Archive for May, 2010

Lock's and steering training

May 30, 2010

Sunday May 30th
River Avon, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

During my chairman’s year, I received a very special donation from Blackprince Holidays. A weeks holiday on a narrowboat. Such wonderful support for my charities deserved to be made the most of and the holiday was auctioned during my Gala Evening. The eventual winner was Mike and Barbara Morgan, Mike was then Vice Chairman of Malvern Hills District Council. Mike is now chairman of MHDC. Now, none of the Morgan clan had any experience of narrowboats, locks, canal’s etc, so Wendy and I offered to show them the ropes with a trip on our own narrowboat Lord Toulouse.

At about 10.45am we leave Tewkesbury

through the narrow and low road bridge.

Sailing is a popular pastime on the Avon.

There is plenty going on in the fields and lots of wildlife all around.

Mike takes a turn at steering and daughter stays out of the wind.

The Morgan family enjoying a spot of lunch in the picnic area at Eckington.

The weather was cool, sunny, cloudy, windy and views across the countryside were lovely. Bredon Tower can be seen at the top of Bredon Hill in the very distance.

Time for lock instruction,

followed by a turn on the tiller for Barbara.

Finally, we gently rise in Pershore Lock.

A well earned glass of the fizzy stuff for all concerned at the moorings in Pershore. Smashing trip, thanks for your company. I know you will enjoy your holiday on the Llangollen canal.


Evesham Civic Service

May 16, 2010

May 16th 3.00pm
All Saints Church, Evesham

I am no longer chairman of Wychavon District Council, however, I am still a councilor and I am an Evesham Town Councillor. I am here today, representing Evesham Town Council and supporting the New Mayor at his civic service. Tradition dictates that the service takes place , on the first available Sunday following Mayormaking. This year the Mayor’s chaplain is The Reverend Barry Collins, Vicar of St Peter’s, Bengeworth, Evesham.

Having met at Evesham Town Hall,  we line up ready to process. Macebearers lead the Mayor, dignitaries and civic guests.

New Chairman of Wychavon District Council on the far left, with consort, husband Maurice.

Cllr Jim Bulman, Mayor of Evesham, reads the lesson,

followed by Evesham Volunteer Centre Manager, Helen Gray.
There were also contributions from local school’s and an excellent sermon by Barry Collins.

After the service, all attending were invited to tea and cakes.
A lovely service.

Bromsgrove District Council Annual Council

May 12, 2010

May 12th 6.00pm
Council Chamber, The Council House, Burcot Lane, Bromsgrove

Wendy and I attended this meeting at the invitation of outgoing chairman Cllr Chris Scurrell. Wychavon District Council were officially represented by new Vice Chairman Cllr Tony Miller and his consort wife, Catherine.

Bromsgrove Council Offices

Cllr Scurrell in the chair as nominations are made for chairman.

Elected unopposed is Vice chairman, Cllr Mrs June Griffiths of Alvechurch.
Click Here

Cllr Griffiths then takes her seat in the chair and continues with the meeting. 

Following the meeting, Cllr Mrs Griffiths hosted a reception, which included a very detailed talk from the local fundraising coordinator for Help for Hero’s, which is the chairman’s supported charity for 2010/11 

New Chairman Elected 11/5/2010

May 11, 2010

Tuesday 11th  May 2010
Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Pershore

Cllr. Andy Dyke – outgoing Chairman with Cllr. Linda Robinson – incoming Chairman.
Cllr Linda Robinson was elected as Chairman of Wychavon District Council for 2010/2011 with her husband Mr Maurice Robinson supporting her as Consort.
The Chairman’s charities this year will be Riding for the Disabled, Worcestershire Federation of Young Farmers and Kington and Dormston Seniors Club.
Outgoing Chairman Cllr. Andrew Dyke said “It is with great sadness that Wendy and I hand in the Chairman’s chain and that my year in office has come to an end, but I wish Linda all the best with her coming year. I hope she enjoys it as much as I have.”
Cllr Linda Robinson, Chairman of Wychavon said “As the member for Upton Snodsbury I feel I will bring a new rural aspect to the role of Chairman and I will be honoured to serve and work hard in this capacity. I’m very much looking forward to representing the council as Chairman and look forward to doing much work for my chosen charities.”
Vice Chairman for this year is Cllr Tony Miller. Cllr. Linda Robinson will be keeping the Chairman’s blog running which has been so popular in the past year.

