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.
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.