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Mayors July Crier Article

I am pleased to say that at this year’s Annual Business meeting, I was re-elected as your Mayor for a second year. I was very honoured by the confidence councillors showed in me, and look forward to another even busier term of office now the Covid restrictions are easing. As a number of people have remarked, with only a single year in office it is difficult to come to terms with all that is involved in the role.

The Town’s historic Bowling club had beautiful weather for its open day, and I dropped in to find a good turnout already enjoying the event. Having never set foot on a green, I was reluctant to launch myself into a new sport, so I graciously left it to the experts to amaze us with their skills!

Even in the summer months our cars are expert at gathering dust and grime, so the Fire Station Carwash was high on my go-to list. Thanks to the crews who polished up their skills on so many local cars, and I trust they raised plenty of funds for the Firefighter’s Charity.

Mayor Making is the formal Civic Ceremony which makes public the Mayoral election results. Representatives of many local organisations attend, as well as Mayors from surrounding towns. I was graced by the presence of my niece Gill who acted as my Consort for the evening, and my son Gary with his partner Becks along with my cousin David to complete my family’s representation. During the ceremony I was privileged to hand over two cheques for £750 to my Mayor’s Charity fund beneficiaries: North Devon Hospice and Tarka Valley Railway. The Mayor’s Good Citizen award was presented to Tobias Kennedy Matthews for his outstanding charitable services to the town, and The Howe Plate to a very deserving Shirley Bere for the various ways she serves our community at the Bickford Centre, the Foodbank and many other areas of community life. My Retiring Mayor’s Cadet was Jack Pledger, and I welcomed this Year’s Mayor’s cadet L/cpl Roy A special award went to Chris Allen following his retirement from Torridge District Council and his tireless work in keeping our town clean and tidy.

Two Days later, Her Majesty’s Jubilee Proclamation was read by the Town Crier outside the Town Hall. Later that same day I was proud to declare the opening of the new Commons Conservators children’s play area at the Old Bowling Green. That day was also the 10th anniversary of the Boxing Club in the Social Club which I was delighted to visit briefly.  Throughout the same day the Cavaliers showed us what they are made of yet again when they hosted their Jubilee Fun Day at the Old Bowling Green which culminated with the Piper, Stuart Gisbey, and Bugler, our own Nick Megson proclaiming the extraordinary culmination of our Queen’s Reign by heralding the lighting of the Town Beacon and another amazing Firework Display. Special thanks to the Cavaliers for organising the Beacon and fireworks as well as the whole fun day.

Saturday’s events continued with a stirring lunchtime Organ recital in St Michael’s, followed by the Torrington Roscoff Exchange Group’s petanque match followed by a lovely Cream Tea (Jam on top!) in Castle Gardens. Despite rain the spirits weren’t dampened, and the afternoon was enjoyed by all.   That evening our incomparable Silver Band’s Concert in their Hall was a resounding success, with the hall packed out. With Union Jacks waving everywhere, the Jubilee theme got us all singing along, and the band did us proud as always.

The Street Picnic on Sunday had been anticipated for ages, but the weather didn’t exactly play ball. Anticipating a wet day, the Town Hall came into its own, and was bulging at the seams with every available room pressed into service. Rob Pudner and his accomplice Chris the Magician delighted the audience who ranged from just weeks old right through to over 100!  The best Crown Competition aged 4-7 was won by Thomas, with Immy coming second.  Isabel won the 8-11 Category where the runner-up was Ellie-Mai.  The ‘Special Category’ went to the very deserving Dolcie from Castle House Care Home! Huge thanks to all at the Town Hall for helping us make the day possible and so special at such short notice.

Yet another jam-packed month of festivities to remember. After Mayfair last month the events just seemed to go on right up to Jubilee, so I must thank everyone involved in making these possible, and particularly our Council Office staff who I am sure will be looking forward to a break.

My wishes to you all

Cllr Doug Smith

Mayor of Great Torrington