Working with the Royal British Legion in organising commemorations and attending events for VE Day, should have been my last Civic function as Mayor, but this year it was not to be, due to the coronavirus lockdown. All celebrations had to be cancelled and government guidelines forced us to stay at home. However, in order that those who gave their lives for peace in Europe were not forgotten, some of my neighbours and I stood on our front doorsteps and observed the two minutes silence, led by BBC Radio Gloucestershire. Later in the day, several families picnicked on their front lawns to mark, what should have been, our street party to celebrate peace. I am sure this day will be remembered in history for the celebrations that never were.
I have been privileged and honoured to have been elected as Mayor of Newent, my hometown, for the last 3 years, and Deputy Mayor the year before that. When I joined the Council just over seven years ago, I had no idea that one day I would be Mayor. I have worked very hard and given a lot of time to the position and always strived to do what I felt was best for the town and its residents. I feel now that it is time for someone else to have the opportunity of holding this prestigious role and doing what they feel is the way forward.
In coming to the end of my three terms of office, I would like to thank my fellow councillors for all the support they have given me over the years and, in particular, our Town Clerk who has always given me the guidance to follow legislation and take the right paths, and to the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Christine Howley, whose support this past year during the bereavements of two close family members, I could not have done without; to all I am eternally grateful.
MAYOR’S MESSAGE FOR VE DAY – 8TH MAY 2020
Today should be a day of celebration as it marks the 75th Anniversary of VE Day – Victory in Europe – when Germany surrendered to the Allies, after six years of heavy fighting. Newent Town Council, together with the Newent Branch of the Royal British Legion, were having discussions on how the town could celebrate the occasion, but due to the unprecedented situation in which we currently find ourselves with the Coronavirus, celebrations cannot take place.
May I say, however, this does not stop us, as individuals, marking the anniversary of the arrival of peace in Europe in our own way, by using our own front gardens to joyously celebrate in whatever way we choose; windows could be decorated in red, white and blue. The choice would be your own but let us in some way mark and respect the peace which had been so long coming.
In celebrating the occasion, it also gives us the opportunity to remember the enormous sacrifices that were made by people from home and abroad, who lost their lives in the hope that those of us who remained could have a better life. I, personally, will be saying a silent prayer on my front doorstep, observing social distancing of course at 11 am, in gratitude to all those who gave their tomorrow so we could have our today.
Please listen to the beautiful voice of Ruth Hayden-Cox singing “We’ll Meet Again” –
In these incredibly challenging times, I wish you all a very happy Bank Holiday weekend.
Cllr June Davies
I hosted the Mayors Annual Civic Carol Service on 23rd November at St Mary’s Church. I was delighted to see so many people attending including representatives from many local organisations and community groups, Police and Fire Service and residents. Highlights of the evening were fantastic performances by the Dolphin Gateway Club (who sang and signed “Little Donkey”) and local students (who performed an original rendition of “All I want for Christmas is You”). Afterwards everyone was treated to home-made mince pies and mulled wine. Proceeds from the collection taken were split between the Town Council Defibrillator Fund and St Mary’s Church.
I would like to thank everyone who supported this wonderful community event heralding the start of the festive season.
Rev Simon Mason (left), Cllr Mrs Davies (Centre), John Celino (right)
On the evening of 5th June I was invited to attend a short service of Remembrance at St Mary’s Church for D-Day 75, led by Rev Simon Mason, in which three local D-Day veterans were remembered, Pym Markey, Mel Jones and Victor Urch. Mr Urch is the only veteran still living and was in Normandy at the time of the service. Three roses were laid on the War Memorial, commemorating each of the veterans, followed by three fireworks being let off . The service, in the company of members of the Royal British Legion, was very poignant “Heroism, Courage and Sacrifice of those who lost their lives, must never be forgotten”. Her Majesty the Queen at the Portsmouth Commemorations.
Thank you to those Councillors who have planted up the summer flowers to support the Newent in Bloom team, and at the time of writing we await the arrival of the new tubs to enhance the appearance of our town even more. The pressure washing of the pavements has certainly made a difference and we hope the arrangements being made to encourage the pigeons to move to alternative habitats, will keep our pavements cleaner and healthier for all.
Newent Mayor Cllr Mrs June Davies (left) and Deputy Mayor Cllr Mrs Christine Howley
I am honoured to have been re-elected Mayor by the Town Council and am grateful for their confidence in me. I welcome Cllr Christine Howley as Deputy Mayor and am sure we will work well together for the good of the Town. I wish the new Councillors well and welcome back those re-elected. We now look forward to another busy year and the completion of some of our projects as well as contemplating new ones for the Town.
