MAYOR’S MOMENT: Be Prepared

Billy with the cast of Variety Showtime
Billy with the cast of Variety Showtime

This week my first official engagement was to attend the Arundel and Littlehampton District Scouts Council 102nd AGM which took place at the Barons’ Hall, Arundel Castle, at the invitation of His Grace, The Duke of Norfolk, who was also present.

Prior to the meeting we had the pleasure of listening to the district Scout band in the private castle quadrangle before the formalities of the AGM – this area is not normally open to the public and had perfect acoustics to hear this hard-working band at its best.

The Scout band at Arundel Castle

The Scout band at Arundel Castle

After the business of the meeting the collective members, supporters and guests were addressed by the district commissioner and county representatives advising of the good work done by the movement over the past year.

There was an inspirational speech from guest speaker Mark Spofforth and a presentation of trophies and awards to members.

One of the highlights of the event was the Scout Hymn, performed by the 7th Littlehampton Cubs and Beavers, before the evening came to a close with a further rendition from the band inside the hall.

This was followed by refreshments in the castle restaurant, where I had the opportunity to meet Scout leaders and view photographs of events of the Cub Scouts celebrating their 100th birthday and Beaver Scouts celebrating their 30th birthday.

Arun Youth Aqua Centre 40th anniversary celebrations

Arun Youth Aqua Centre 40th anniversary celebrations

This week I attended various meetings at the town council which, following the Scout motto of “be prepared”, saw us discussing planning and development for the town, as well as the enjoyable task of discussing the towns Christmas lights and display, which the team at the Littlehampton Town Council have been working on for the past few months already.

I also had the pleasure of meeting the prize-winning family who won tickets to the Royal international Air Tattoo, on July 16 at RAF Fairford, in my charity raffle on Armed Forces Day.

Following on from a discussion that I had with one of our residents during the Armed Forces Day celebrations, I took the opportunity to call in at the Littlehampton Skatepark to chat with some of our younger residents and their parents and grandparents who were surprised and pleased to meet and talk with the mayor so they could put forward some of their hopes and suggestions for improvements that could be made to the facilities.

I was already aware that my fellow councillors Dr James Walsh and Freddie Tandy are also looking into this facility, and it was interesting to see Whispering Smith suggest, in last week’s Gazette, that I speak to the youth regarding this, when it was already on my agenda following the discussion I had had with the lady at Armed Forces Day.

I found this visit gave valuable feedback from those who use this park, which I hope we can use in making future decisions.

On Friday evening I visited my much-loved Windmill Theatre to support a live ‘Variety Showtime’ produced by John Howe Presentations Ltd and performed by Stage 4 Productions UK.

It is no surprise to those who know me that I am most at home when seeing a live show, as this is a particular passion of mine, and it was a pleasure to welcome this touring company to the town for their first production at this venue, providing traditional seaside variety entertainment with a modern feel which was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience.

Some of the highlights included juggler Steve Arnold who is one of the leading jugglers in the UK who combines a high technical level of juggling with incredible lighting effects; ventriloquist Steve Hewlett with his Simon Cowell and Arthur Lager puppets as previously seen on Britain’s Got Talent; and one of the highlights of the evening being the Sundaes who brought their own sense of style and humour whilst paying homage to some of our biggest singing divas.

The show featured other talented performers who gave their all and made a thoroughly enjoyable evening out which I would recommend anybody to see when they next visit the town.

A bright and cheery Saturday found me in the town centre to join members of Littlehampton Organisation of Contemporary Arts (LOCA) for their monthly Artisan Market, to meet with the many stallholders and customers who took the opportunity to enjoy this lively event and the many varied craft stands that were offering their wares.

It also gave LOCA the chance to promote its Love Littlehampton Arts Festival and I saw their stilt walking giant and Love Littlehampton fairy encouraging the public to attend the week of events which commence next Saturday, July 15.

For more information see www.visitlittlehampton.co.uk.

Sunday saw me start the day by calling in on the Arun Youth Aqua Centre who were holding a 40th anniversary celebration at their Hendon Avenue compound.

It was a pleasure to see the young members enjoying their sport sailing out on the water while chatting with the organisers and members.

The group of approximately 32 girls and boys under 18 years old enjoyed a lunch spread supplied by their families while being joined by some of their former members who made a return visit for the occasion.

Unfortunately I was unable to stay for the full event but I look forward to a return visit to chat with the sailors themselves and maybe even venture out on the water with them.

The group are always keen to recruit new members and for further information please visit www.ayac.org.uk

Following on from this event I took a return visit to Arundel, this time to the Cathedral of Our Lady and St Philip Howard, Arundel, for a service of prayer and dedication for the mayor, Angela Standing, and the town council.

The service was preceded by a delightful choir of pupils from St Philip’s School and Arundel Church of England School and also featured representatives from the town’s youth organisations and once again music from the Arundel and Littlehampton District Scout Band.

This was a joyful occasion and once again reminded me how lucky we are to have such heritage so close to our doorstep.

As always if you would like to invite me to an event please contact the mayor’s office on 01903 732063 – I look forward to hearing from you.

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