Annual Council – The End!

May 11, 2010

May 11th 6.15pm
Civic Centre, Pershore

So here we are then. The final, final event. Although it’s not an event or function as such. This is annual council where the chairman gets his marching orders and a new one voted in. Usually I would spend the day preparing for the meeting, however once I have taken the vote, if one is needed, for the new chairman, I go to my seat on the back benches. So, not much preparation for me to do. We do have a rehearsal for this meeting only and a briefing. The briefing takes place before every meeting and is vital for the smooth running of the meeting. Anyway, here is what I said at tonight’s meeting. 

Good Evening, You will recall at our last meeting I announced Caroline would be unable to be with us tonight. We are however indebted to the Reverend Brian Holliday, who will lead us in prayer tonight.
In the last couple of weeks, I have had the pleasure of opening the Leisure centre in Evesham, we had a very successful Chairman’s golf day, raising almost £750 for my supported charities, we spent a lovely few hours at St Richards Day in Droitwich, I was presented with a letter of appreciation and friendship from the people of Uzda in Belarus, we have had 2 excellent leaving doo’s, we attended Evesham Mayormaking last night and only this morning Wendy and I had a very interesting visit to Cllr Rob Adams ward.
I know it’s a cliché but I really do not understand how the last 12 months have flown by. I made a fairly detailed appraisal of my chairman’s year at the end of term doo last Friday and do not intend to repeat all of it, it is on the blog if you really want to read it, however I would briefly like to refer to my remarks and aspirations last year at this time. Last year I said my theme for the year would be business. I think I can say the lunches were successful and I have helped in a small way to promote Wychavon as an area where businesses can come and thrive, due to our geographical location, excellent transport, workforce  and technology links. I would like to thank Chris Brooks and his team for all their help with putting the Business Lunches together. I also said I wanted to highlight community involvement and political inclusion. Wendy and I have without doubt given greater publicity to many, many community projects and every one have given us enormous pleasure. The political inclusion thought, is still in it’s early stages locally but seems to have been taken literally by the whole country. Time will tell how that will work out. Perhaps we should change our constitution, so that the chairman can resign, but still stay on.
With regret my ward visits did not reach 100%, missing by 3.
Fundraising for my supported charities was much better than expected and we raised a total of £7600. I have been truly amazed by the generosity of companies and individuals, who gave prizes, donations and time. There are far too many to go into tonight but I do thank them all very much. 
We have had some sad occasions, and on your behalf I attended the funerals of 2 serving councillors during my year, Cllr Graham Gopsill and Cllr Ron Cartwright.
And now to a few thank you’s. Karen Peters and Mandy Ladds have been absolutely brilliant in making sure Wendy and I have been fully briefed and in the right place at the right time. Geoff Carpenter, who organised the chairman’s golf day so expertly. The girls in the graphics team who have done some brilliant designs for our functions and the print room for getting it all done on time. There are a number of officers, at all levels, that have helped along the way and I hope you will all accept a combined thank you. Wendy and I really do appreciate all the assistance, we have been given.
You will see from your agenda that this year I am making a specific presentation to my consort Cllr Mrs Wendy Dyke. I wanted this year to officially record my, and the councils appreciation, for everything Wendy has done, this last 12 months. Those of you who have been Chairman will know, that the role is a partnership, it’s teamwork and it is important that chairman and consort attend functions together, to be supportive together, and afterwards to analyse, to see how we can be more effective and how we can learn for other’s efforts. Of course all this is made much easier when you sleep with the person involved. So I am delighted this year to present a brooch, from the council, to my consort Cllr Mrs Wendy Dyke.
In conclusion, thank you for the opportunity, thank you for putting your trust in Wendy and me. We really have had a most memorable and unique experience.
And finally, the blog, It’s been a great success and I am delighted to say is carrying on. Last year, to kick it off, I took some pictures in this very room. To finish, I would like to do the same…..Smile please.

Thank you

You can see the papers relating to this meeting,
Click Here

Visit to EnviRecover – Norton

May 11, 2010

May 11th 10.00am
EnviroSort – the Commingled Materials Reclamation Facility at Norton, Worcestershire

Invited by Cllr Rob Adams, whose ward this facility falls within, our visit here today is part of the ward visit program and my very last official function.  I have been to a very similar facility before but it is always interesting to see exactly what happens after all that rubbish sorting at home. The pictures below give a flavor.

