44 Easter Bonnet Competition – 14th April 2017

Deputy Mayor Ceri Lloyd completed her duties with a most important event on Good Friday when she had the honour to help judge the Easter bonnet competition on the Market Square in Neston.  They had a difficult time choosing winners from among the excellent contestants and it was quite right that all those who had made a bonnet for the occasion received a prize. The event was broadcast on the radio and more pictures and details can be found Here

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Councillor Lloyd presents prizes for the winning bonnets at the Good Friday competition in Market Square

43 Neston Art Society Exhibition – 26th April 2017

A visit to the Society’s annual exhibition is always a good bet.  This year’s visit was no exception.  The standard, to my non-expert eye at least, was at least as high as I’ve seen in previous years; in fact I’d say it was higher overall than last year’s.

Chairman Janet Rossiter told me that they had experienced an influx of new members during the year.  Winner of the main award, the Dolphin Trophy, this year went to Janet Gosling for her oil painting “River Dove”.

Art

I suppose one of the privileges of attending the invitation-only preview evening is that you get first chance to make purchases.  I’d like to have bought a second exhibit from winner Janet Gosling, an oil called “Rock at Canadel” but sadly it was not for sale.  But we were really satisfied in acquiring an atmospheric oil painting of Nefyn Beach by Sheila Sarson (who won a prize for her “Bluebell Time”) and an idiosyncratic acrylic depiction of The Cross, Neston featuring the Elephant Bank Pizzeria by Steve Ebbrell.  I can’t collect them until after the exhibition ends on Saturday, so see for yourself.  Well worth a visit to Neston Town Hall from Thursday to Saturday any time between 10:00 and 4:00 (3:30 Saturday).

42 Neston Countryside Trail 9 April 2017

I helped officially launch Neston’s Countryside Trail was this weekend. Starting at Station Road car park next to the Community and Youth Centre, the trail takes in the Wirral Way, Old Quay Lane, Church Lane and Stanney Fields Park.

In glorious sunshine, the driving force behind the project, Cllr Janet Griffiths led us on the 2.5 km circular walk, stopping at various points of interest on the way. These included Witches Brooms, a 300-year old hedge, an ancient Oak, lichens and mosses in the churchyard and the splendours of Stanney Fields.

The trail is being waymarked and special features identified with numbered stopping point. A free colourful booklet with a key and map and written by Tim Baxter from Ness Gardens  with photography by Jo Richardson, is now available at the Town Hall, Library and Community & Youth Centre.

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41 Frodsham Mayor’s Ball 7 April 2017

 Deputy Mayor Cllr Ceri Lloyd represented Neston at this terrific event in Frodsham . Frodsham Town Mayor Cllr Mallie Poulton had a high-profile list of guests that included a representative from the Irish Embassy, the Lord Mayors of Liverpool and Chester and mayors of many local towns. There was strong Irish theme throughout the evening, including an excellent Ceilidh band and delicious Irish stew. The Frodsham Golf Club House was brightly lit and completed an excellent send-off for the outgoing mayor and his brilliant efforts to raise the profile of the town and its local charities.

Thank you to Mallie for setting such an example of how to showcase the work of a Town Council and for his generous hospitality, good humour and organisational skills. The evening also raised £2,000 for good causes: so an excellent night out all round.

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Phil Lloyd, Town Mayor of Frodsham Cllr Mallie Poulton, Neston Deputy Mayor Cllr Ceri Lloyd

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Cllr Ceri Lloyd

40 Probus 50th Anniversary Lunch 5 April 2017

 

Sue and I were honoured to be guests at the Neston Probus anniversary lunch at Neston Cricket Club. The Club for retired and semi-retired business and professional men is one of the oldest of the 4000 clubs across the world.  It exists purely as a social organisation and this was evident in the relaxed atmosphere of the event.

However, to prove there’s no such thing as a free lunch, I had been invited to be the guest speaker. “Neston Council: Past, Present and Future(?)” would not perhaps be the most riveting of topics, but at least I didn’t see anyone openly nodding off!

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Singing for my supper – well speaking after my lunch

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Ken Goodyear, Mike Shipman, Alan Brown

39 Legion of Honour Award 1 April 2017

 

On D-Day 1944 Able Seaman Cyril Gillard was aboard HMS Tartar which was tasked with preventing enemy ships entering the Normandy landing areas. Seventy years later the President of France announced the award of the country’s highest distinction, the Légion d’honneur, to al British veterans who fought for the Liberation of France.

