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Mayor's blog


September 2020

The boathouse, Danson Park

The Mayor of Bexley Fund Raising Event at Boathouse, Danson Park

A fun evening, we enjoyed a delicious BBQ and the company of several Mayors.

James Hunt, the larger than life Mayor of Bexley, worked in stage management.

He played in several pantomime productions at the Assembly Hall.

Local author, Margaret Davies

Historical Writers' Association 2020 Unpublished Novel Award

Met with successful local author Margaret Davies, writing as Maggie Richell-Davies today. She won the Historical Writers' Association 2020 Unpublished Novel Award with her debut novel, The Servant, together with a publishing deal with Sharpe Books.

Inspired by a visit to London's Foundling Museum, the thriller explores the exploitation of the female serving classes in 18th century London. Details about how she came to write it are on her website: Maggie Davies is writing Donations from sales are raising funds for a local charity.

Margaret, who worked for a number of years at the Town Hall as PA to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Chief Executive, Rodney Stone.

Litter pick on Rusthall Common

Litter pick

Following a productive litter pick on Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Common, we decided to treat ourselves to a delicious Crab and Prawn salad at Toad Rock, Retreat.

Friends of Hawkenbury recreation ground

Friends of Hawkenbury Rec. Committee

We attended the launch of the new Friends of Hawkenbury Rec. Committee.

Sir Keith Park, Battle of Britain class steam engine

Sir Keith Park

Received an invitation for the inaugural journey to Eridge on an enormous historic Steam Locomotive, named after the man, that helped fight the Battle of Britain, Air vice Marshal Sir Keith Park.

You can find out more on their website: Spa Valley Railway

Capel Church interior

Capel Church Visit Art Exhibition

As part of the Heritage Week events we really enjoyed our visit to this historic building.

The walls are covered with paintings believed to date back to 1230 to 1250. Art and craft items were all made by local residents. Capel has a wonderful community spirit.

Helen Mitcham

Heritage walk

Heritage Walk with Helen Mitcham Public and Commercial Building, Heritage Caring Profession Guided walks and photo exhibition.

DAVSS Visit

Met with members of the Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Services (DAVSS) team.

It is an award winning community based charity supporting male and female victims of domestic abuse in West Kent.

Find out more on their website: DAVSS

August 2020

The Mayor visits the 25th anniversary exhibition at the Fairfax gallery

25th Anniversary Exhibition

Andrew gave us a very warm welcome to his premises, located on the Lower Pantiles.  We had a most enjoyable and informative visit to his 25th Anniversary exhibition.

Most of the artworks are also displayed on their website Fairfax Gallery

The Mayor deliveries frozen meals to homeless at the Russel hotel

Frozen meals

Delivered the generous donation of free frozen lunches from two well-known Tunbridge Wells restaurants to the homeless at the Russell Hotel, Tunbridge Wells.

The Mayor's granddaughter celebrates her 21st birthday

21st birthday

Our granddaughter celebrated her 21st birthday today.

Her fabulous cake was made by Joy at Bake me Happy at Rusthall.

You can look at her website here: Bake Me Happy

The Mayor opens Jazz on the Pantiles 2020

Jazz night is back on the Pantiles!

I was delighted to be invited to open the first Jazz and Dinner evening.

We met Lionel and his charming wife and were entertained by the music of Kate Daniels Quintet.

The Mayor on the common, to celebrate the Commons Conservators photographic prize winners

Commons Conservators First Photographic Competition

We met with Chris and Jenny for a photoshoot on the Common, to celebrate the Commons Conservators photographic prize winners.

The junior category winner -was Joe Refet, with a stunning dandelion and spider photograph.

The teen category winner - Nicholas Sander with his image of a bee’s nest.

Adult category winner - Alyson Howard with her view of Happy Valley on Rusthall Common.

The Mayor wreath laying at a socially distanced VJ ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance

VJ day

Wreath laying at a socially distanced VJ ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance.

The names of the 16 men who never returned to Tunbridge Wells were read out.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions this was a much smaller event than usual, less than 30 people were in attendance.

The Mayor at an event at the Forum and Fine Grind

Forum and Fine Grind

We were invited to an event at the Forum and Fine Grind. A number of people joined us and spoke to us about the huge issues facing the music and entertainment industry in 2020, and the plans for future events.

Fine Grind is assisting by asking customers to make a small donation to the Forum each time they buy tea or coffee.

I was delighted to receive a copy of the interesting booklet of the History of Fonthill, which is the location of Forum.

This is one of the upcoming, online Heritage Day Events, Friday 11 September to Sunday 20 September 2020 inclusive.

Whilst there, we were taken to visit the site of the Cold Baths, and admired the work of the Friends of the Common, who had given the railings a fresh coat of paint.

Thanks to Carolyn Gray for organising a most informative visit, Nigel Martin for taking the photos, and Fine Grind for a delicious cup of coffee.

The Mayor and Cllr McInroy delivering hand gel and face masks

Delivering PPE

KCC Cllr James McInroy and I setting off to deliver quantities of Hand Gel and Face masks to several local charities’ and community groups.

Including Nourish, DAVSS, Age UK, Rusthall Alms Houses, Pickering Cancer Centre. Bridge Trust and Folly Wildlife.

The Mayor opening the Spa Valley Railway

Opening of the Spa Valley Railway

A cold northerly wind did not spoil our visit to the Spa Valley railway.  We were met by enthusiastic band of volunteers, who were obviously pleased to be back, after such a long break.

We were also met by Tunbridge Wells Town Crier, John Scholey who is also a volunteer on the railway.

A large team of volunteers has worked hard, cleaning the trains and equipment and installing COVID-19 protection measures.

The Mayor visiting Banner Farm Residents Association

Front Garden Festival

Bank Holiday Monday we enjoyed a fun afternoon with members of the Banner Farm Residents Association.

We felt genuinely welcomed and managed to speak to a great many residents, we enjoyed every minute.

The children’s fancy dress was great fun however, choosing the prize winners was not an easy task.

At the end of the afternoon we were served a delicious afternoon tea, a most unexpected treat.

Long service awards

Thursday afternoon, William Benson and I joined staff members celebrating their Long Service Awards.

There were 24 names on the list; three members of staff have worked for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for more than 30 years.

We heard about their roles and how COVID-19 has impacted on their working and personal lives.

A few have decided to go back to the office whilst others are able to work from home.

Members of the Environment Team are also assisting with the COVID-19 Test and Trace system.

July 2020

The Mayor judging Tunbridge Wells in Bloom entries

Tunbridge Wells in Bloom

We enjoyed a morning judging a few of the Tunbridge Wells in Bloom entries.

We met some wonderful people and viewed some gorgeous gardens, hanging baskets and containers.

The Parks Department now have the difficult task of deciding the final winners!

Mayor of Greenwich

Had a very positive Zoom meeting with the Mayor of Greenwich 15 July.

Due to health reasons she has to self-isolate however, she is managing to keep in touch with everyone by Zoom.

Full Council meeting

At the Full Council meeting 8 July, we bade farewell to Cllr James Scholes, Mayor 2019-20.

I chaired my first virtual meeting and found it quite a strange experience.