MAYOR’S MOMENT: Preparing for the year ahead

Mayor of Littlehampton Billy Blanchard-Cooper. Picture: Scott Ramsey
Mayor of Littlehampton Billy Blanchard-Cooper. Picture: Scott Ramsey

I would like to start by saying a big thank you for the many messages of support I have received since it was announced that I would be continuing as mayor for the next year following the full meeting of the Littlehampton Town Council.

For the past week I have been busily working to try and plan my year ahead. I am still not quite ready to announce the charity I will be supporting but hope to be able to do so next week.

I have been overwhelmed when contacting family and friends who supported me so well during my first year by their enthusiasm and willingness to support once again, and so hope I will be able to give back to our town as much as it gives me.

Part of my plan for this year has already had the wheels set in motion and that is to introduce and include deputy mayor Tracey Baker much more. On that note, my first engagement of the week took me to Arundel Castle, accompanied by Tracey, for the annual review of Girlguiding Sussex West.

During the evening we learned what the Guides have been getting up to and enjoying over the course of the past year, including WS2017 where more than 2,500 members of the Guides and Scouts from across West Sussex joined together with more than 600 volunteers and guests from 21 different countries for a Harry Potter themed week of fun.

There were video presentations by some of the girls who had the opportunity to participate in international trips to Ghana and Thailand, showing highlights of their trips.

Before the evening was through, the High Sheriff of West Sussex was asked to present various badges awarded for service and achievement.

After the annual review, which took place in the Barons Hall, guests were invited for refreshments and while talking with one of the Guide leaders who was particularly passionate about the Guides she asked if I could see why the Guide movement was so important.

I was quick to reply that I agreed with the high sheriff who, following the presentations, stated that although she herself was never a Guide, seeing what they get up to she wishes now that perhaps she had been one herself.

I see all these groups now and wish I could turn back the clock and make sure I’d got more involved from an earlier age.

At the weekend I had a family wedding to attend which sadly clashed with the Littlehampton Town Concert Band concert at the Woodlands Centre in Rustington.

Having been to a number of concerts of the band before I was upset I couldn’t attend as they perform to such a high standard and always offer something for all tastes, however I was pleased to be able to offer this engagement to my deputy mayor as her first engagement without me.

Following the concert I spoke with Tracey who said she was made to feel very welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed the concert. She remarked on how beautiful the pieces and arrangements were, with such a fun atmosphere, and with numbers including Liberty Bell which is best known as the title music to Monty Python, I can well believe it was.

Jackie Brown, who has been with the band since its formation 30 years ago, was presented with a gorgeous canvas in recognition for her service to the band.

Tracey was accompanied by Katie, the eldest of her five daughters, who also enjoyed the evening and even spoke with members about potentially joining the band.

I am really pleased Tracey enjoyed this as much as I have in the past, and I look forward to their next concert which takes place at Mewsbrook Park on July 22 from 2pm.

As I continue as mayor I am keen to be kept as busy as possible over the next year and so if you would like to invite me to your events please do get in touch though the mayor’s office by calling 01903 732063.

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