I am actually completely speechless and cannot describe how incredible it felt jumping out of a plane at 15000ft! The free-fall was probably the most intense thing I have ever experienced, traveling at up to 120mph, but one of the best feelings ever.I then had around 5 minutes of floating back to to earth taking in all the views – I can’t thank my instructor enough for making that experience so amazing, doing spins and generally keeping me calm and making the whole experience less nerve wracking (If anyone is ever thinking of doing a skydive, I cannot recommend the team enough, put at ease straight from the start!) I’m genuinely sad that it is now over but can’t thank everyone enough for supporting me and sponsoring me – I will update a final total soon.Lastly, thank you to my family and friends that came along with me today, for waiting all morning for the cloud to clear and then being there to see me safely to the ground – especially little Reggie, who was just great all day!All monies raised for my skydive will be going to my 2019/2020 charities, The Torrington Police Amateur Boxing Club and The First Torrington Scouts
I hope by the time this article reaches you all, you are all keeping well and enjoying the eased restrictions whilst continuing to adhere to updated government guidelines. I for one am enjoying seeing our local shops back open and trading and look forward to continuing my ‘Mayors Challenge’.
Whilst official duties for me remain quiet, I am now back to work and enjoying that little sense of normality again. I have however taken this opportunity to use Zoom to speak to two Rotary clubs (Winchester and Taunton Vale) about my journey to becoming Mayor and how proud I am of my great town. It was great to talk about my journey and met lots of new people, that, without virtual technology, would have been a lot harder to organise. Whilst I am missing face to face meetings, there does seem to be a sense of convenience to online meetings!
Saturday 4th July saw the biggest change in restrictions so far and it was good to see the town busy and people shopping local while adhering to social distancing. I have been mindful not to push the Mayor’s Challenge so much during lock down, but I feel now is the time to pick this up again and encourage all residents of Great Torrington to venture into town at least once a week and support our local traders. They have all worked extremely hard to make shopping safe and welcoming and I know they will all appreciate your support. Please feel free to share your purchases with me, it’s great to see what you are all able to find in Great Torrington.
I would like to give a shout out to Maya and Megan’s World of Sweetness – two young entrepreneurs who have recently set up their own business selling candy floss and other sweet treats! They set up outside our town hall on the 4th of July and had a very successful day. I really do wish them both all the success for their future and their candy floss is just delicious!
At the Town Council we are getting used to holding our meetings online, although it was very strange to chair a Full Council meeting whilst sitting on my sofa! As you can see from the Town Council news, we have remained very busy and are working closely with Torridge District and Devon County Councils.
By the time this reaches you all, weather permitting I’ll have finally completed my charity tandem skydive. Writing this, and with two weeks left to go, feeling very apprehensive is a bit of an understatement” However, I am also excited and, like I have heard many others say, that once I’m out of the plane, I’m sure I will love it!
Please do not hesitate to get in contact if you need anything at all and I hope you all enjoy August and September and I’ll be back to update you all in the October edition.
Keeley Allin – Mayor of Great Torrington
I cannot believe I am beginning my second term as Mayor of Great Torrington; thank you all for your support over the last 12 months. It’s been incredible serving our wonderful town and I’m looking forward continuing to do so. This next year will be different, but I know as a community we will embrace the challenges and come out stronger.
I have been very proud to raise funds for the Torrington Police Amateur Boxing Club and the 1st Torrington Scout Group, and it was lovely to see you supporting these local groups through various fundraising events. I am very pleased to say that we have raised a total of £4500.00; money which will be divided equally and I know, gratefully received to by both groups and will hopefully serve to help them continue their fantastic work. (Please note this sum does not include sponsorship for my postponed sky dive. Once I have done this, these funds will be divided and sent separately to these groups).
At this point I choose two new charities to support over the next 12 months, and it hasn’t been an easy decision. Will suggested that I look back over the last year at who has made a real impact, so my first charity is the Torrington Silver Band. They were all very welcoming at the events I’ve been invited to, they are the beating heart of the town, and I look forward to supporting them in any way I can over the coming year.
My second charity is the Friends of Great Torrington Library. Being a keen reader myself, I know how vital this service is to a broad range of individuals in our community. As well as being able to access a wide range of resources, the library offers events and support for all ages. I fondly remember doing the book tracker program as a child and would love to see more people taking an interest in reading.
Again, at this point, I would usually award the Mayor’s Award to an individual or group at our Mayoral Introduction Ceremony. Naturally this event was unable to go ahead, but I would like to announce that this year’s chosen recipient is ‘The Great Torrington Knit and Natter Group’: a recently formed group meeting every Wednesday to knit/crochet and share companionship. The defining moment for me was the incredible work that went into our fantastic Poppy display for Remembrance celebrations last year. This was a wider community effort but with the group forming and coordinating the display, it became a breath-taking piece. I’ve also received comments about how warm, welcoming and friendly the group is, with some members even travelling from outside of Great Torrington for weekly meetings. Community is what our town thrives on and so I know that this community group are truly deserving of the award.
As a council, we have been trying to resume some normal proceedings by commencing virtual meetings. It’s all very different but as we all adjust it is working well. By the time you read this we will have held our first full council meeting (25th June 2020). I hope you are all continuing to stay safe, and perhaps that you have managed a socially distanced catch up with friends or relatives. Businesses are adapting to the ‘new normal’ as shops start to re-open and I know our traders appreciate your support and consideration as they adjust to this change.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need anything at all.
Keeley Allin – Mayor of Great Torrington – Cllr.firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 07783 711500
I don’t know what the state of the national situation will be like once this article reaches you all but I hope you are all well and continuing to stay safe.
