Mayor Edwina goes walkabout to thank the town for its sparkling diamond jubilee support

Written by Gerald Isaaman on .

Mayor Edwina Fogg by the winning window display - the Merchant's HouseMayor Edwina Fogg by the winning window display - the Merchant's HousePraise for Marlborough’s shops and businesses, including the oldest one in its welcome High Street, for their support for the town council’s celebrations to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee has come from Mayor Edwina Fogg.

And she herself has earned admiration for her exhaustive tour of all those involved to say a personal thank you, so much that she is planning to go on regular walkabouts to boost Marlborough.

“The tour took almost four hours,” Edwina told Marlborough News Online.  “Everywhere I visited, all the shops and business in the High Street and the side roads, were pleased to greet me.”

“Shop owners, staff and customers were delighted to receive some recognition of all their efforts to give Marlborough a festive image during the diamond jubilee weekend we staged and beyond.”

“Even people in the street were simply fascinated to meet the Mayor and took a great interest in what the council is doing to boost the town in these difficult times.”

And Councillor Fogg added:  “I am so amazed by the fantastic reception that I am contemplating regular walkabouts.  It’s one wonderful way of keeping in contact and making everyone feel good about themselves -- and the town too.”

That was particularly so at The Merchant’s House, a jewel in the High Street since 1653, which scored a double triumph in the presentation by the Mayor of certificates for winning her best shop window and best floral diamond jubilee displays.

Designer and artist Abi Gibbon, who creates the displays that grace the double-fronted Victorian shop windows of The Merchant’s House, received the certificates from the Mayor.Mayor Edwina Fogg presenting the best shop window certificate to designer Abi GibbonMayor Edwina Fogg presenting the best shop window certificate to designer Abi Gibbon

The Merchant’s House shop-window display has won the Mayor’s Certificate for the best overall display in the town for the diamond jubilee.

The presentation was made by the Mayor, Councillor Edwina Fogg, to designer and artist, Abi Gibbon who creates the beautiful displays which grace the Victorian double-fronted shop windows of the Merchant’s House.

“ I was flattered to receive the award, but our window displays are a team effort, so I accepted the certificate on behalf of all those involved”,” said mother of four Abi, pictured with the Mayor outside the former home of silk merchant Thomas Bayly.

Sir John Sykes, chairman of its trustees, also offered his congratulations. “We are very lucky to have Abi,” he said.  “The window displays are the first thing visitors see when they enter the house, and reflect the care we take to carry out the refurbishment of the Merchant’s House to the highest standards.”

Altogether some 28 shops, pubs and restaurants received recognition certificates for putting up floral displays to add colour to the High Street in a scheme organised by Marion Dale, secretary of Marlborough’s Chamber of Commerce.

The project was very much a bid to raise interest in Marlborough re-entering the annual Britain in Bloom competition, which it has won once in the past.
Mayor Edwina Fogg with designer Abi Gibbon, Sir John Sykes (2nd right), Clyde Nancarrow (right) and David Sherratt, ceremonial officer (left)Mayor Edwina Fogg with designer Abi Gibbon, Sir John Sykes (2nd right), Clyde Nancarrow (right) and David Sherratt, ceremonial officer (left)But, apart from Waitrose, Marlborough’s major supermarket, the Mayor was disappointed that some national chains, such as WH Smith and Boots, showed little initiative compared with Marlborough’s individually owned shops, which mostly took on a red, white and blue theme.

“There were about five shops that were much more imaginative and made the short list for the best window display,” said the Mayor. “But, in the end, we decided that efforts of The Merchant’s House really excelled and came out top in both categories.

“The effect overall was fantastic. That’s why I went walkabout and said well done to all those who made an effort – and that was very much appreciated.”

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