We have now entered a new civic year. As I sit down to write this piece, I do so with some amazement in the knowledge that I remain, for a fourth year, as Chairman of this Parish. Tenure of this office, as with all, has its lifespan. I have been incredibly lucky that mine in this office has been longer than most. It is with the honour of serving another year that I once again offer my commitment to represent this Parish with all candour and commitment.
While I move into a fourth year as Chairman, there are changes within the Council. Chief amongst these is that of my Vice Chairman. I would like to record my greatest thanks to Cllr John Pike for his own dedication as my second-in-command. John has served in this capacity for all three years of my Chairmanship, and has done so with all the enthusiasm and dignity of a true public servant. I am forever grateful to John for his support and guidance throughout this time, and I look forward to his continued council in the future.
At this point, I would also like to introduce you all to my new Vice Chairman, Cllr Mark Evans. You will all get to know Mark much better in due course, but suffice to say he is a real champion of our village, tracing his heritage in this Parish back for centuries. In Mark as with John, we have another passionate advocate of our wonderful village, and this bodes well for our future.
Looking back to April, it is with sadness I also reflect on the leaving of another key figure within our community. Rev. Paul Brown has served our community as the Rector at St. Benedict-Biscop for twenty-four years. A remarkable achievement indeed! I was very pleased to be present for his final service on Easter Sunday. The beautiful service was appended by presentations to Paul, many kind words spoken, and a few teary eyes.
In response, Paul spoke with warmth of friendships and great memories, and presented in return two 19th century photographs of St. Benedict’s. I would like to thank Rev. Brown for his lifetime of dedication given to the people of Wombourne, caring greatly for our spiritual as well as physical wellbeing. I wish him very well for the future, and that our new incumbent brings as much passion commitment as Paul.
The truly historic nature of this Jubilee year is utterly inescapable. We are the first inhabitants of this nation to witness a Platinum Jubilee; historic in its own right. However, it takes on all the more meaning when we realise nobody alive today will witness this same feat in their lifetimes. This moment is truly unique.
Over the long Jubilee weekend, we mark this occasion with celebrations galore. The Jubilee Concert, a memorable Dinner Dance and many street parties taking place right across our community. What amazing scenes.
Not only is the Jubilee marked in this glorious celebration, but we also turn to a familiar staple of our village. Wombourne Carnival, which we all know has sadly been absent since its last appearance in 2019, is back in spectacular fashion and continues the Jubilee celebrations with its theme of ‘the best of British’. After the ravages of the Covid pandemic on both physical and mental wellbeing, it is entirely apt we have cause for such extensive celebrations this year. Whatever the term ‘best of British’ means to you, I look forward to seeing many of you enjoying yourselves at the Carnival.
Coming back to specifically Parish Council matters, I am very pleased to say the Parish Council will acquire powers of general competence this year, achieved through the hard work of our Clerk. Such powers will enable the Council the opportunity to do more than ever before. As you will no doubt have seen, the Council has been undertaking to engage further and further with our community through community groups, working with our High Street traders, and with our schools. This work will continue and will become all the more obvious as we work to produce a regular Parish Council newsletter, explaining what the Council is doing for the benefit of residents.
Finally, I return to an oft-visited theme: that of volunteering. This year I have got to meet yet more hard-working volunteers. These people are truly special, and they demonstrate the very best qualities of our village.
At our Annual Parish Meeting in April, we awarded our community grant. A presentation was given by Helen Standish-Bevan of 3rd Wombourne Girl Guides, ably supported by one of her Guides, Rose, whose passion for developing a garden at their Guide hut was clear for all to see. I eagerly await the results of their efforts, and hope to be present for the grand unveiling.
At our May meeting, I was therefore thrilled to present the Joan Williams Civic Award. This award recognises truly amazing people doing so much for our community. This year’s winner, Donna Eccleston, is genuinely inspirational. A passionate fundraiser for charities and good causes, champion of the home of Wombourne W.I. at the village hall, and a key member of Wombourne’s Best Kept Village team, Donna works tirelessly for others. I was so pleased to present Donna with her award in front of a packed Parish Council chamber.
Throughout this piece, and many of those written previously, I think this theme stands out greater than any other. Service to our community is a hallmark that of our village. People work hard simply to make it a better place and do so with such passion. They do this because they realise that what exists here is very special indeed.
Wombourne Parish Council