I would usually be reflecting on our Mayfair celebrations, but this year had to be different. This did not mean that we let the event go by without joining together (albeit virtually!). So many of you decorated your houses and shops and made the town shine in this moment of darkness: groups such as the Cavaliers, The Torrington Silver Band and even our team at Great Torrington Town Council released special videos and I couldn’t be prouder of you all that we continued to celebrate our special day. This may not have been the Mayfair we are all used to, but it will certainly go down in history and be remembered for bringing us all together at a very difficult time. I was extremely pleased to hear our May Queen was crowned virtually by her family and I sincerely hope Matilda and the rest of her entourage had a lovely day – I look forward to being able to catch up with you all at some point as soon as it is safe to do so.
Our town continues to work hard in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and I again want to thank everyone who is playing their part in ensuring our community is safe and catered for. You are all showing how much ‘Great’ there is in Great Torrington!
Our members of staff at the Town Council have been continuing to work hard for us all. As well as co-ordinating the Coronavirus Task Force, they have been continuing with council business and have worked hard to ensure we can all keep in contact and deal with matters via phone and video conferences. It certainly is a very different way of doing things so I am grateful to them for being able to guide us all through it. Similarly, our two technicians have been continuing to help wherever they can in the absence of some of their usual work.
We also commemorated the 75th anniversary of VE day on the 8th of May. It was very special to see so many displays by local houses and shops and to again see that just because we have to be physically apart, it doesn’t mean we cannot show our appreciation to those who gave their lives for ours. Special thanks also to Nick Megson from Torrington Silver Band for taking the time during his daily exercise to perform the Last Post at the Cemetery at 11am.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the team at the Crier for continuing to put together the monthly edition for us all to enjoy and for giving us the chance to be able to say thank you to those who are continuing to help others and work during this difficult time and to keep connected.
I hope you all continue to stay safe and stay well and please do not hesitate to get in contact if you need any help.
Connections Play – GTS
On Wednesday 11th March Cllr Siobhan Strode and I attended GTS to see the connections play performed by a group of students.
The play was called Tuesday and is part of a big projects for GTS and the students. The Town Council was very pleased to provide financial support to this project and were also kindly invited to come along to one of the performances.
We both thoroughly evening our evening and particularly liked the way the story was told and the way the young people acted it out – it kept the audience on our toes by the change of direction in all the voices.
A huge well done to everyone involved and the very best of the luck for the next stage of the process.
What a brilliant night at the boxing show on Saturday 7th March 2020!
Never did I think I’d be sat at the top table of an event, with full chains on, screaming my head off supporting our local boxers!
All matches were fantastic and a huge well done goes to all the boxers tonight; it was really intense watching.
The biggest well done, however, goes to The Torrington Police Amatuer Boxing Club for putting on yet another successful and entertaining evening. We can all see the hard work that goes in to the organisation and I’m very proud to have the club in our town and as one of my chosen charities this year!
Finally, I must say a huge thank you for donating the proceeds of the raffle to the Mayors Charities, I’m very grateful!
Okehampton Civic Dinner
On Friday 6th March Will and I attended the Mayor of Okehampton’s Civic Dinner.
We were both pleased to be sat on a table of new people and were able to learn lots about Okehampton and share information about Great Torrington too.
Guest speaker Baz Grey wowed the whole room with his fantastic speech. He spoke about his career in the Royal Marine Commandos and then carried on to tell us of his new passion which involved travelling across Antarctica, completely alone! His next phase will start in November where he will travel across Antarctica, approximately 1600 miles in 90 days, again, completely on his own. It was one of the most inspirational talks I’ve heard and I look forward to following his journey in November via his Facebook Page ‘Challenge Antarctica’ – well worth a look!
My thanks go to Mayor of Okehampton Cllr Julie Yelland and Okehampton Town Council for putting on such a fantastic evening!
Mayfair Programme cover design winners & No5 Beauty Room opening
Busy but exciting afternoon on Friday 28th February!
At 2.30 I headed down to the Bluecoat School’s celebration assembly to announce the winners of the front and the back covers of the Mayfair Program – the children were so excited and supportive of each other, it was really lovely to see! Congratulations to Sienna Dymond for winning the front cover and to Millie Watson for winning the back. I can’t wait to see them in print!
Later in the evening I was invited to officially open No5’s new Beauty Room – it’s great to see them doing so well in Great Torrington and expanding their business. I had a lovely evening and I want to wish Helen, Tony and everyone else involved all the very best for their newest venture!
Burns Night Supper
On Friday 21st February I attended the Mayor of Northam’s Charity Burns Night Supper at the Royal North Devon Golf Club.
We were greeted by the Mayor, Cllr John Himan and his Mayoress Catherine and also fellow members of the ‘chain gang’ from around the area – we all see each other a lot and we do form a great friendship!
It was a brilliant evening and I was very honoured to be asked to make the Reply to the Toast to the Lassies – I promise, I was very kind in my speech!
After all the formalities, we watched, and joined in with some Ceilidh dancing. I was hesitant at first, but did enjoy the one dance I did.
My thanks go to the Mayor of Northam and all at Northam Town Council for putting on a very enjoyable evening.
1646 wreath laying
Despite the awful weather on Saturday and the cancellation of the commemorative 1646 march, a few of us met some members of the cavaliers and the sealed knot to ensure we would not forget our history.
374 years ago, the English civil war swept through Great Torrington and our town played a vital part of history.
I was very proud to make a reading in the square along side Al Mitchell and those who had braved the weather to join us. We then made our way into the church yard to lay wreaths on the mass burial mound and hear prayers from Rev Peter Bevan.
I would like to thank those who came out and particularly those members of the Cavaliers and Sealed Knot who joined us.
Our history in Great Torrington is so so important; we must never forget.