On the 12th February, rain couldn’t disrupt the 1646 procession through the town, or dampen the spirits of the crowd who followed the event through to the firework display in South Street Carpark. What a great tradition this is and I was very pleased to play my part as Mayor. It was great to see people brave the weather to join in.
A few days later I joined the group of judges along with some members from the May Fair committee at GTS for the incredibly difficult task of choosing the Carnival Queen and attendants. Any of the contestants would have made a worthy Queen; however, we eventually agreed a winner in Phoebe Young as Carnival Queen, with Brooke Copp and Lily-Mai Rogers her attendants.
On the same day the May Queen and Crowner were announced at the Bluecoat School. This year we welcome Cadie Hewitt and Lola Stevens respectively. The other roles were decided as follows; Heralds: Regan Beer and Quinlan Dymond; Standard Bearer: Alex Williams; Attendants Jessica Braund, Bella North, Dynasty Harris, Alanna Clifton, Honey Huxtable, Mollie Mae Coysh, Lola North and Isabelle Vennall. I very much look forward to seeing them parade and play their respective parts on May Fair day 2022!
Throughout February we were hit by a number of storms in quick succession which caused disruption across the town in many ways. Our huge thanks to Utility services staff who worked round the clock in appalling conditions to restore power as quickly as they did, though inevitably many people had lengthy cuts.
A storm of an entirely different nature hit us when Russia decided to invade Ukraine to everyone’s disbelief and horror. With each news report new atrocities unfolded and the UK amongst other nations responded amazingly with immediate offers of support and help in many forms. At the Council meeting on the 3rd March, I called for a vigil of support for the Ukrainian People on the following Saturday night. We had very little time to organise this, but that made it even more poignant, as the People of Ukraine had even less time to organise themselves for the monstrous onslaught they are still enduring. At the vigil I drew attention to the similarity of those Ukrainian people to the ordinary ones in Russia, and even here in Great Torrington, and offered our moral and humanitarian support. The turnout was wonderful, for which I extend my thanks, and many people have approached me after the event to underline their support
I had the lovely task of announcing the winners of the Mayfair programme cover designs to the two chosen pupils at the Bluecoat School. A great “Well Done” to Dotty Scoynes (front cover) and Ava Dymond (back cover).
Castle Hill Business hub was officially opened on 4th March, when I was honoured to represent the town in the ribbon cutting Ceremony with Chief Executive and Chairman of Torridge District Council, Steve Hearse and Cllr Doug Busby respectively. This hub is available for anyone to use, and has all the facilities on hand and in house.
That same evening took me south to Okehampton for their Mayor’s Ball where I had the opportunity to meet with local Mayors from Barnstaple, Holsworthy, Northam as well as the Lord Mayor of Plymouth. It was noticeable and gratifying how many of them sang the praises of Great Torrington!
On the 5th of March the inaugural Craft, Food and Drink Fair took place over four venues across the town and was a resounding success, with over 70 tables on view. Lots of people fed back their appreciation and delight at the success, and asked for more!
I was also invited to meet with Emily Wapshott on Monday 7th March on what turned out to be a bitterly cold morning on Castle hill mound. Emily and two other archaeologists were conducting a non-invasive survey of the castle and surroundings in preparation for a potential dig this and next year. This would be an incredibly exciting prospect for the town as we are steeped in a rich heritage.
Finally, I should like to express my personal support as well as that shown by our towns people to the citizens of Ukraine in this unspeakable war. Our hearts and prayers are with you