2018/19 Chain Gang

At some point in the Civic year of a Town Mayor, a Civic Service or Reception is held.  This may be organised by the Mayor and Town/Parish office, or in some cases, entirely by a church and the Mayor is then invited along.  I’ve seen both this year and understood the benefits of each.  The ‘Service’ is usually a Church Service and a Reception is often more of a social gathering where visiting dignitaries are shown around the area little and/or invited for refreshments and to meet some local groups and volunteers.  A little annual celebration of the good work that goes on in the vicinity.

I was lucky in so far as my Civic Service was scheduled towards the end of my Civic year, so it allowed for the opportunity to get to know fellow Mayor’s around Dorset (and sometimes beyond) but most importantly, to get to know the local groups, volunteers and charities that do so much good work in our area – not always in our own town but may still benefit the people of Wimborne Minster.

Since 2019 saw the end of East Dorset District Council (with LGR meaning a new larger ‘Dorset Council’ coming into being on the 1st May), there was already a Civic Service taking place in March at the Minster (where Wimborne Minster’s Town Mayor usually has their service), by the outgoing Chairman of East Dorset District Council Cllr Toni Coombs (well we have the best church in East Dorset, of course that would be the location)!!  Well I was keen to offer something different to the visiting dignitaries since they make the effort in some cases to come so far to attend.   I wanted to really showcase our fantastic groups and volunteers to make sure local people were aware of them but also for those visitors that didn’t know – and I really thought that they ought to!

We booked the Allendale Centre’s Minster Hall (being one of my charities this year it was quite fitting).  The local dignitaries were invited, along with representatives from local groups and my charities.  The event was also open to the public – subject to numbers.

Arriving and welcoming guests


Whilst waiting for people to arrive, the Dorset Youth Marching Band played outside to welcome them as they walked through the Militia’s Guard of Honor at the door to the centre and the Wimborne Orchestra played beautiful music on stage as people had their welcome drinks.

The event was designed around pre recorded interviews (kindly put together by Wimborne Movie Makers), where I sat (Parkinson style), with a representative from the various groups that really inspired me this year and who I felt important to publicise.  They were Radio Wimborne, the Allendale Centre, Allendale House, Dreamboats, Wimborne in Bloom, Wimborne Dementia Friendly (including the allotments up at Kingston Lacy) and the Wimborne Band (AKA The Dorset Youth Marching Band).  The interviews were shown on the big screen (that was a bit scary  -seeing your own face that big)!!  It was compered by Jason Dean of Radio Wimborne with live chats on stage from Cllr David Morgan about the exciting plans that the Priest’s House Museum have with their very large Heritage Lottery Fund grant (and other funds raised).  David Macintosh was also invited to talk about the immediate future at the Dorset Council.

I was very honored at the end to say a few words and invite our Town Crier Chris Brown to the stage for a special thank you.  We managed to keep a surprise from him, which was the Council had voted just the Friday before, to award Chris with the honorary title of Freeman of the Town.  For once he was speechless as I handed over a special scroll to commemorate the occasion!

A new Freeman for the Town

Refreshments were served after the ‘service’ and the orchestra played as people chatted.

What a fabulous round up to my Mayoral year!  The DYMB band played for a while outside until the Militia were ready to do their ‘thing’!  A few volleys were set off (some not quite going to plan as is often the case with the old muskets)!  But it was a truly splendid occasion which made me very proud to be in that privileged position not just for that day but for the whole year!

Waiting for the bang!

And there it is!



Thank you to everyone that came and showed support and to all the contributors to the filming and the specially created Gluten Free food from No9 Bakery!

I hope to upload the film very soon.