MAYOR’S MOMENT: Remembering

Billy with Julie Roby, manager of the Wick information
Billy with Julie Roby, manager of the Wick information

Monday I started my week off by opening the newly redecorated dining room at Oakland Grange residential care home in St Floras Road.

The dining room has been fully redecorated from top to bottom including repainting, curtains, carpets, new furniture and crockery, and has a lovely fresh classic yet contemporary feel about it.

Getting this achieved was one of the first things Naomi wanted to achieve since recently taking over as the manger for this home.

Speaking with her she has lots of enthusiasm and ideas and the rest of the team and residents said the work has gone down well and they are looking forward to see what the next project will be.

The following day I was invited to The Voice of Progress for an interview for their recorded newspaper.

As soon as I was invited to this I jumped at the chance as I am keen to engage with everyone I can through any media available, although I am a little apprehensive about listening to it myself as, like many, I don’t like the sound of my own voice when recorded.

I have been a karaoke host in the past so having a microphone in front of me felt quite natural and I hope this comes across.

Once there we sat down, the red light came on and it was time to talk away.

This was quite a relaxed interview with no hard hitting questions, mainly about myself and my role as mayor so far.

The Voice of Progress records from papers so people with visual impairments can still easily keep up to date with what is going on.

Perhaps if you know of someone who would benefit from this free service you could let them know about it.

Visit www.voiceofprogress.co.uk or call 01903 776569.

Come Saturday I was once again back in St James Church for another concert by the Edwin James Festival Choir and Orchestra, this time on the theme of A Time for Remembrance with it being dedicated to all those who have lost their lives in conflict while serving our country.

As always the sound this group produced was simply divine and uplifting, including The Lord is my Shepherd, Polovetsian Dances from the opera Prince Igor and Magnificat, not to mention La Mamma Morta from the opera Andrea Chenier which was brought to life by soloist singer Lorna Moore.

With this being the third concert of the groups I have been to it has been wonderful to see them perform such a range of different music and find out how much good they are doing as each concert supports a different charity, with this one having donations made towards the Chichester Stroke Club.

Their next performance is Winter Wonderland on December 15 and 16, at 3pm – for tickets please call 01243 582330.

After this I took a walk into Wick to attend the Wick Information Centre’s 20th birthday celebrations.

It was great to see such a vibrant feeling of community all contributing in different ways to make the area even better.

People were awarded with certificates for the help they have given and entertainment was provided by a live singer.

Julie Roby, the manager of the centre, was recognised with a large bouquet for her hard work and dedication.

Only half-way into my year as mayor and I can vouch for what a brilliant enthusiastic spirit there is in this community and long may it continue.

While here it was fitting that Roger Butterworth was remembered who sadly passed away earlier in the week.

Roger – known to many of us in the town as Mr Butterworth, Mr B or Sir – was truly one of the characters who make this town great and gave so much to it and I was lucky to have known him.

On his passing, tributes have been showered across Facebook with people sharing their memories of him as a teacher at the Littlehampton Community School and since then of him volunteering at the St Barnabas shop in Wick, museum, library and local schools but to name a few.

I find it ironic that a man who didn’t like computers and social media had so many memories shared using this and think he will be up there looking down on us with his best bow tie and red hat laughing away while meeting the many people he made come alive for us through his history lessons.

Sunday of course was Remembrance Day, and the town came out in force adorning poppies as a sign of their remembrance to those who we have lost in wars and who have served and are serving so that we may live in freedom.

Being able to lay a wreath on behalf of the Littlehampton Town Council at the cenotaph was an honour I will not forget.

As we stood united as one town I thought of how in this act of silent remembrance we were united further, with acts of remembrance taking place across the country ensuring that no one is forgotten as the nation unites to honour all who have suffered or died in war.

With this in mind I was particularly pleased to learn that this year Reverend Tom Robson, the vicar of All Saints, performed the first Remembrance Day in Wick with wreaths laid at the restored memorial in Wick Hall.

Lest we forget.

Billy with Julie Roby, manager of the Wick information Centre