This month’s activity started on a serious note with the annual Brandt Group lecture on the 2nd. It was given by Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of Oxfam and titled “Ending Global Poverty”. This not only gave a lot to think about but also some cause for optimism, things are getting better.
On Tuesday the 7th we had the Marlborough In Bloom AGM in the Town Hall with an opportunity to thank local groups for their contributions and to hand out the awards that we had received back in October in Torquay.
On the 9th I attended the Wiltshire Assembly Conference at County Hall in Trowbridge. This brings together local groups and Councils from around the County. Wiltshire is one of the most complex counties in the country with some 252 town and parish councils. This year we discussed closer military civilian integration, a very fitting subject with some 4000 soldiers and their families, moving in to Wiltshire from Germany, a group larger than the population of Marlborough.
Saturday 11th November was Armistice Day, the start of Remembrance Weekend. The ceremony on the Town Hall steps, started by an air raid siren and followed by the High Street falling silent, is very moving and atmospheric. This year we were joined by Lady Marland, the High Sherriff, who complimented us on the way we do things in our town. We followed by laying wreaths at the 7th Wilts Memorial on London Road. These men did their training in Marlborough in 1915 and were then posted to Salonika to stop the Bulgarians from invading Greece.
On the next day, Sunday, we had our Remembrance Day parade, with a very large number of people turning out in freezing cold weather. We were joined by soldiers from 4MI Battalion, Claire Perry MP and the town’s many youth organisations. Following the ceremonies and Church Service a group of us went up to the town cemeteries, where there are eleven war graves, and laid poppies on the graves. There are five graves in the Victorian Cemetery from the First World War and a further six from the Second World War in the current cemetery. There is an interesting background story behind each one, a subject for further research.
It was off to Trowbridge again on the 17th for a training day giving useful information about council issues such as strategic planning.
On the weekend of 18th November, we had the first of Fred Wilcox’s West Country Fairs in the Town Hall. This is a craft fair and Fred puts a lot of effort in to putting together a collection of stalls offering mostly hand made items. He always does a collection for the Mayor’s charities and this one raised over £350.
On the 29th I went up to the Greatwood Charity to present them with a cheque, from the Town Council, to buy safety equipment. When I posed for a picture they brought out the most enormous stallion I had ever seen, he was, however, very good natured. He was called Louis and only understood French, I thought, at one point, he was going to eat the cheque but, all was well!
Later that day I visited St John’s school to meet with the College Captains, Head Boy and Head Girl. We discussed matters of interest to young people in the Town and had a very good discussion.
This looks like a quiet month but there were a lot of meetings, not listed here, particularly to organise the Christmas Lights Switch-on and the opening of the new Community and Youth centre, more about those next month.