MAYOR’S MOMENT: Services and alliances

Armed Forces Day
Armed Forces Day

While the town was enjoying the mini heatwave, the team at the Littlehampton Town Council were busy preparing for one of the biggest events in the town’s summer calendar – Armed Forces Day.

Thursday saw me meet with Spirit FM at the Manor House to record an interview to publicise the event, followed by preparations for my first full council meeting as mayor, which was to take place later that day.

Billy with Littlehampton Twinning Association members

Billy with Littlehampton Twinning Association members

On Friday I was invited by the RNLI Littlehampton branch to attend a fundraising concert performed by the Davison Worthing Youth Concert Band at The Littlehampton Academy.

This talented group, comprising of approximately 40 young ladies and gentlemen from across the schools in the Worthing area, under the direction of Karen Kennard and assisted by Nathaniel Roff, performed a varied programme to a very receptive audience.

Some of the highlights of the evening included a film section featuring Titanic, The Godfather, Star Wars and Shrek, a swing section, a tantalising tango, and my personal favourite being a medley from the West End hit musical ‘Wicked’ which opened the second half.

The band have a busy year ahead with various concerts in the UK and a tour taking them to Austria, and I would encourage any music lovers to try and catch one of their concerts if they can.

Billy and Worthing mayor Alex Harmon with the Davison Worthing Youth Concert Band

Billy and Worthing mayor Alex Harmon with the Davison Worthing Youth Concert Band

Following the concert there was a bucket collection and this, along with the ticket sales and a raffle, helped raise £800, smashing the £500 target they were hoping for.

It was a pleasure to also welcome and meet for the first time the mayor of Worthing, Alex Harmon, and Mrs Harmon.

For further information please see their website www.DWYCB.com or find them on Facebook.

Saturday dawned and proved, as usual, that you can’t rely on the British weather.

The Flying Flea

The Flying Flea

In true British spirit everyone pulled together to make a great success of Littlehampton’s Armed Forces Day.

I took part in the somewhat damp parade along with veterans, uniformed groups, marching bands, visiting dignitaries and fellow town councillors.

The parade made its way to the west green where it congregated in the main arena for a drumhead service conducted by Fr Roger Caswell, to give thanks for those who have served and continue to serve in the armed forces, the work of the Royal British Legion and of all ex-service organisations and for all those who bear the scar of conflict, that they may find peace and healing.

This was particularly poignant having met earlier in the week with an ex-serviceman quite by chance, who shared with me his experience and how it still affect him to this day.

Billy with The Silhouettes

Billy with The Silhouettes

I also have a family member, of whom I am extremely proud, currently serving in the armed forces so can appreciate all the essential work and support that the many causes attending this day provide.

Following the service I, along with my consort, took the opportunity to visit the varied displays of military vehicles, motorbikes and organisations, enjoying meeting with both the exhibitors, visitors and local residents who were all thoroughly enjoying the day.

Many stopped to watch the entertaining arena displays such as the wonderful Silhouette Show, the Essex dog display team and the T6 Texan flight display.

The day finished with the standard bearers and participants taking part in a sunset service where the flags were lowered to the sounds of a lone piper.

Knowing how much work goes into the preparation of this event I would like to express my thanks to the town council staff, event marshals and all participants who worked so hard to make this event a success for the town and honour the armed forces appropriately.

Sunday morning saw me take up the invitation to attend the Worthing Drumhead Service to celebrate Armed Forces Day organised by Worthing Combined Ex-Services Association, conducted by the Revd David S Farrant accompanied by the Royal British Legion’s Lancing Brass.

Vehicles on the green for Armed Forces Day

Vehicles on the green for Armed Forces Day

Once again it was a pleasure to see our armed forces past, present and future, honoured by so many.

I wrapped up my week by joining the members of the Littlehampton Twinning Association for a cream tea social garden party hosted by two of their members.

Littlehampton has been twinned with Chennevières-sur-Marne in France since 1982 and Durmersheim in Germany since 1988.

The group aims to promote friendly relations between Littlehampton and the communities abroad and encourage visits and exchanges with our twinned towns, particularly by students and younger adults, groups and clubs of all ages and interests.

Exchange visits take place each year staying in private homes meeting French and German families to experience their way of life, enjoy their warm hospitality, learn a little French or German and benefit from the experiences.

The group are keen to hear from people of all ages, particularly younger people, to take part in their social activities and exchange visits, and from my experience of meeting them I can honestly say the group are extremely warm and welcoming.

To find out more please check out their website – www.littlehamptontwinning.co.uk – or Facebook page.

I’m pleased to say that some residents are starting to stop and speak to me at events to share their thoughts and views about the town, which I always encourage and I hope you find me quite approachable.

Saturday sees the popular Artisan Market return to the town centre.

I would encourage you to take the opportunity to sample the varied stalls, and I may well see you there.

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Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day