MAYOR’S MOMENT: A royal visit and a grand opening

Billy at the opening of Poundstretcher in Wick
Billy at the opening of Poundstretcher in Wick

Since becoming mayor I have found that each week offers something different, from fetes, performances and fund raisers to meetings and exhibitions – and this week I added a royal visit to the list.

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of being invited to be a part of the official receiving line-up at Fittleworth Medical’s opening of its new premises on Kingley Gate, being visited by HRH the Duke of Kent.

After arriving by helicopter at the Littlehampton Academy his Royal Highness made his way to the centre, where Jackie Pendleton, chair of Arun District Council, Nigel Lynn, chief executive of Arun District Council, myself as mayor and directors of Fittleworth Medical were presented by the Lord–Lieutenant of West Sussex, Susan Pyper.

Following this, we were invited to the board room for a short presentation describing the work of the company and it was pleasing to hear their passion and commitment to customer service and taking extra time to ensure customers are each made to feel valued.

We were then given a tour of the premises, the opportunity to meet and talk with staff and groups associated with the company and finally an unveiling of a commemorative plaque by the Duke of Kent.

The following day I found myself being the one doing the opening – this time for Poundstretcher in Wick at the old Budgens/Co-op site.

On arrival the queue had already formed and was getting bigger by the minute, with shoppers waiting to see what the new store had to offer. Speaking with the team I was amazed to find out that although the refit took just five days they would normally expect to work around the clock and be done within just two days!

Having a look around out the back did seem strange for me as I helped out in this store as a bakery best practitioner when it was a Somerfield, so it brought back memories.

The store had planned special offers including double beds for £10 and fires for £15 and they were also giving out vouchers for other various offers as well as vouchers to spend. By 10am the queue truly formed with hundreds gathered. It was time to cut the ribbon and let everyone in.

I am extremely pleased to see this store reopened and feel it will be particularly good to draw shoppers to this area.

Finally, on Saturday evening I was out of the town attending the charity quiz night organised by Phil Woodall, the mayor of Bognor Regis, at the Methodist Church Hall in aid of his fundraising efforts for the year. His chosen charities are the Alzheimer’s Society and Epilepsy Action.

Having made up a team I was pleased to be able to support my friend and fellow member of the ‘chain gang’ in his fundraising efforts.

The rounds included silent movies, Olympics, classical music, art, history and even a round on the mayor himself.

Everyone enjoyed themselves and I am pleased to say I am a believer in ‘it’s the taking part that counts’, especially in this circumstance having come last.

I was pleased when he announced at the end of the evening that, through the quiz and obligatory raffle, the night had raised more than £250.

With little over two months left for my term as mayor, I am still keen to meet with as many people as possible and support in any way I can.

I’d love for the invitations to continue coming in right up until my last moments as mayor and so if you do have anything you would like me to come to please do not hesitate to contact me at the mayor’s office on 01903 732063 – I look forward to hearing from you.


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