Final speech for 18th May 2007
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen.
What an honour it has been, to be elected the 633rd Right Worshipful Mayor of Wells.
I would like to thank all of those people, who have given me their personal and professional support since taking office.
It is comforting to know everyone here today and many who are not; have helped and assisted me over the year.
I apologise now for those who may have to hear part of this speech again tomorrow.
Tonight I want to say thankyou on a more informal basis…
When I set out to do this role I wasn’t too sure what was involved.
I’ve always been a fast learner – which was a good skill to have as my first engagement was on the Sunday after being made Mayor (with only a few hours sleep in between my party the night before).
I can remember turning up at Studio Psalm for their relaunch. I was very nervous – in fact when I cut the ribbon – I actually forgot the name of the shop and called it something completely different! This wouldn’t have been too bad if I hadn’t said it over a microphone with 40 people assembled!
Anyway, that kick started over 430 meetings, events and engagements – right up until this evening.
I can’t list all of the people, groups and businesses that I have met and seen….there is seriously too many.
I would though, like to reflect on a line I used in my inaugural speech which is taken from a former Mayor’s speech.
In 2004, Cllr. Colin Price finished his year with an account of his activities at Mayor Making.
One of the many things he said was, and I quote: “…you never really know your own town, until you become it’s Mayor”.
This was said by a man who was born and bred in Wells.
I quoted that in my inaugural speech as I thought it was an excellent way to describe the journey I was to embark upon.
Well Colin – you were spot on! I’ve learnt a lot.
The best bits? Well again many in number but those that really stick out are (in no particular order); The Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, Bad Durkheim, Dinner with the Bishop of Bath & Wells, Boxing in Kudos, visiting the ATC (including hosting a reception for visiting cadets from Canada), Meeting HRH Princess Anne, Wells Thanksgiving Service & the Celebration of The Queen’s 80th Birthday at St. Cuthberts Church, various events including a march through the City with the Royal British Legion, visiting the Cathedral School and attending many of their concerts and Assemblies, the RUH James Bond night, the Wells Stroke Club, opening a floatation tank, the Little Theatre performances, Byrnes Night, Wells FC Cup Final, various receptions for School Governors - the Special Constabulary – the sports clubs – John Lewis partnership – WI - primary school councils and attending four churches and a Cathedral over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day….
The list goes on and on…….
Everything I done, I tried to keep within my four objectives. They were:
· 1st: Highlighting issues that surround young people
· 2nd: Encouragement and sustainability of continuing growth in our Market Town economy
· 3rd: Supporting the many organisations that are a vital part of the fabric of Wells
· 4th: Maintaining a safe environment
It has been a very busy year – for which I can’t really find a word to describe it.
You could use perhaps ‘Awesome’, perhaps ‘Great’, perhaps ‘Magnificent’. What ever word one chooses, it doesn’t really explain what the year meant for me.
So what will I miss?
Well loads to be fair!!
The most obvious thing is my chain…or Mayoral Bling as I like to call it.
Also The Mayor’s Parlour which is a wonderful room and the setting for quite a few events at all hours of the day… and early morning!
Some of you in this room have not had the privilege of the Mayor’s Tour of the Town Hall and cells. Believe me – you missed a real treat. Just ask any of my friends!!!!
I learnt during the year – that before the Mayor’s Parlour was created, previous Mayor’s had to entertain at home….now anyone who has EVER visited my house knows that (despite my cleaner’s best efforts) I only really tidy when my Mum comes to visit!!!
In the Parlour I’ve done many things – I’ll admit to some now – others will be in my memoirs!! I’ve had receptions, meetings, pizza nights, curry nights, birthday parties, New Years Party, Gin & Vodka Night, celebration evenings and a space to read my paper on Sunday early afternoon with a beer and Cornish pasty!!!!
But it’s the people aspect that I’ll miss the most. Having a licence to ask any question of anybody is wonderful when discovering what makes people tick!
As I said earlier, I have many people to thank. They are too many in numbers for me to thank individually. So If I miss you out on my next part of the speech – I really do appreciate what you did for me and all of the unreserved and unconditional support you have given.
Firstly I would like to offer my deepest thanks to all of my staff in Pickwicks. Without whom, my Mayoral year would not of run as smoothly as it did. I know many of the team moved their work patterns around so I could do my role. The whole team (some of whom are here today and others have moved onto other jobs) did over and above their duty for my business – special thanks must go to Julie Lloyd and Katherine Ford for taking over the duty management of Pickwicks, quite often at a drop of a hat.
I would also like also reflect on the sad loss of one member of staff. Ann Wain died a couple of months ago after a battle with cancer. Ann brought much to Pickwicks – but in terms of her support for my Mayoral year, it was 110%. No matter how long I needed to do a visit for or how little notice I had for a reception – Ann would without question, rally and do the business.
Ann spent the whole year nagging, mothering and generally looking out for me. Ann is very much missed.
I have not seen much of my family over the past year. Spending both Christmas and Easter on duty meant that visits were few and far between.
I very much missed my Mum, my two younger brothers (Andrew & Matthew), my sister-in-law Janine and my nephew Stanley (who celebrated his first birthday only one month ago).
However I knew that they have given me their full support and love – even from that far off land of Hedge End.
