MAYOR’S MOMENT: Wonderful week on the waterfront after last week’s Manchester attack

Billy cutting the ribbon to officially re-open The Boat House
Billy cutting the ribbon to officially re-open The Boat House

In writing this week’s column I felt it would be remiss of me not to reflect on the atrocities that took place in Manchester last week, and not feeling able to put in word’s myself I would like to share a poem written by local friend and author Joan Blackburn, who has kindly permitted me to share her words.

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Billy with David and Sharon Chace

Billy with David and Sharon Chace

NO WORDS

“Will you write a poem” someone said “for the Manchester bereaved”,

But no words describe this awful time that’s hard to be believed.

What words describe the creature who targets ones so young,

Robert Boyce and Billy on the water

Robert Boyce and Billy on the water

just innocently laughing and enjoying so much fun?

What words describe the horror, what words describe the pain?

What can you say to people whose lives won’t be the same?

Everything seems shallow and nothing can be said

Billy and Just Able Friends members

Billy and Just Able Friends members

No words today seem adequate when your life has turned to dread.

But Manchester is special and has its special ways

to keep the people brave and strong to cope with these dark days.

No one will get over it – how can one ever try?

But maybe in the mists of time the tears will start to dry.

No words express the love we feel and the comfort we would give

to all affected by this deed, no matter where we live.

No words express our utmost grief for each and every one

Of those left with the aftermath of an evening of such fun.

My words are quite inadequate but they are coming from the soul

I’m torn from rage to sadness and no words achieve my goal.

To those whose hearts are broken, no words will be enough

to express how deeply we all feel and convey our care and love.

Joan Blackburn

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This week I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of the business ventures that rely on the tourism in the town as well as the support of local residents.

A glorious sunny Wednesday saw me take a trip to the other side of the Arun to officially re-open The Boat House.

This delightful bistro based at the Littlehampton Marina has recently been taken on by Julie Roll and her team and offers a perfect setting complete with terrace overlooking the Arun and countryside.

A perfect stop for dog walkers or to take a business lunch, this venue offers a wide-ranging menu throughout the week as well as tapas evenings, breakfasts and barbecues.

I would like to wish Julie and her team every success with this venture.

Thursday’s engagement was to join the new chairman of Arun District Council, Jacky Pendleton, and other dignitaries on the promenade for the raising of the Seaside Award Flag, which the town has been successful in obtaining.

I was delighted to take the opportunity to meet some of the team from the foreshore office who play an integral part in the safety of our coastline enabling us to achieve this award.

Following on from the waterfront theme my week was taking, on Friday I found myself boarding the Littlehampton Ferry.

This service which was reintroduced under the support of Littlehampton Town Council is operated by Robert Boyce who kindly took myself and other passengers on a tour of the harbour.

It was a delight to see the town from a different angle and hear his enthusiasm and passion for the future of the harbour side.

The ferry comfortably seats up to 12 passengers and is easily accessible.

It operates a river crossing service, harbour tours and is available for private hire excursions at weekends and school holidays, Easter to September, and is well worth a visit.

On returning back home I pasted through Mewsbrook Park where the early heat wave brought out queues of people to sample the delights of the café and, although ice-creams unsurprisingly seemed to be the flavour of the day, I was invited by proprietors David and Sharon Chace to indulge in their delicious cream teas.

This venue offers a perfect setting for a special occasion on the terrace overlooking the boating lake or in their adjacent conservatory.

Open 365 days a year the team will always offer a warm welcome.

I ended my week by attending the AGM of local organisation Just Able Friends, meeting its members and committee.

This group, which is in its third year, has been setup with the aim of helping to alleviate the isolation experienced by some people with disabilities.

Just Able Friends is a group of volunteers promoting social inclusion to a mixed age of members from a cross section of society, it arranges a varied social programme of events and offers support and advice on social care and wellbeing.

The members are keen to increase their membership and would welcome any new members or volunteers.

Being a carer for a disabled partner myself I was very interested to learn of the work this organisation does and can empathise with some of the issues that the members face.

The group is keen to raise funds to acquire a beach-accessible wheelchair so its members can enjoy all that the town has to offer.

For more information get in touch with them via their website – www.justablefriends.org – or by calling 01903 722957.

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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