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Mayors News

Mayors December/January Crier Article

October and November have been very busy months in the Mayor’s diary: I am so pleased I am now able to represent the town at so many important events for the community.

In mid-October I attended Holsworthy Mayor’s Charity Ball which was an evening to remember, as it was a chance to dress up for the first time in ages. The Mayor of Holsworthy, Cllr Helen Parker, hosted the event to raise money for Blood Cancer UK and Cancer Research charities.  I was delighted to be joined at this event by my granddaughter who attended as my consort.

On the 26th October the opening of a Silent Space for people living with dementia and memory loss in the Secret Memorial Garden was a truly enlightening moment.  Chris Porter’s wish became reality when I unveiled the new sign helped by Chris’s husband Colin.  The Dementia Friendly Community working group and volunteer gardeners have made this spot a silent haven for anyone looking for peace and tranquillity.

On the 28th October I joined the very lively Children’s Expressive Arts Extravaganza in the Pannier Market which had been organised by the Town Council. Entertainers had the youngsters spellbound, and they were in full voice during the Punch and Judy Show and the Magician’s set.

I was delighted to be invited by the Scouts to attend their Coffee Morning at the end of October to open their newly refurbished kitchen, which was partially funded by a donation to the Scouts from previous Mayor, Cllr Keeley Allin.  A long way from my memories of sitting cross legged in the grass and cooking on an open fire, the new kitchen in the Scout Hut sported induction hobs and extractors. The Cubs had yummy cakes on their stall, and a wealth of craft tables lined the very fresh-looking hall.

On the 2nd November I attended a Low Carbon Future Workshop at Caddsdown which really opened my eyes to even more opportunities for us to help address climate change in Great Torrington.

That same afternoon I joined the Torrington 100 Community Fayre in the Town Hall which was a resounding success with so many organisations showing up, visitors were spoilt for choice. The Mariners Away shanty singers entertained us throughout the event, and there was evidence of a lot of foot tapping in the crowd….

The funeral of a former Town Councillor Jim Thacker took place on Wednesday 10th.  Cllr Mills and I were pleased to be able to attend the service at the crematorium on behalf of the Town Council. 

At this time of year, it is important to reflect on the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women.  To that end, on 11th November at 11:00 on the anniversary of Armistice Day, I laid a wreath on behalf of the town at our War Memorial to honour the fallen and I will be attending the annual Remembrance Sunday Parade and Service on 14th November.

I continue to be involved in plans to redevelop The Globe which is looking very positive.  Torridge District Council, who are leading this project, will be providing an update on progress to the community in due course.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy, peaceful and healthy Christmas on behalf of all of us at the Town Council and I look forward to seeing many of you at the Christmas Lights Switch-on event in the town square on Saturday 27th November at 6:30pm.

Purple Penguins – official opening by the Mayor

I was asked to open “Purple Penguins”, a new jewellery shop which is situated beside the Plough Arts Centre.
I was surprised how large the new shop was inside, and the feeling of space helps to show off some of the beautiful handcrafted jewellery on display.
Here we have yet another offering to enhance the town’s growing individual character, and I wish David, Lynn and their colleague Steph all the best for their future success.

Cllr Doug Smith
Mayor of Great Torrington

Remembrance Parade 2021

On Sunday 14th November, the Town paid tribute to the many local servicemen and women who laid down their lives in the two Great Wars and subsequent conflicts. The sun twinkled through the trees as we made our way out of the cemetery after the ceremony which seemed very poignant to many of us.
My thanks to the numerous people who helped make this yet another memorable day, all the more so after we missed our last one due to the pandemic.

Cllr Doug Smith
Mayor of Great Torrington

Post expires at 11:31am on Tuesday November 16th, 2021

Torrington Cavaliers charity bonfire

The Mayor Cllr Doug Smith was delighted to be invited to attend Great Torrington’s bonfire & fireworks display last night:-“Our bonfire specialists the Torrington Cavaliers held their annual Guy Fawkes bonfire at the Torrington Rugby Club last night and despite the light drizzle the turnout was great. I had the pleasure to assist George Jeffery (the latest Cavalier recruit) to light the fire”.

Tarka Valley Railway visit

Following a visit by Great Torrington Town Councillors last month the Mayor enjoyed another look around at Tarka Valley Railway again today alongside some representatives from Torridge District Council:-

“Another visit to TVR and more leaps forward to view. This time I had the chance to fulfil a boyhood dream by driving an engine! Today we were joined by the Chair of TDC, Doug Bushby and his wife Sheila and a number of TDC councillors. The interest is building and the next visitor will hopefully be from Devon County Council”.

Scouts’ Coffee Morning – official opening of new kitchen area

The Mayor attended the Scouts’ Coffee Morning on Saturday 30th October and officially opened their newly renovated kitchen area.  The funds for this renovation project partly came from the donation made to the Scouts by Cllr Keeley Allin when she was Mayor in 2019/20.

