afoot.  Who knows, so watch this space, and remember we have ‘The Mayflower’ bonfire to cheer to at the end of August.

Cllr Doug Smith, Mayor of Great Torrington

07970 636199