Mayoral update

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Rye celebrated the platinum jubilee in style, and I’d like to thank all those who helped make it a special occasion. First and foremost is Chris Emson for her valiant work putting together not only an amazing tea at Tilling Green Community Centre on Friday but also the Big Lunch at the Conduit Hill Community Centre on the Sunday. Chris was joined by wonderful women from the Royal Voluntary Service in Rye who fed around 100 people on both occasions, the first resplendent with tiers of cakes and sandwiches plus endless brown pots of tea.

We were entertained, danced, and sang and the hall looked wonderful. I did help drop off tables at an ungodly hour the day before and put them back into storage, but this was only a very small part compared to all the hard work and washing up, which the mayoress also helped with. The hall also looked wonderful on the Sunday when the same army of ladies put on a great spread of food. The mayoress (who’d been there since 9am chopping veg) and I sang patriotic songs accompanied by Cllr John Breeds (we were three old mayors and a piano!). I rushed from there to the Watchbell Street party.

The jubilee celebrations started on the Thursday with Paul Goring, our fantastic town crier, organising a plethora of Rye talent to announce the jubilee – Ryesingers, Ryebellion drummers, the lyrical voice of our very own Martin Wimbush and Paul of course, all performing to a large crowd of onlookers. That evening we went on to the beacon, which I’d welded together earlier, and a big thanks to the Bonfire Boys for all their help with preparing the beacon and keeping a watchful eye on the flames.

The events concluded with a civic service at St Mary’s Church, led by Rev’d Paul White, and Christopher Breeds, and we heard the fine voices of the Tongswood choir under Martin Bruce performing two related anthems, plus an interesting talk from the deputy lord lieutenant, Graham Peters, on the history of this role. Also, a big thank you to Dr Anthony Kimber for this and everything else he has done to make this a great jubilee weekend.

Since last writing, I had great fun at the International Composers Festival in Bexhill’s De la Warr Pavilion, singing with Rock-a-Nore Shanty Boys, and thanks to the boundless energy and enthusiasm of Polo Piatti for organising all this. We had a wonderful time with his arrangements of shanties and the 70+ piece orchestra.

We were guests at New Romney’s mayor making on May 23, I attended the foundation governors’ meeting at Rye College on May 26, and at the end of the week I attended the annual meeting of the Rye Conservation Society, along with our MP Sally-Ann Hart.

On June 6, I met with a party from America at the town hall, who heard from the town crier about the history of Rye, and they all enjoyed meeting mascot Sophie the spaniel!

Image Credits: Isabelle Ryan , Rebekah Gilbert .

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