13 St Winefride’s Catholic Primary School Achievement Assembly 14th July 2015

Not me at this event, but my wife, Sue.

After crowning the Rose Queen, Ellie McKeown, at the Village Fair, Sue was invited to join Lynn Williams of the Fair organising committee in making a presentation of her certificate and framed photograph.

This was done at a splendid Achievement Assembly in the school.  Sue was really impressed that so many of the children received certificates for so many different types of achievement, from cycling proficiency to the befriending others.

Sue would like to thank the school for allowing her to be part of this special day

12 Liverpool – Chester Bike Ride, 5 July 2015

Neston has never seen so many cyclists in one place at the same time.  Most, especially those on the extended 100 mile run – passed straight though the town to the sounds of music and crowd appreciation, but hundreds called in at the “feeding station” on the Market Square for all sorts of running repairs: to empty stomachs, faulty chains, flat tyres and grazed arms and legs.

I was able to chat to riders from many parts of the country who had come to take part.  Most seemed to be from parts of Liverpool and south Lancashire, but the most distant were a couple from Oxfordshire.  It turned out that the guy sporting the New Zealand tea shirt didn’t actually start out from there!

Teams sponsoring dozens of charities, national, local and very individual were evident.  Some, such as the Adam Lewis Effect (TALE) raising cash for testing for Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome, were new to me.

In previous years the ride had been via Thornton Hough (this year they were a calling point on the return journey) so this was a first for Neston.  One team wanted to know when they’d get to Thornton Hough – they’d arranged to meet up with stragglers there!

Tremendous entertainment in the Market Square came from Kenny and the Energy as cyclists enjoyed a rest and a drink.  They certainly appreciated the free refreshments organised by CAN Group.  For most it was a first visit – or the first for years – to Neston and Parkgate.  But many said they’d be back – and not just to spend the vouchers organised by Neston & District Chamber of Trade.

Thanks to so many people, I’m bound to forget someone, but they certainly include all the stall holders, Katy Pierce (Town Centre Manager) and staff, Andy Mills, CAN Group and Pennine Events.

Let’s hope we can get this event again next year.

11 Village Fair, 4 July 2015

The weather held to allow this portrayal of everything Neston.  The stalls – from Scouts to Civic Society, from U3A to Churches Together, from Little Actors to RSPB – provided a microcosm of the richness of Neston community life.  Some were elaborate, some simple, but everyone had made an effort.

Sadly the “famous people” theme seemed to be missing a bit.  I counted only a few stalls staffed by the famous, from Acker Bilk (?) to Noah, with Lady Hamilton and Napoleon in charge of events.

The entertainment was as varied as usual, again displaying Nestonian talents.  Choirs of children, choirs of adults each with styles of their own, dancing, gymnastics, puppets;  good jazz from Parade Band and guests, with Sue Reid in fine voice.

Local sponsors gave generous support and NW & Chester Classic Cars provided transport for the Mayor and his wife and for Rose Queen Ellie McKeown and attendants Faye Woodhouse and Kathryn Shakespeare.

This was the sixteenth fair for which Peter and Janet Rossiter and Lynne Vaughan have led the volunteer team, but it was also their last.  Thanks for all the work, and enjoy your rest!

10 School art installation, Market Square, 1 July 2015

Now our rather 5/6-days-a-week-desolate Market Square looks a bit brighter. The 21 colourful panels ranged round the walls of the square feature the artwork of pupils at six local primary schools and the High School.

The £8600 art installation was funded from the Sainsbury legacy money (“section 106 money”).  The S106 advisory group of CWaC and Town Council and Neston & District Chamber of Trade commissioned CAN Group to bring forward creative proposals and to organise it all.

Each school was asked to select by internal competition three panels produced by their pupils on themes researched by CAN volunteer Claire Danks. These were then painstakingly photographed over many hours by Jo Richardson of Jobo and collages transferred to long-lasting Fomex panels.

Over 150 schoolchildren and teachers and friends from the schools in the Market School to watch me declare the display “open” by cutting a ribbon held by two Woodfall pupils.  This was after the Chair of the s106 Advisory Committee, CWaC Cllr Andy Williams, had thanked all those responsible for putting things together.

Spend a while strolling round the Square and enjoy the pupils’ work.