 The main administration block. The business end of the operation is behind this building.

Our visit, coincided with a visit from Norton-Juxta-Kempsey Parish Council members.

The lorry in this picture is going to Holland. Recycled plastic from here is sent all over the world.

These are all different plastic types.

Thanks Rob, a fascinating in site into recycling.
For a little video of how it all works, Click Here and leave your sound on

Evesham Annual Council and Mayormaking

May 10, 2010

Monday May 10th 7.00pm
 Evesham Town Hall, Market Square, Evesham

For the past 11 years I have been a part of this meeting as an Evesham town Councillor. In 2004 I was the one being made Mayor. This year, Wendy and I attended to represent Wychavon District Council.

Mayor of Evesham, Cllr Alan Booth, opened the meeting.

and makes some presentations. Here, Fred Kaler receives the Mayor of Evesham Citizenship Award.

Cllr Robbie Raphael gives a vote of thanks to the mayor for all his work during the last 3 years.

The mayor sums up his time as Mayor. I remember very well this speech, the last in a mayoral year, can be quite emotional.

It is then time to propose the next Mayor. Councillor John Smith OBE proposes Deputy Mayor, Cllr Jim Bullman

and after a short break to robe, Cllr Bullman takes the oath of office. Cllr Alan Booth, seen here on the left, takes his place with the other councillors.

The meeting is then adjourned for 7 days and the councillor’s leave the room. Evesham Poet Mike Edwards, entertains while the councillors de robe.

Mayor of Evesham 2010/11 Cllr Jim Bullman and Consort, Mrs Pat Bullman

During the evening a new Deputy Mayor is also elected. Cllr Gerry O’Donnell is seen her with wife and consort Jenny.

There is a reception following the meeting and Alan Booth is presented with an appreciation award from the British Legion.
Well done Alan, you have done a superb job in the last 3 years.

End of Term Doo – 'The Other One'

May 9, 2010

Sunday May 9th 6.00pm
Raphaels Restaurant, Hampton Ferry, Evesham

Diana Raphael asked me if she could host a party, for those people that have made this year special, and to celebrate my end of year. This included most of our chain gang, officers from WDC, winners of the Wonders of Wychavon Competition, and our family. Wendy and I were very happy to accept.
Pictures tell a story, so look below. 
The evening started with a boat trip, generously donated by
Avon Leisure Cruises

On the bow 

James, my son the elder

Passing our narrowboat, Lord Toulouse

Our guest’s on the port side

and on the starboard side

Having turned at Evesham Lock, we head back to Raphaels Restaurant.

Dave Smith (left) owner of Avon Leisure Cruises and skipper of the Spirit of Freedom on Avon, give the Mayor of Redditch a lesson in boat handling.

Enjoying the evening were winners of the Wonder of Wychavon photographic competition, Andrew Sully on my left and Nick Cosnett.
Picture courtesy of The Vale Magazine.

After a wonderful, if a little cool, river trip, supper is waiting. What a spread.

Some of the chain gang

and some more

John Raphael provided some sparking entertainment

and the Mayor of Redditch, Cllr Malcolm Hall, provided some more.

After a fabulous meal, fireworks, donated by Celebration Fireworks

A brilliant display brought the evening to an end. It was a wonderful night and a very fitting end to our year. To be surrounded by those who have contributed most was just great. Many thanks to Diana, John and Robbie Raphael, to Rob Lewis of Celebration Fireworks and Dave Smith and Geraldine Cooper from Avon Leisure Cruises for everything.
Thanks to Chris Scurrell for some of the above pictures

Chairman's End of Term Doo

May 7, 2010

Friday May 7th 6.30pm
Evesham Town Hall

Traditionally, at the end of every Chairman’s term of office, a party is held to celebrate the year, and review the last 12 months.
It’s the day after the general election and everyone is feeling a little tired, having been up half the night. The party is usually held at the civic centre but this year, it’s full of ballot papers and there is no room at the inn, so to speak. This is why it is being held in Evesham.