“In my many years of scouting, a kitchen to me conjured up a fire in the middle of a field, where we worked wonders with limited ingredients to feed ravenous fellow scouts. The kitchen at the Scout hut which I was honoured to open was unrecognisable …. induction hobs, good extractors… I’m showing my age!
The Scout HQ is improving in leaps and bounds thanks to the inspiration and dedication of the Whitear family. I’m already looking forward to the next phase”

Cllr Doug Smith
Mayor of Great Torrington

Torrington 100 Community Fayre

Mayor of Great Torrington, Cllr Doug Smith, was invited to attend the Torrington 100 Community Fayre at the Town Hall on Tuesday 2nd November. 

A wide range of local community groups attended the event and Mariners Away, a group of local sea shanty singers, entertained everyone with a fantastic repertoire of sea shanties! The Mayor is pictured here with the event organisers, Martin Rawle, Community Developer for T100 and Anne Marie Shillito, Chair of T100.

Mayors November Crier Article

This has been yet another wonderful month of events and successes.

As Mayor, I Chaired the Mayfair and Carnival Committee Annual General Meeting, where it was decided unanimously to carry on with plans for Mayfair 2022.  One of our issues was that despite the obvious appetite for Mayfair, we were still thin on the ground with helpers. If you don’t like committees, there are still many openings where you can help, so please do work with us and volunteer what time you can spare to help restart this important day in the calendar of Great Torrington.

I attended the Community Development Trust’s Open day which was held in the gardens to Castle Hill. Local organisations showcased their services and achievements. The Silver Band played, much to everyone’s delight, and Winkleigh Morris Group entertained in their own unique style, along with some familiar faces who had been busking during the summer joining in the fun. 

On Sat 9th Tarka Valley Railway opened their doors to Great Torrington Councillors and Bideford’s Mayor to showcase the latest offerings for enthusiasts. The changes already made at the station are testament to the extraordinary work put in by the army of dedicated volunteers.

Throughout the past few months, the Town Council has been looking at the provision of defibrillators within the town as a number have come up for lease renewal. There was also concern that the defibrillator on the Fire Station wall had been de-commissioned due to funding constraints. I requested a meeting which was attended by Sir Geoffrey Cox our local MP, Cllr Andrew Saywell our Devon County Council councillor along with a representative from South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust where we looked into the entire ongoing funding possibilities. Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service were unable to attend the meeting, but have since been in liaison with the town council about this matter.  The final outcome has at last been the future re-instatement of the defibrillator at the Fire Station and a further ongoing lease for three other defibrillators already in place with discussions with Rotary about an additional one. We have currently received commitments of funding from Cllrs Grants from Cllr Andrew Saywell, (DCC) Cllrs Bright, Brown and Cottle Hunkin (TDC), the Fire Service and Rotary.  We are also currently exploring other options for contributions.

I attended two Mayor Making ceremonies in September; Cllr Claire Hodson at Northam and Cllr David Ratcliff at Bideford.  I was pleased to represent the town at both of these meetings which were also good opportunities for Mayors to get together having not met for so long.

I am pleased to say that the Globe Hotel regeneration planning is gathering pace, and we hope to give a full report very soon.

The ‘Really Wild Learning’ event Hosted by Kim Insull at the Town Hall had not only youngsters, but myself riveted by the demonstrations and hands-on experiences, from where the ‘bug hunt’ took off to a flying start round the shop windows. This competition continues through October with a winner being announced in early November.

It was lovely to attend the Golf Club on October 3rd, when the Junior 6s took place at Weare Trees. Some of the young players showed exceptional talent, and I’m convinced there are big names hiding in there for the future! The forecasted rain was less than expected, and in no way dampened the enthusiasm of these motivated young players.

It’s a sure sign winter is approaching when our clocks go back and we start making the arrangements to switch on our Christmas Lights. This year, the event will take place on Saturday November 27th 2021 @ 6.30pm in the town centre.  Please see the separate article about arrangements.  We hope that you can all join us this year as we celebrate the start of the Christmas period with the “Christmas Light Switch On”. At the same time; why not enter the “12 Days of Christmas” Window Spotting Competition!”

Cllr Doug Smith

Mayor of Great Torrington

Great Torrington Golf Club’s Junior 6s event

The Mayor Cllr Doug Smith was pleased to attend the Great Torrington Golf Club’s Junior 6s event on October 3rd. He said that some of the young players showed exceptional talent, and is convinced that there are big names hiding in there for the future! The forecasted rain was less than expected, and in no way dampened the enthusiasm of these motivated young players, he was very grateful for the invitation to attend.

Town Councillors visit to Tarka Valley Railway

Photograph provided with kind permission of Raymond Goldsmith

On Saturday 9th October Tarka Valley Railway opened their doors to Great Torrington Councillors to showcase the latest offerings for enthusiasts, Bideford’s Mayor Cllr David Ratcliff and his wife Philippa were also invited to attend. The changes already made at the station are testament to the extraordinary work put in by their army of dedicated volunteers.