Thanks must now go to the longest and deepest suffering group of people who know me – my friends!
They have put up with my ranting, being forced into reading my blog, babbling on about maces, chains and standing orders.
They’ve put up with me continuously talking about my diary, the last and next reception and nattering about how Wells has a charter etc. etc. etc.
They have also put up with me not being around as much as I would have been. Through all of this they are all still talking to me and no doubt feel relief my year is now at an end.
Amongst the support they gave – they also did something very special for me.
They kept my feet on the ground.
They ensured that it didn’t go to my head too much – and if it did – I was left in no uncertain terms how unimpressed they were.
That is the job of true friends. I’m truly appreciative for all they did for me.
Also they kept me fed (because I still can’t cook – despite Andre trying to help me) and watered throughout the year – ensuring that I was never really left alone or without someone to speak to.
My three charities for this year: Macmillan Support, YMCA Spencer House and the RUH CT Scanner Appeal have all been wonderful. They have all supported me and allowed me to take part in many activities. For the RUH we had the James Bond night – for Macmillan Support I attended their coffee mornings and assisted in street collections – for YMCA Spencer House I stayed over at the house for one week (managing to set the fire alarms off three times!).
Many businesses have supported my over this year too. They include:
· The Silver Studio who supplied my cufflinks and various presents. Keith and Lesley have been fabulous in selecting presents and cufflinks for me (often with vague details on what I want and usually very little time)!
· Thanks to The National Schoolwear Centre who supplied my embroidered suit carrier, shoe bag, rutsack and many other t shirts and polo tops. Sally Robertson very kindly allowed me to change in her changing rooms from my works stuff into suit and bling (which was almost daily)! In the summer, Sally also supplied some emergency white shirts (fully pressed and often within half an hour’s notice).
· Of course I can’t forget the service I have had from Christina and Joe Borastero. Wells Dry Cleaners have ensured that my suits and best shirts have been spotless and maintained. They adjusted all of my suits for the chain and have promised to sow them back up. They have also had to manage the constant flow of table cloths from the Mayor’s Parlour as there are alsorts of stains on them…..!!!
More on that in my memoirs!!
None of my receptions and parties would ever have taken place without the help of people giving out the drink and nibbles. I would like to thank Len and Rosemary Swales; Gill and Stan Weatherhead and Stephanie Webb for their help in this.
I would never have got to or from anything without the help of Lizzie’s partner Neil Levington who ensured Wookey Taxis were on call – however I soon discovered they don’t do past 3 o’clock in the morning and it can be a jolly long walk home!
There are many in the Town Hall I would like to thank.
First I would like to thank the City Councillors – both those who served before the elections and afterwards; for their support during meetings (for which I was always very nervous).
I would like to thank Kevin, Nick and Bruce who helped keep my Parlour together and who sorted the Town Hall for various events.
Without this next person – I would have been very lost. Lizzie Webb acted as my Diary Secretary for the whole year. She ensured that everything was put in place and nothing clashed.
Lizzie soon got very used to the Mayor over promising himself – which required loads of diplomacy to change around timings.
Without Lizzie I would have lost most of my tickets and could never have organised many of the amazing engagements I embarked upon.
I would also like to thank the Town Clerk Keith Donoghue for his advice and counsel over the year. There are often many pitfalls that arise – for which he managed to steer me past all of them.
One of the most important roles surrounding the Mayoralty is the Chaplain. For which, I think, I got the very best you can get.
Dr. Lavinia Byrne has performed the role of Chaplain wonderfully.
As well as being a Chaplain – Lavinia has also acted as Consort to various events.
Lavinia has given me support and a friendly ear throughout my year. She has given me wise advice on matters not just concerning the Mayoralty – but also my wider world. Thank you Lavinia for everything, you’ve been amazing.
That then leaves me with just one other person to thank. It’s someone who has shouted at me when needed (and sometimes when not), someone who was continuously looking out for me and someone who just wanted to chat to me. It is of course my Mayoress and friend, Julie Nicholas.
Julie (who is married to Martin), was called Mrs. Davies – Julie Nichols or just ‘a guest’.
We often had great fun trying to explain that Julie was married to someone else and just a friend of mine. The expressions on people’s faces often said “yeah right – bet your trying to keep this one quiet Mr Mayor”.
Julie has joined me in many of the events I was either invited to or initiated. One of which was my idea to cycle around the Carnival route. This was great fun…for me – but less so for Julie! I have been told that she reserves the right to get her own back for that one and believe me she will!
Julie was never afraid to tell me that I boring other people or speaking a load of gibberish – or that I looked a complete prat in a panama hat!
So Julie, I have been very lucky to have you as my Mayoress – thank you for your love and support. It has been very appreciated…..
Well ladies and gentlemen, that is it……
Just before this satellite finally falls out of range and all the screens at the Command Centre go snowy – I would like to say to every resident and supporter of our City and each of you here tonight: that you all ‘DO’ for Wells and very much ‘DID’ for me…….A VERY BIG THANKYOU for that!
So that’s it……
I’ve come to the end, I’ve finished, I’ve completed the course and I’ve done the deed…
It has been the best year of my life. Thank you for being here at the end.
As they say on Hot Fuzz (for which I’m on the credits) “For the Greater Good”. I hope this year has been……