MD Jack Hegarty, says some rather nice things about me and the year we are about to close.

and then it was my turn. Here is what I said:-

Good Evening all and thank you for coming. I know some of you have been up half the night and we are here because there was no room at the civic centre, however it does give you all the chance to experience our magnificent Evesham Town Hall

I wanted tonight to say some thank you’s and so I don’t forget anyone I am going to use Wychavon District Council to help me out. I also want to talk a little bit about our year. So here goes.

W, can only be for one thing, Wendy. Wendy has been a fabulous consort. Always helping, always suggesting, always advising, always looking amazing, no matter what the function. Being Chairman is a wonderful honour and I am very grateful to her for all the effort she has put into making our year very special.

Y is for youth and we have seen some amazing talent around the county in the last 12 months. Voices and Visions, The W Factor, Indigo Arts, Number 8, schools and colleges.

C is for Charities. We have held 7 functions this year, I am pleased to say all have been successful and we have raised £7600 for Evesham Shopmobility, Pershore riverside Youth Centre and Droitwich Canals trust. I did think at the start of the year we would struggle to get prizes and it would be difficult to sell raffle tickets and tickets for fundraisers. I need not have worried, the generosity of companies and individuals has been truly amazing and I am extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed, with prizes, donations or time. At the beginning of the year I said I wanted to raise money for specific items, that would benefit the charities in particular ways and not go into the general pot. It is customary on this occasion, to equally split money raised, and to hand out cheques. However, later this year I intend to speak with each of the charities and find the best ways to help them. It is highly likely that charities will benefit from different amounts, depending on specific their requirements

H is for help and I would like to thank the Vice Chairman Cllr Mrs Linda Robinson for all the assistance she has given me this year. It is one of my great regrets this year that I was not able to attend every function we have been invited to. Total invitations this year have been 281 with as many as 5 on a single day. If you include every meeting and appointment the chairman has been involved with this year it comes to 308. Of those, 2 have been in Broadway, 27 in Droitwich, 60 in Evesham and we came to Pershore 45 times. We also attended 31 functions in other areas of Wychavon and 64 outside the district a total of 229. It’s been a busy year.

A is for advice and a number of officers have given all sorts of advice and tactful guidance throughout the year. Thank you to all of them.

V is for visits, ward visits, or as one councillor called them, Ward awareness visits, which is probably a better description. It is a regret this year, I did not manage to achieve my ambition, to visit officially every ward, however I did manage 28 of the 32 wards and I am grateful to those councillors who went out of their way to invite Wendy and me onto their patch and show us round.

 O is for Office. I love that room, I will miss that room. It is a great place to work and plan. Everything on tap, what more could anyone want.

N is for Nothing to do. Well not quite. I am going back to work for Jessops on June 1st and just to make life interesting we are moving house on May 21st. I will also be more involved with council work, so I will be kept quite busy.

D is for Diana. Of the 7 functions we have held this year, 3 have been organised by Diana Raphael. All have been fantastically successful and Wendy and I are extremely grateful for everything you have done for us this year.

I is for insomnia. Enough said.

S is for Support services and two very important people in particular that department. Karen Peters and Mandy Ladds have been an absolute star double act. Even though Karen cleared off for 4 months and Mandy was thrown into the deep end, doing all her usual work and looking after my requirements, nothing was ever too much trouble. I think they should be known as the Unipart Twins, because the answer was always yes. I can tell you, Karen and Mandy could teach many a council support service department a lesson, in how to make sure the chairman is fully aware of what is required and when. Ladies, I have a little something for you as you know, but not now. I hope you enjoy Sunday night.

T is for Table plans. Wendy and I have spent huge amounts of time on table plans because, she wont sit with him, and so and so doesn’t get on with her. I am very pleased, there will be no more table plans!

R is for Reward and the reward we have had at every function, this past 12 months. Everywhere we have been, we have met people we would not have met had we not been invited. I would like to thank the councillors for electing me and giving me the opportunity to witness the amazing work that is going on in our district.

I is for Internet and the Chairman of Wychavon blog. I have had enormous pleasure doing the blog and with close on 10,000 hits it has been a great success. With 309 separate pages and posts, over 2000 pictures, and many 10’s of thousands of words. It has taken a lot of time and effort but I believe it is important that the public see what the council and the chairman does. We are embracing the latest technology and I am pleased the next chairman is carrying on with the blog and hopefully future chairman will too.

