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Mayoral Introduction Ceremony

The Mayoral Introduction Ceremony took place at the Great Torrington Town And Community Hall on Wednesday 22nd May, during which, Cllr Cloke was officially sworn in as Mayor and Cllr Parish as Deputy Mayor for the coming year. Cllr Cloke thanked Cllr Doug Smith for his three years as Mayor and presented him with his Past Mayors Badge.

During the ceremony Chris Foster, was presented with the Mayor’s Good Citizen Award in recognition of the many years that she has served as Church Warden for St. Michael & All Angels Church and for voluntary work carried out at Abbeyfield.

The Howe Plate was awarded jointly to John Eeles and Emily Wapshott for the work they have put into the “Dig the Castle” project on behalf of the Great Torrington Futures Group. Unfortunately, neither John nor Emily were able to attend the Ceremony due to separate holiday commitments but called into our offices for a photo shoot in advance. The engraved plate will be officially presented to them at the Dig the Castle exhibition at the Town Hall in August.

Retiring Mayor’s Cadet Sergeant David Lee was thanked for his assistance by the Mayor who presented him with a certificate to commemorate his service. Sergeant Lee then passed the baton to Lance Corporal George Batten during an official handover, he will now serve as the Mayor’s Cadet for the coming year.

Cheques of approximately £300 each were presented to the Mayor’s Charities for last year, Shirley Bere accepted on behalf of the Torrington Community Food Bank and retiring Mayor Cllr Smith read a letter of thanks from The Eve Appeal who are the leading UK national charity funding research and raising awareness into the five gynaecological cancers – a charity very close to Cllr Smith’s heart having sadly lost his wife to one of these a few years ago.

The Mayor’s Chaplain was announced to be Fr Steve Turner from St Michael and All Angels Church once again for the coming year. Cllr Cloke announced his charities for 2024/25 to be: Children’s Hospice South West, Torri Youth and Torrington Amateur Athletic Club.

Cllr Cloke gave an entertaining speech and expressed his pride in becoming Mayor of Great Torrington, this was followed by a potted history of education in Great Torrington by his son Tim Cloke who is also our Mace Bearer.

We wish Cllr Cloke all the best for the coming year.

Notice of Great Torrington Mayoral Introduction Ceremony

For Information:

The introduction ceremony for the Mayor of Great Torrington Town Council will be held on Wednesday 22nd May 2024 at 7pm at Great Torrington Town & Community Hall.

Members of the public are very welcome to attend but we do need to know numbers for refreshments, so if you are planning to come along, please let the Town Council know by 5pm Tuesday 15th May 2024. Contact us on 01805 626135 or e-mail admin@great-torringtontowncouncil.gov.uk

D Day 80 – June 6th 2024

The commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the D Day landings is on Thursday June 6th. There is a national programme of events and Great Torrington will be joining in with these where possible. The Town Crier will begin the day with a proclamation at 8am in the Town Square. The bells of St Michael & All Angels will be heard as part of the national Ringing Out for Peace initiative at 6:30pm.

We are working with the Cavaliers to organise the lighting of a beacon on the evening of 6th June and would like to encourage all members of the community to come along to this. We would especially like to invite veterans of all conflicts who are based in Torrington to attend this event so if you or anyone you know is a veteran, please do make contact on 01805 626135 or admin@great-torringtontowncouncil.gov.uk to discuss attending. Torrington Silver Band will be playing before the beacon is lit between 8-9pm to mark the anniversary of this important date in our history.

Please see posters and social media nearer the time for further details.

Mayors News – Cllr Doug Smith (May 2024)

Representing Great Torrington as Deputy Mayor and Mayor over the past few years has been a most memorable time for me.  

During my time as Deputy Mayor, we experienced the devastating worldwide pandemic – Covid 19. A time that is etched in all our memories. I was proud to be a part of Great Torrington Town Council who even ahead of the Government’s announcement that the country would enter lockdown, had initiated a community support scheme to help vulnerable members of the community. This service was a lifeline to many in our town, at a time of great anxiety and uncertainty.   