9 Woodfall School Summer Fair, 27 June 2015

The theme for the fancy dress parade that started the Fair was Animals. My  task after cutting the ribbon to let everyone in was to judge the best fancy dresses with Headteacher Helen Hough.  I resisted the temptation to award a prize to Parents’ Association Vice Chair Catherine Marsh who led the children into the parade and agreed with Mrs Hough that the most inventive and original idea was the jellyfish.

Parents, staff and the children themselves had gone to a great deal of trouble to make a success of the event with so many stalls, excellent refreshments and games.

I proved to be rubbish at the coconut shy, but managed to win a couple of sweets for throwing the football through the hoops.

8 Neston Nomads Presentation Day, 20 June 2015

It was a privilege to be able to present medals to the 28 teams the club runs. Neston should be proud and grateful for the efforts the many team managers and supporters who work so hard for the benefit of Neston and area young people. It’s good to see that now girls are able to join in.

Not to be daunted by the rather inhospitable weather (thank you for the loan of the umbrella the lady in the PA tent!) many of the almost 300 youngsters (some very young indeed) played mini competitions and games and then waited patiently while dozens of medals, shields and trophies were handed out.

Special congratulations to Gemma Foster (Girls’ Nomad of the Year), Thomas Davis (Junior Nomad of the Year), Thomas Clark (Nomad of the Year), Dyland Green (Joe Windsor Memorial Award) and Peter Roberts (Ali Memorial Cup).

7 Chester Annual Civic Service, 14 June 2015

This is traditionally one of the first annual functions to be attended by the Lord Mayor of Chester who invites civic leaders from neighbouring principal authorities such as Wirral and Shropshire as well as the town mayors of Cheshire West (and, it seems, Cheshire East) to join him, the Deputy Lord Mayor the Sheriff and Aldermen  for a service in Chester Cathedral.

Arriving and departing in a Thunderbirds Taxi Mini Bus as my wife and I did caused a little interest amongst those arriving by chauffeured limousine, but it did provide a topic of conversation!

I’m not at all sure what the Sheriff and Aldermen actually do, there is no Chester City Council now after all, but it was nevertheless a spectacular event and an appropriate service.

I got to speak to the Lord Mayor, Hugo Deynem, who told me how impressed he was with the Ladies Day parade which he had attended ten days earlier.  He was amazed at how many people were involved and the numbers lining the streets.  Hardly anyone watched the Civic Service parade.

6 Ladies Day, 4 June 2015

At the beginning of January, not at the time contemplating a further four-year stint on the Town Council, let alone being elected Mayor, we booked an early June holiday abroad (when it’s warm before the school holidays).  But this turned out to coincide with one of the biggest days in the local community calendar, the Ladies Day walk.

So I’m afraid we missed it.  The one consolation was knowing that everything was in Deputy Mayor Ceri Lloyd’s capable hands.

5 Neston Players, 30 May 2015

“Enchanted April” the latest production from Neston Players again demonstrated how fortunate we are in Neston to have such a high quality drama group.  Billed as “a heartwarming romantic comedy about love, friendship and rediscovery” this was the first production following their NODA award in November of “Best Drama” for Accrington Pals.  A directorial debut by Jenny Rae (assisted by the experienced Cliff Inns), the play was a great success.  Unfair perhaps to try to single out performances – so I won’t.  A great evening out.

4 Neston Rotary 50th Anniversary Charter Dinner, 22 May 2015

The first really formal engagement for my wife and I was this event at Neston Cricket Club.  The guest speaker was the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead.  There were quite a few speeches and toasts before Dame Lorna started speaking after 11.00 pm.  But it was certainly worth the wait.  She was a hilarious speaker, regaling her audience with many anecdotes and memories of her years as a midwife, as President of the Royal College of Midwives, and as the Queen’s representative on Merseyside.  She is apparently known as the Lolrd lieutenant who tried to drown Her Majesty in the Albert Dock – the Queen and Price Philip sat on one side of the “yellow duckmarine” whilst her retinue all sat on the other side, giving the craft a dangerous list as it cruised the dock, shipping water as it went.

The evening finished after midnight.  There being no taxis available for half an hour we were facing the prospect of a long walk home, me in my chain, and Sue in a thin dress and wobbly heels, when we fortunately encountered a friend with a car to give us a lift home.

And what a tremendous job our local rotary club do in raising thousands for local charities.