The Council has now started monthly meetings with the Police, which gives both sides the opportunity to provide feedback – positive and otherwise.
I am currently working with Rob Carpenter, the Street Warden, to try and draw people’s attention to the problem of dog fouling in the town. It is hoped that talks with pupils at the Primary School and the poster competition recently held, will make dog owners more aware of the dangers of not cleaning up after their pets.
The Town Clerk and I organised a coffee morning for the Market House Stewards, as a thank you for them giving up their time voluntarily to show people around our lovely Market House during the spring and summer months. The Town Council is very grateful to them for their hospitality to our visitors.
As a result of the public consultation held last November concerning purchasing new office accommodation, procedures were put in place for the Council to be able to make an offer on the premises available. However, the offer we were advised to make was rejected and so we are no longer in a position to move offices at the present time.
The start to the year has been relatively quiet as far as Mayoral duties are concerned, but a lot of hard work is going on behind the scenes to make up for it and I am sure the Spring will bring forth more engagements.I hope all those who have suffered the awful ‘flu viruses are now fully recovered. Unfortunately, I didn’t escape and it has made me realise the importance of the ‘flu vaccinations.
I have had more mince pies and mulled wine this year than ever before. It started off at our Civic Carol Service in November, when Dierdre Morley, our Assistant to the Town Clerk, made over 100 delicious mince pies for the congregation. This was much appreciated.
What a tremendous wealth of talent we have in Newent! My husband and I were invited to the Newent Orchestral Society’s Christmas Concert, with guests the Scottish Singers. It was a very enjoyable evening and thoroughly recommended. As soon as I know the date for next year, it will be in my diary.
More mince pies and mulled wine at St Mary’s Church Carols by Candlelight, a lovely service as usual.
I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas and I wish you peace and joy in the new year.
November was a very busy month. Newent Community School & Sixth Form Centre, for the second year running, held a Remembrance Service led by the Rev Simon Mason and members of the Royal British Legion. Members of other organisations were also present, including Council representatives. The service was very poignant and the students must be congratulated on their behaviour. The traditional Remembrance Day Service and Parade was held on the Sunday and I laid the wreath on behalf of the Council.
Our Christmas Lights Switch-on was a great success and grateful thanks to all concerned.
I was very privileged to be asked to Open the Onion Fayre this year, arriving at the main stage in a tuk-tuk. I have travelled in many modes of transport in my time, but never in a tuk-tuk. Quite an experience! Having spent the last eighteen years in the Memorial Hall with the Onion Show, it was good that Mike and I had the opportunity for the first time to see what the Onion Fayre is all about. We were amazed at how many people actually took part in the event.
I would like to thank the Onion Fayre committee for all their hard work in continuing to put everything together and making the event so successful year on year.
August was a much quieter month for civic engagements but the highlight was being asked to officially open Tibberton Show, one I have frequented for many years as a visitor, exhibitor, judge and now Mayor. It still has the feeling of a typical village show and the weather was very kind this year.
Cllr June Davies with Robert Heigham who is the Marquee Chairman at Tibberton Show
June & July
I was very honoured to be presented to HRH Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, at the official 50 anniversary of the International Centre for Birds of Prey. Congratulations to Jemima Parry-Jones MBE, for all the wonderful work she continues to do.
Grateful thanks to all concerned for the wonderful event that Newent Open Day turned out to be. Many positive comments have been received.
I was invited by His Worshipful the Mayor of Gloucester to a service at the Cathedral to mark the 10 anniversary of the floods. As if on cue as the Dean started his homily, there was a mighty clap of thunder and the heavens opened, developing into more flooding of the city.The service was very poignant and I was privileged to be part of it.
At the end of last term I was invited to a retirement lunch for Jane Nichols who has been a teacher at NCS for 42 years and is the longest serving ever at the school. It gave me the opportunity to thank Jane publicly not only for the teaching of our children who have passed through the school, but also for the pastoral care she gave while she was head of Mountbatten House. We wish Jane a long and happy retirement.
Cllr June Davies with the Freedom Leisure Mascot at the Newent Open Day on 22nd July 2017
I was delighted to open the Knitted Bible Exhibition at St Marys Church with Reverend Simon Mason, especially as it was one of my first official functions since being elected Mayor
The exhibition was held in the Church from Saturday 13th May – Saturday 20 May 2017 and depicted 33 stories from the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible with 230 human figures and over 80 animals knitted by members of St. George’s United Reformed Church, Hartlepool, County Durham.
Cllr June Davies with Reverend Simon Mason