Now that Wiltshire Council have no use for Marlborough's Youth Centre - after, that is, it becomes a General Election polling station on June 8 - the new Town Council agreed at its first full meeting (May 22) to sign a lease on the building.
The lease from Wiltshire Council will be for a peppercorn rent and the idea is that eventually Wiltshire Council will transfer the building to the town council for good under its Capital Asset Transfer scheme - which is currently in abeyance.
The general election brings - as usual - a wealth of promises and opinions about the NHS. There is not, however, much talk about the GP crisis.
About ten per cent of NHS doctors (not all of them GPs) are EU nationals - so unless the post-Brexit status of EU nationals to remain is not fixed soon, the shortage of GPs could get a lot worse. A poll in February found that nearly two out of three EU doctors in the NHS were considering leaving the UK.
The Rev. Canon Henry Pearson cuts the anniversary cake
The Marlborough & District LINK Scheme have been celebrating their twentieth anniversary with an Afternoon Tea Party (May 13) at the Wesley Hall - which was decorated with balloons galore.
LINK is a team of volunteers who assist residents - in the town and in the surrounding villages - who are elderly or incapacitated and so cannot use public transport. They take people to the shops, to GP appointments and to hospitals, opticians, dentists, chiropodists - and to visit sick relatives and friends.
Louise Moelwyn-Hughes, newly appointed Master of Marlborough College
Mrs Louise Moelwyn-Hughes has been appointed as the new Master of Marlborough College, taking over from Jonathan Leigh when he retires in August 2018 after six years of service.
The Council of Marlborough College announced her appointment this morning, 18 May, and she will be moving from St Edmund’s in Canterbury where she is currently Head.
Marlborough's new Mayor, Councillor Mervyn Hall, dons the red robes of office for the first time"It's gone by so quickly" outgoing Town mayor Councillor Noel Barrett-Morton told marlborough.news. Indeed it had - and here we were at another Mayor Making ceremony.
Marlborough's new Deputy Mayor, Councillor Lisa FarrellCouncillor Mervyn Hall was elected and sworn in as Marlborough's 707th Mayor and donned the red robes. And Councillor Lisa Farrell was elected and sworn in as his Deputy - donning the blue robes. Among the audience in the Court Room of the Town Hall were Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton, and the High Sheriff of Wiltshire, Lady Marland.
Also present were family, friends and colleagues of the new Mayors, as well as notable Marlborough residents - including many former Town Mayor's. Attempts to count them kept failing - but we certainly reached seventeen.
Among the former mayors were Tony Gray, who was given a Lifetime Achievement Award (see separate story - coming soon), and Stewart Dobson, who has stood down as a town councillor after forty-six years service to the town. He received a special award. At the recent elections, he retained a seat on Wiltshire Council.
Councillor Hall's election as mayor was proposed by the outgoing mayor. He praised Councillor Hall's 'integrity and knowledge', mentioned his career as an engineer told the audience about his invention of an electronic finger print scanner which should give potential criminals pause for thought.
Seconding the election, Councillor Nick Fogg (another former Marlborough mayor) dwelt on new mayor's upbringing in Leicester and had apparently caught Councillor Hall watching Leicester City on his iPad during a committee meeting. Surely not!
Councillor Fogg was a bit nonplussed to find - after considerable research among mottos around Leicestershire - that the town's world famous football team had no motto whatsoever. The City itself has the motto Semper Eadem - Ever the Same...a very conservative [sub editor: please note small 'c'] and surely not one that would fit Marlborough.
Former mayor Councillor Andy Ross proposing Councillor Farrell as deputy mayor for 2017-2018, recalled how she came into local politics through her successful campaign for an 'affordable supermarket' in the town. He recalled that as mayor he had accompanied her when she cut the ribbon to open the Tesco supermarket.
He said that her family would, of course, be proud of her: "We're all proud of you - you'll look great in blue!" And indeed she did.