During my first year as Mayor, it was a huge relief to everyone – especially the Cavaliers – that the burning of the Mayflower replica was able to take place during the August Bank Holiday weekend of 2021. After the period of lockdown and isolation the event was an opportunity for the community to come together, and the Cavaliers excelled themselves once again in providing an outstanding evening of entertainment.  

It was an honour to be Mayor for the return of the annual Mayfair celebrations in May 2022. The town had missed this event for two years and the community welcomed it back with great excitement and the sun shone on the day, which is always helpful.  

In contrast, later that year in September 2022, it was with immense sadness that we learnt of the passing of our Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Coupled with the passing of His late Royal Highness Prince Phillip the previous year, this represented the end of an era, and the town joined the rest of the country and the world in mourning the loss of our longest reigning monarch. It was an honour as Mayor to lead the moment of reflection and the Proclamation of King Charles III in the Town Square. 

The Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III was cause for much celebration. The Town Council held a cream tea at the Town & Community Hall for around 100 members of the community, and Torrington Silver Band provided entertainment in the sunshine for members of the public. The May Queen attended the cream tea with her entourage and delivered cream teas to some people who were unable to leave their houses to attend. It was a privilege to attend Great Torrington Bluecoat School to distribute Coronation Badges from Great Torrington Town Council to the children, and also to attend Bluecoat Nursery and Little Frogs Pre-School to donate commemorative books for everyone to enjoy. 

Margaret Noble has in recent years been brought to our attention as a significant local historic figure. Born in Ireland she lived in Great Torrington for several years before she moved first to London, then Calcutta, where she established a school for girls in 1898, a thing unheard of in India at the time. She was given the name Sister Nivedita, and I was honoured to take part in the unveiling of a statue in our cemetery to celebrate the 150th anniversary of her birth on October 22nd, 2022, and last year I was invited as a guest to the unveiling of another statue in her memory in Wimbledon. 

I must thank my Mayors Chaplains Reverend Robert Blackhall and Father Steve Turner for their support over the past few years, it has been a pleasure to work with you both. 

I would encourage everyone eligible to explore the possibility of volunteering as a town councillor. It’s a wonderful opportunity to put something back into the community; if you have ideas and think you could make a difference, please do take that positive step and volunteer. In this my final Crier piece, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those Councillors, officers, and residents who have supported me at every turn. My life is richer thanks to my experience on Great Torrington Town Council. 

Co-Option of Town Councillor

The Town Council has vacancies for 2 Co-Opted Councillors to join us. 

Becoming a Town Councillor will give you the opportunity to get involved with various projects and interests within the community of Great Torrington.  If you are passionate about the town, prepared to get involved, and meet at least one of the criteria below, we invite you to contact us to discuss the application process. A written form is available on our website and encourages you to demonstrate why you are interested in volunteering to become a Town Councillor and what you believe you can bring to the role. If you are interested but a written application or form filling is a barrier to applying, please get in touch (01805 626135). 

If the answer to at least one of the below statements is “yes”, you are eligible to apply to be a Town Councillor: 

  1. I am registered as a local government elector for the parish; or 
  1. I have, during the whole of the twelve months preceding the date of my co-option, occupied as owner or tenant, land or other premises in the parish; or 
  1. My principal or only place of work during those twelve months has been in the parish; or 
  1. I have during the whole of the twelve months preceding the date of my co-option resided in the parish or within 3 miles of it. 

Application forms can be obtained from the Town Council office or downloaded here.

Cllr Dave Parish says, “I am proud to be a Town Councillor I immensely enjoy the experience and I’ve learnt so much in the process. 

It is a pleasure to work with a truly dedicated team of Councillors who volunteer their time to contribute to making Great Torrington a ‘Great’ place to live. 

There is so much more we can do. Be part of the future, ‘Come and join us.”

For an informal chat with one of the team, please call the office on 01805 626135. 

Applications can be posted to or dropped in to our offices: Great Torrington Town Council, Castle Hill, Great Torrington, EX38 8AA or sent by email to admin@great-torringtontowncouncil.gov.uk

Jennie Smithson, Town Clerk