C is for chain gang and ours has been brilliant. We have made some real and lasting friendships this year and we have all supported each other in our various charity fundraising functions. Their contribution to our year has been highly significant in many ways and there have been many occasions enhanced due to their presence.

T is for Tummy. Yes it’s grown, as has the rest of me. I think I’ll move on.

C is for Church and also for Caroline. Caroline has been a brilliant chaplain in every way and I would like to thank her very much indeed for her advice, help and guidance during the year. We have been to 35 church services, carol, funeral, memorial and civic. Listened to about the same number of sermons and sung over 100 hymns and carols. And, we have enjoyed them all in one way or another.

O is for opportunity. For the opportunity given to Wendy and I, and we are both very grateful. Not many get to welcome Royalty to Wychavon one day, have tea with the queen another, meet amazing people in amazing places, doing amazing things on many other days.

U is for Understanding. While this year has been wonderful for us, I do understand that not everyone has had the year we have had. There have been many changes in peoples circumstances, both within the council and in the district as a whole. Understanding will be important ongoing as we start a new chapter in the district and look forward to many challenges ahead.

N is for Need. It has been suggested to me, councils don’t need a chairman. Well, they do. As much as we have had huge pleasure this year, so have many other’s. I have been really surprised how much people appreciate the chairman visiting their, club, organisation or watch their show. Truth is without a chairman, a figurehead, much of what goes on in the community would go unrecognised, unpublicised and charity donations would suffer enormously.

C is for Communities and one of the joys this year has been visiting real people doing all sorts of things for the good of the community. It takes special people to give and continue to give. They do it without favour, they do it because the need is there and they do it because they get pleasure out of helping others. We have been a number of village halls this year and the people involved in village halls have a wonderful time and the community that benefit as well. Long may they all continue.

I is for, well I couldn’t think of anything for I, so I am going to change it to J and J is for Jack. Jack has been there whenever I needed to chat and I really thank him for his support and assistance throughout the year.

And finally L is for Les – For many years, Les Eales has been the chauffeur for Wychavon District Council chairmen, however Les, is much more than someone who picks you up and drops you at the required destination. He has a wealth of useful information. Les very often knows the venue, knows where to park, knows where he is going and who is expect to be there. His advice on all sorts of matters is sometimes vital and always interesting.  He is an expert at getting the Chairman and consort to the function, on time, fully informed and briefed, comfortable and presentable. Even in the most appalling weather. Nothing is ever too much trouble. So, thank you Les for all you have done for Wendy and me this year.

Ladies and Gentlemen, to say we have has a wonderful year does not come close to describing the experience. Thank you again for the opportunity to do something that very few do, and if the next chairman has half the time we have had, she will have a very good year indeed.
Thank you

Invited guests, spellbound by my speech 🙂

Maurice Robinson, next year’s Chairman’ consort, examining the list of functions Wendy and I have attended. How many?!!!
You can see them click here 

Thanks to all those who attended, and for the photo book. Nice one.

Presentation from the People of Uzda, Belarus

May 5, 2010

Wednesday May 5th 10.00am
Chairman’ Office, Civic Centre

You will recall, I had the pleasure of seeing off a convoy of trucks carrying aid to Uzda, Belarus. Click here for a reminder
I sent a letter to the people of Uzda, expressing our friendship. This is what I said:-
Dear Governor,
This letter, brings an expression of support and friendship for the people of Uzda from Wychavon District residents in the UK.
It is with pride that we are associated with Chernobyl 2000 and it’s volunteer staff, who do wonderful work in bringing aid, generously donated, and helping those less fortunate than themselves. We are also pleased that children and staff from one of our schools have formed a relationship with families in Dzejiski and we hope this liaison continues to produce ongoing friendship between our peoples.
With every good wish for the future.

The Governor was very pleased to get the letter and responded with a letter, book and certificate. They were sent back via Mike Worton MBE and wife Mo , who have been organising the trips for many years and have improve the lifestyles of many people in Belarus.

This letter, brings an expression of support and friendship for the people of Uzda from Wychavon District residents in the UK.
It is with pride that we are associated with Chernobyl 2000 and it’s volunteer staff, who do wonderful work in bringing aid, generously donated, and helping those less fortunate than themselves. We are also pleased that children and staff from one of our schools have formed a relationship with families in Dzejiski and we hope this liaison continues to produce ongoing friendship between our peoples.
With every good wish for the future.