3 February 2024

Well, this week was busier than last week, but still not busy busy!

The first half of the week was still spent recovering from “winter lurgy,” but by Wednesday I was back in circulation, and Thursday saw me in the Civic Centre for my regular “Mayoral catch-up” with Aby Cooper (no relation), our Information Team Manager.

We chat frequently, but every few weeks we sit down formally and go through all the events and engagements in the Mayor’s calendar to make sure that everyone (mainly me) knows what they’re doing, when, and how!

The main topic of this week’s chat was the upcoming Civic Dinner. This year’s Civic Dinner takes place on Saturday the 23rd of March and follows the theme of “The Golden Age of British Cinema.” It promises to be a spectacular evening, and on Thursday I found out just how Aby and her team were getting everything ready to entertain the 300+ guests that we expect to attend.

We have local businesses both attending and sponsoring the evening, local talent entertaining us (when I say “local talent,” one, in particular, is an internationally regarded musician who used to live and work in LA), and we have a delegation from our twinned own of Leer in Ostfriesland (Germany) coming over for the evening.

We’ll also have Mayors and “dignitaries” from some of our neighbouring towns, community leaders, charities, and some of our own town and county councillors (none of whom, including me, will be getting a free ticket).

There’ll be a charity auction and a raffle with prizes kindly donated by local businesses. There’ll be the presentation of this year’s “Town Enhancement Award,” and there’ll be a couple of surprises as well!

The evening is in aid of my two chosen local charities this year, Stepping Stones and Trowbridge Future, and tickets are still available (but going fast) from the Civic Centre.

I do have to say a massive “thank you” to all the local businesses who’ve signed up to sponsor this year’s Civic Dinner. I think the response so far has been phenomenal. A few sponsorship packages are still up for grabs, but if you’re considering having your business name “up in lights,” you’ll have to be quick!

It does promise to be a magical, entertaining, and rewarding evening, all for the cause of two wonderful local charities.


On to Friday…

Friday evening was the first “proper public outing” for the town’s Mayoral Chains this year. I had attended a Citizenship Ceremony at County Hall in January, but that wasn’t a public outing, and I’d chaired a meeting of the Town Council, at which the public was present. But this was the first time this year that the chains were out and about around the town.

It was a full-on evening of musical entertainment. The incomparable Bratton Silver Band were at Emmanuel’s Yard on Church Street, wowing a packed audience with epic themes from the movies. Rocky, The Sound of Music, The Greatest Showman, Mission Impossible, and West Side Story were all featured (along with many more). I must admit, I really like this band. It’s not just their obvious musical talent and expertise; it’s the contagious enthusiasm with which they approach every performance. They’re very good at what they do, and they do it with humour and a quirky ability to smile sideways at themselves.

I had a chat with Kyle Blake, the musical director of the band, after the performance was over, and I asked him why they didn’t ask for even a nominal entrance fee. After all, the performance was oversubscribed, and I’m sure they’d have still filled the hall if they’d made a small charge for a ticket. He replied that he didn’t want anyone who genuinely appreciated their work and wanted to experience the music they offer to not be able to come just because they might be in a position where they find even a couple of quid unaffordable. He wanted the band’s music to be freely available to everyone.

THAT’S what makes the Bratton Silver Band something special and a true community band.


That’s it for now, so until next time… keep safe, and please, be kind to each other.

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