34 Neston Air Cadets 17th February 2017

It was a privilege to be guest of honour at the Air Cadets’ annual “Dining In” event at Thornton Hall Hotel.  The evening was modelled, unsurprisingly, on the RAF tradition of a squadron mess dining event.  I was able to present an array of awards including those for Best Cadet, Best NCO.

The event was hosted by the CO Flt Lt Paul Thelwell RAFVR(T).  The evening was also paradoxically one of “Dining Out”, as the squadron bade farewell to three members of staff, Lisa Fields, Anne-Marie Mitchell and Mark Mitchell.

Air Cadets 1       Air Cadets 2

Air Cadets 3

33 Visit to Winsford 12th Feb 2017

Sue and I were invited to take a tour of Winsford by Town Mayor Steve Smith and consort Mark Smith.  This was a return fixture from our hosting them for a tour of Neston back in November.

Apart from visits to the Council offices a few years ago, I had never been to Winsford before, other than to pass through it along the A54 to Middlewich and beyond.  That route does not really do the town justice because all you see is a less-than-attractive shopping centre.  But on the way out from the town are the Flashes, three lakes fed by the River Weaver, and formed by the subsidence of surface ground through salt extraction. They are home to a Sailing Club and connect with the canal network and a marina.

We also visited the park areas looked after by the Town Council before enjoying lunch at the Hayhurst Arms.


32 Friends of West Vale Park 17th February 2017

Friends of West Vale Park were distracted from their work building a hibernaculum on Friday.  I arrived to present a Town Council grant to support their Family Fun Day planned for August and to see what was going on.

Rangers Paul Taylor and Amanda Pritchard explained that they were creating in a small corner of the park a hibernating habitat for wildlife creatures of many sorts, including frogs that live in the area.  They were installing a small drainage system and introducing more dead wood containing the foodstuffs needed by so many of these very small creatures.

Chairman of the Friends, John Ellis, said that as well as being a valuable facility in the park it would provide an additional educational resource for local schools.

The Family Fun Day – this year on Sunday afternoon 6 August – is now an annual event promoted by the friends and is eagerly looked forward to by local residents.

The small group of friends is always looking for additional helpers.  Volunteers should contact the Secretary, Rosemary McMahon on 336 3842.

West Vale Friends

Picture shows me presenting the grant certificate to Friends Chairman John Ellis. Looking on are PCSO Linda Conway,

Ranger Paul Taylor, Bob Kynaston, Irene Pugh, Rosemary McMahon, and ranger Amanda Pritchard.

31 Little Actors Theatre Company 21 January 2017

Neston’s Little Actors Theatre Company is assured a varied repertoire this year thanks to a grant from Neston Town Council.

I popped in to their session to present them with their certificate.  Leaders Natasha Symms and Mike walker were about to begin a workshop with the Junior and Senior members, after having already been working for an hour with the younger Drama Tots.

Artistic Director Samantha Giblin later told me how important grants were to ensure children from all backgrounds can access the professionally led performing arts.  They allow 50% discounts and free places, as well as offering adventurous challenges such as entering drama festivals, preparing for LAMDA exams and working with organisations such as the National Theatre.


30 Showmen’s Guild Annual Luncheon 6th January 2017

At what must be the largest convocation of Mayors and their consorts in the north-west, the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain (Lancashire & Cheshire section) said “thank” you to over 40 towns that host one or more of their members’ fairs over the year.

There were about 150 guests and members of the Guild at their annual luncheon at the Village Hotel, Bury.  Sue and I shared a table with the charter Mayor and Mayoress of Ellesmere Port, Peter and Sharon Rooney, together with Paul Whatmore and wis wife Lynne who edits the showmen’s newspaper, “Worlds Fair” and who donated a gallon bottle of whiskey for the “Heads & Tails” competition – sadly I didn’t win.

Also present were our good friends the Mayor of Winsford, Steve Smith and his consort Mark, and the Mayor of Frodsham, Mallie Poulton with his consort for the day, CWaC Cllr Lynne Riley, and the Lord Mayor of Chester Cllr Angela Claydon.


Showmans Guild 17

29 Neston & District Art Society 2nd January 2017

A Town Council grant has ensured the continuation this year of Neston and District Art Society’s annual exhibition which contributes so much to the cultural life of the town.

It was good to visit the group to present a certificate confirming the grant for this year’s exhibition at the Town hall from 27th to 29th April.

I made the presentation prior to the January meeting of the Society at which local artist Dennis Oakes demonstrated landscape painting techniques to members who had not only braved the cold weather, but ignored the other attractions of a bank holiday.

The society meets on the first Monday of each month outside the summer months at 7:30 at St Michael’s hall, Marshlands Road.  Enquiries to secretary Keith Moores (moores58@sky.com)


Neston Arts Society

Presenting the grant certificate to Art Society Chair Janet Rossiter and Secretary Keith Moores.

27 NCYC Christmas Party 16th December 2016

Zaria Shreef, Community Activities Co-ordinator at the Community Centre, organised this event for the many volunteers who help with the projects she runs –  Neston Angels, Neston Flicks, the Big Lunch, NCYC’s Garden Project to name but a few.

The food, prepared of course by Zaria with volunteer help, was excellent.  It’s a long time since I tasted scouse of this quality, Zaria’s tiramisu was excellent and “Swampy’s” home-made wines  went down a treat.

It was good to have been invited to meet these volunteers.  I did feel quite at home: being town mayor involves at least 10 hours a week of voluntary activity!

26 Neston Flower Society Christmas Demonstration 15th December 2016

This was a solo event for Sue as Town Mayor’s Consort (Mayoress would be easier but possibly not constitutional). The Flower Society must have known that I can’t tell a dandelion from a rose, let alone know how to display them.  Sue said, “I was in the company of the  local crème de la crème of flower design and a spectacular national demonstrator, Diane Fair, showing her expertise with an entertaining dialogue.

Diane Fair’s presentation in the restaurant at Gordale, organised by Pat Wood,  was in aid of research conducted by the Alzheimer’s Society and raised over £1,000.

25 Community Carol Service 11th December 2016

Each year Parkgate & Neston United Reformed Church celebrate the work of volunteer and volunteer groups in Neston with this special carol service.  This year representatives of many local groups were joined by the NE Singers at a service that all I spoke to found enjoyable and a fitting celebration of community work.

I’ll not attempt to name all the groups represented for fear of omitting one – but thank you P&N URC for organising this each year.

24 Parkgate Christmas Start 9th December 2016

The Parkgate Society again organised the official opening of Christmas celebrations in Parkgate.  I was about to head this blog with Lights Switch-on in Parkgate.  But at the ceremony arranged by the Parkgate Society they were already on.  This is because there are so many demands on Cheshire West Council’s lighting engineers at this time of year, every community in the Borough has to accept the strict connection timetable established by highways.

The children from Parkgate Primary School were again in fine voice with a collection of carols and songs, with help and encouragement from the school staff and Paula Prytherch of Hip and Harmony, and the brief ceremony was ended with free mulled wine and mince pies at Mozkitos Coffee House.  Thank you Laura and Ian Spencer for this continuing support to the community.


Photo Bernard Rose Photography