This was presented to Cyril on 11 November 2015 by the French Honorary Consul, Mme Aude Auclair at a relatively private ceremony.

His friends and fellow members of the Neston British Legion wanted him to know how proud they were of him and his involvement in such a significant period of the history of Britain and France. So with the precision of planning to be expected from ex-servicemen, they ensured that he came along to the regular Saturday dance wearing hiss medal.  But what he wasn’t expecting was to be joined by his family, including grandchildren, to receive the tribute from all his friends.

I felt privileged to be able to shake his hand and say a few words of appreciation.

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38 Wirral Community Narrowboat Trust 31 March 2017

 

Founded 25 years ago, the Trust provides canal cruising for groups with many types of disability. The Town Council provided a grant of £1825 to enable them to provide day outing this year for a number of Neston groups.

With my wife Sue and Cllr Janet Griffiths, I was shown around the trust’s two narrowboats by Chairman Terry Nolan and fundraiser Pauline Pollard. “Pot of Gold” has full wheelchair access and is suitable for residential cruises with sleeping accommodation for up to six adults and four young people.  “Over the Rainbow” on the other hand is exclusively for day use.

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Picture shows Terry Nolan, Pauline Pollard, Mayor Mike Shipman,. Cllr Janet Griffiths, Sue Shipman and Gary Bestwick

37 Former Councillors’ Tea 30 March 2017

 

The best laid plans……………..

The idea was to meet with surviving members of the old Neston Urban District Council – a reunion for them, and a spot of local history for me. But events rather conspired against us.  The afternoon gathering was small than planned, but thoroughly enjoyable nevertheless.

We met Reg Chrimes and his wife Doreen for afternoon tea at their retirement home at Boughton Hall in Chester. Also there was former UDC councillor Richard Thomas and his wife Marjorie who had been transported by their friend Cllr Dave Carter.  I’d expected to arrive with former UDC councillor Denis O’Brien and wise wife June, but an unexpected dental appointment prevented them from attending at the last minute.  Former UDC councillor Bob Stewart was also prevented for attending by a hospital appointment that came through after arrangements were made, and former UDC Treasurer Brian Jenkins was away at a family funeral.

But we enjoyed hearing about the problems facing Neston in the UDC years: the need for affordable housing, a decent public swimming pool, reviving the market. Things don’t change all that much, perhaps.

 

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36 Winsford Mayor’s Ball 23rd March 2017

Well this was a Mayor’s Ball like no other.

Winsford Town Mayor Steve Smith planned this as part of the Winsford Marchfest, loosely based on the Munich Oktoberfest (which bizarrely takes place mainly in September), for which he was the Chair of the organising group.

We were all invited to enter into the spirit of things by dressing for the occasion: lederhosen or dirndl.

Bavarian Mike

Bavarian Sue

I couldn’t bring myself to don the lederhosen but did my best with a check shirt, red braces and a Bavarian hat.  Sue did so much better, looking absolutely great in her dirndl.  Our Bavarian daughter-in-law says she is entitled to wear it anyway in Germany owing to her German ancestry.

But others certainly did better than me.  The Mayor of Winsford himself could have passed for a visitor from Munich.  The Mayor of Frodsham also managed the full lederhosen.

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Neston Mayoress Sue Shipman with Mayor of Winsford Cllr Steve Smith

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Cllr Mallie Poulson, Mayor of Frodsham with Consort for the event

Set in a large marquee on the Marchfest site, the “ball” featured the faux Bavarian Oompah band “Brasswurst” with a number of audience participation numbers which somehow managed to include a beer.  For the meal we had a chice of three types of sausage with sauerkraut followed by strudel or black forest gateau.

A thoroughly enjoyable, if somewhat exhausting, evening.

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Brasswurst entertains

 

35 Village Fair Committee 20th February 2017

It was at one of their regular organising sessions that I was able to meet the Neston Village Fair Committee to present a grant certificate to help sustain this year’s event on 1 July.

Although that was the ostensible reason for the visit, it gave me the opportunity to meet the team behind the event and thank them for the tremendous work they do for the town.  The event has been going for 17 years, providing a focus for local groups, societies and schools to show their talent, and raising over the years around £80,000 for local charities and good causes.

Village Fair

Receiving the cheque is Keith Moores, the Chair, along with 4 other members of the Committee, Susan Ell,

Marie-Louise Reid, Jacqui Eeles and Andy Irvine. Four other members of the Committee were not able to be at the meeting at which the presentation was made.