The Mayors Farewell Speech and Charity Totals

Throughout the year the Mayor has been raising much-needed funds for local charities Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Storehouse Foodbank and we are delighted to announce the final total was £4272! All monies collected on behalf of the charities have been split equally between the two charities.

From The Mayor Cllr Graham Hill:

“It is now time for me to bid farewell to the role of Mayor but, as I have tried to explain to many children, just like Doctor Who, the Mayor will soon regenerate.

I am certain that all former Mayors will reflect on their Term of Office as being the most challenging, rewarding and transformational year ever. If this was Top Trumps, I would be tempted to list Jubilee, Loss, mourning, proclamations and Coronation as evidence for my argument. I might also add a war in Europe with all of the challenges that that has brought to everyone, whether in costs of everything spiralling or just a sense of uncertainty.

I have spent the past year feeling the reality of Imposter Syndrome whilst also struggling to support all of those amongst us who have really been making a difference. One thing that I have learned this year is that for every negative Facebook comment, or anonymous poster on the Wiltshire Times website, there are a dozen people spending their time and energy trying to make things better for others. On those occasions where I have felt that there is nothing left in the tank, I have looked at these inspirational individuals and had a good stern word with myself and got on with the job.

Despite all of the challenges that our community has faced with issues out of our control we are making progress in improving our town. It makes me smile to see comments along the lines of “why didn’t they do that before?” when many of these projects and initiatives have taken years to come to fruition. Generations of volunteers have been working for years on virtually every project imaginable, nothing happens swiftly, but each small step represents uncounted hours of work over months and years.

If I was to take anything away from my experiences over the past twelve months, it would be a sense of pride. Not personally, but in those folk who give so much to hold the line against things getting worse. I am ashamed that it took going around seeking support for our warm rooms project over the winter to realise just how much our Faith Community does for the Town, from the more obvious (the Street Pastors, who get people safely home after a big night out), to the obscure (the food bank and debt relief advice) to name but two. I am guilty of taking them for granted up until this year, but no longer, and am doing my best to gain them the support that they need to carry on supporting us.

I am proud of our Officers at the Town Council, who have always given their utmost and not bothered about set hours, doing what needs to be done and often facing abuse and accusations from those whom they are serving. I am also proud of my colleagues on the Council. We seldom agree on everything, and are often vocal about our disagreements, but I honestly believe that this comes from a good place. This sometimes boils over, but we can disagree on detail, but share the same desire to do what is best for our town.

It is worth remembering that, at Town Council level, we are all volunteers. There is no salary, no perks, just an honest desire to try to make a positive difference. Many Councillors have reduced their work commitments and income to carry out their duties, I am fortunate to get by solely on my workplace pension. Despite this, there are people at every election queuing up to offer their time.

When I began my term, I was upbeat about there town and the prospects for the future. Despite everything that has hit us in the past twelve months, I am still upbeat.

What I have learned about so many of our residents, and knowing the positive things that are coming our way, gives me not just hope, but firm expectation that we have turned a corner. Maybe the next time that you are talking with a friend or neighbour about what needs doing to make things better, the conversation could finish with “so what can we do to help?”.

Thank you all for your support over the past year (foremost amongst those supporters is my wife, who has been the difference between Impossible and possible, and whom I can never properly thank).

Cue the Doctor Who theme tune…….


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