Seconding her, Councillor Loosmore (a former mayor) talked about her 'passion for the town and its people'. He asked everyone to support her this year in preparation for her mayoral year: "She will do it her way."
After his election, Councillor Hall thanked his colleagues and mentioned that he was not the first Marlborough Mayor to hail from Leicester - Graham Francis had preceded him as a Leicester lad.
The new Town Mayor emphasised there was a lot of work to do in the coming year - taking over the Youth Centre, completing the Neighbourhood Plan and trying to solve "with our limited powers" some of the town's main problems: the lack of affordable housing, the poor parking provision and the high levels of air pollution in parts of the town.
"It is," he said, "very satisfying to be able to put something back into the town - especially for my grandchildren." And they, most appropriately, had seats in the front row.
L to R - Sarah Holden (Home Start), Mayor Mervyn Hall, Jo Owen-Jones (Chair of Home Start Kennet)Mayor Hall has chosen Home-Start Kennet, who work with vulnerable families in the area, and Julia's House new children's hospice in Devizes which will have a team of outreach nurses. The outgoing mayor had raised £3,500 for his two charities - the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Swift Medics.
Councillor Fogg, on his feet again to pay tribute to the outgoing mayor, emphasised his Anglo-Irish heritage - he had to the same school as Oscar Wilde. He quoted Anglo-Irish poet Yeats' pessimistic lines - "Things fall apart..." - but said that Noel Barrett-Morton was a great and cheerful optimist.
Councillor Fogg mentioned that the new Town Council had just one named Conservative councillor - though, he added, others may be on that side of the party divide: "There will be no discrimination against this minority group." But Councillor Barrett-Morton would have to be his party's leader, chief whip and back bencher. Quite a task!
The outgoing mayor told the Town Hall audience that he was glad he had been able to work with a 'harmonious' council during his year in office. He thanked his wife Susan for her support - and thanked "her wardrobe mistress in Mayfair." He had gifts and thanks for his Chaplain, Rev Dr Janneke Blokland and for the council staff.
He ended with good wishes and for everyone - in Irish - with, of course, a Barrett-Morton smile.
Mayor Hall flanked by his wife Kath (left), Deputy Mayor Lisa Farrell (right), Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton, and the High Sheriff of Wiltshire, Lady MarlandNew Mayor, Councillor Mervyn Hall being robed for the first timeNew Mayor, Councillor Mervyn Hall addressing the assembled throngOutgoing Mayor Councillor Noel Brett-Morton making a (surprise) presentation to former Mayor, Tony GaryTown Crier and Beadle, Mike Tupman MBE leads the party out to the steps of the Town HallOutgoing Mayor Noel Barrett-Morton thanks former Councillor Alec Light for his many years of service on the Town CouncilOutgoing Mayor Noel Barrett-Morton thanks former Councillor Marian Hannaford-Dobson for her many years of service on the Town CouncilOutgoing Mayor Noel Barrett-Morton thanks former Councillor Margaret Rose for her many years of service on the Town CouncilOutgoing Mayor Noel Barrett-Morton thanks former Councillor and twice Mayor Stewart Dobson for his many years of service on the Town CouncilNew Mayor Councillor Mervyn Hall with former twice Mayor Tony and Mrs Grey at the reception after the Mayor Making ceremonyNew Mayor Councillor Mervyn Hall with his family at the reception after the Mayor Making ceremonyMayor Mervyn Hall with Jan Burns from one of his chosen Mayoral Charities - Julia's House - along with Town Crier Mike TupmanFormer Mayor Councillor Noel Barrett-Morton with Town Clerk Shelley Parker and Rev Dr Janneke BloklandNew and New - new Mayor Mervyn Hall with new Councillors Edward Northeast (left) and Harry ForbesFormer Councillors Stewart Dobson and Marian Hannaford-Dobson with new Councillor Mark Cook, Stewart's nephewOutgoing Mayor Noel Barrett-Morton, with outgoing Mayoress Susan and former Councillors Stewart Dobson and Marian Hannaford-Dobson
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