Mayor’s update

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It has been a busy three weeks for the town hall and me, since the mayor making on May 6. On the day the rain poured but so did the hot pennies from the town hall window – a tradition whose origin is lost in time, but one that has been enjoyed by generations of small children. This year there was a shower of fifty 50p coins, marking the 50th anniversary of Rye Town Council, Rye having previously been governed by either a borough council or the Rye Corporation for many hundreds of years.

It is a huge honour to have been elected mayor of Rye by my fellow town councillors, many of whom have been mayors in the past. All these mayors have made their mark in their own way and all have served the town. There are many big shoes to fill, but also lots of sound advice on hand.

Mayor making in Rye on a wet May Bank Holiday

Just a week later I had the huge honour of welcoming, on behalf of all my fellow citizens, Her Majesty Queen Camilla to Rye – the first royal visit to our town in forty years. Once again, it poured with rain, but the Queen made sure she shook hands and talked to as many people as possible on the streets including a welcoming party of students from Rye Primary School. She worked the crowds, as well as the invited guests, and was most welcome.

I have also had the honour of representing the town at the mayor making ceremony at Sandwich, and the handover of the Speakership of the Cinque Ports just over a week later, also in Sandwich. I passed on the mayor making in in Ramsgate, as Rye Town Council had much more urgent and pressing needs – a full town council meeting to decide an emergency re-opening of the toilets on the Strand (which is reported in full elsewhere in Rye News).

And in Rye I have hugely enjoyed meeting the Rugby Tots going through their paces with coach Theo Bekker at Rye Rugby Club on a sunny Saturday morning. The kids’ enthusiasm was uplifting and Theo is inspirational! The Rye community is lucky to have so many people who give of their time freely – they are all my heroes.

I have also enjoyed opening the plant sale in aid of the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity at the Buttermarket – organiser Davida Turpin and her team do a brilliant job raising large sums of money for this wonderful charity. I also got to enjoy the inaugural Rye Repair Shop in the Rye Community Centre, where experts were on hand to fix broken clocks, electrical appliances, computers, clothing, wooden items and much, much more.

And this Saturday there was great fun at the Queen’s Head, where there was Persephone’s Generation Game. Games included being fed jelly with chopsticks by one’s blindfolded partner, and building a tower out of newspaper and Sellotape to support an egg on the top. And money was raised for the community transport bus, which is another brilliant Rye service run by an amazing team.

Andy Stuart with Dav Turpin at the Buttermarket plant sale

Of course, there is much more going on at the town hall – it’s not all about the mayor. Quietly and efficiently the team undertook weeding ahead of the Citadel before the Queen arrived. Hardly glamorous work, and which might go unnoticed. Nicky Ledger and the town steward team also undertake regular grass cutting and improvements to the public realm throughout Rye, which helps smarten up all areas of the town.

And behind the scenes the town clerk, Richard Farhall, and deputy town clerk, Jessica Neame, are constantly working away doing the hard lifting! Setting up the CIO that will take on the swimming pool, was one of Richard’s unheralded achievements in recent weeks. We have also seen the culmination of nearly two decades of lobbying and badgering Rother to get our allotments back.

While I enjoy the enormous honour of being mayor, I am only the first among equals in the council and in coming weeks and months I hope these pages will provide the vehicle to highlight what is happening at the town hall and how the team is hard at work in the service of the citizens of Rye.

Image Credits: James Stewart , KT Bruce , Andy Stuart .

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