It seems only yesterday that I was installed as Mayor; in fact I am almost at the half-way mark in the Mayoral year, a very active year so far. We have had over 270 engagements to date! They have been varied and in some cases, very inspirational.
We have met service users with a drug and alcohol dependency unit and I was flattered to be invited back to open a new facility for them. We have seen exhibitions and I have opened new businesses. We have also met a Minister from the Chinese Government and welcomed diverse groups into the Mayor’s Parlour. I have presided over citizenship ceremonies, and had a fair amount of contact with the Armed Services too, including attending a farewell event for Commodore Jamie Miller of the Royal Navy with a group of people who had worked with him during the 10 years of the Air Festival; I don’t think there was a dry eye by the time the evening ended!
Whilst talking about the Services I am reminded that 11 November is Armistice Day and indeed it is 99 years since the end of the Great War to end all wars.
There is one date in the calendar that is particularly important and that is Remembrance Sunday. I am pleased to say I have not missed one yet and I know my colleagues on the Council also look forward to showing their respect for those who have lost their lives, not just in World War One but in every conflict since.
I will, like the 104 Mayors before me, proudly lead the procession behind the Mace on Sunday 12 November. A parade of Ex-Service Associations, pre-service and youth organisations will be marching through the Town Centre and the Central Gardens to the War Memorial where our youth organisations will be handing out Orders of Service to members of the public. I would encourage you to please come along and watch the service; Bourne Avenue provides an excellent viewing area for both the Service and Parades.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many staff who take part and particularly the team in Democratic Services that organise the morning and make it so easy for us – even though it is not.
I look forward to wearing my poppy with pride and would like to personally thank Councillor Anne Rey for the work she does for the British Legion to make sure poppy sellers are where they should be and that everyone who wants a poppy is able to purchase one.
Another huge part of my role as Mayor of Bournemouth, which I am honoured to be able to do, is to support some of our local charities. This year we have been hosting events and activities to raise money for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, The Hannah Levy House Trust, Pavilion Dance South-West and the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum.
Our next event is ‘Christmas Business Come Dancing’ which takes place on Thursday 14 December in the Pavilion Ballroom. Ten local business individuals will be getting to grips with a dance routine and then performing it on the night! It should be a great evening and I am thoroughly looking forward to it. You can find out more about it, and all our other fundraising events on The Mayor of Bournemouth Charity Appeal Facebook page. I hope to see some of you there!
Councillor Lawrence Williams, The Mayor of Bournemouth