I normally start these columns with shock at how quickly this has come around again but I’ve been soooo busy recently that it feels like ages ago because I’ve been up to so much! I can’t detail all of it here as that would take far too long…. So, I’ll try to be focused.
I’m sure you all join in disbelief at the invasion of Ukraine, I’ve seen so many awful, grim reports and so much footage on social media of the violence and suffering these innocent people are being subjected to. It is truly astonishing that warfare of this scale is taking place on European soil once again. I have nothing but the utmost admiration and respect for the leadership that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his cabinet are displaying. The strength and resilience of the Ukrainian people has and will go down in legend. With all sincerity, I have felt for them every single day.
I recently attended a candlelight vigil for the Ukrainian people by the band stand in the Mary Bailey field. I was not expecting 4 Ukrainian women to turn up all the way from Bridgewater to join us. We listened to them share their stories of loved ones hiding and taking shelter…. We even said hello to some via FaceTime. It was an emotional evening for all involved, the reality of this was brought home much harder through their experiences, fear and heartache. I’d like to thank them for educating us further.
The invasion of Ukraine will see the biggest number of refugees in Europe since WWII and FTC and Frome want to do what we can to support these people in finding safety, security and hopefully brighter futures. Frome Town Council have started an appeal to raise funds to assist to our Polish twin town of Rabka. The town, which is half the size of Frome, is only 150 miles from the Ukrainian border and means they will be supporting a large amount people seeking refuge in Poland. It’s £10 per day to accommodate refugees in Rabka and £20 per day if you include food. FTC started the fund with a pledge of £5,000 and the response from Fromies both online and at bucket collections has been epic and overwhelming.
You can donate by heading here: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ukrainianappealftc
A special thank you to Cllr and former Mayor Anita Collier and her team for all their hard work and efforts making this happen as our twin-towns ambassador.
I’d like to welcome fashion chain Peacocks to the town. Located in the Westway shopping precinct, I had the pleasure of cutting the ribbon on their opening morning and I was delighted to see affordable, everyday clothing options make their way back into the town centre. I had a great conversation with the store manager about their aspirations and willingness to get involved in the community with raffle prize donations and things of that nature. I think it’s great that a big high street name see’s the value of investing in the communities they operate in, and I look forward to seeing this progress.
To round this off I’m going to try a quick-fire round of thank you’s because I’ve done so much, I can’t talk at length about everything, but I’d like to do some shout outs. Firstly, thank you again to the High Sheriff of Somerset – Thomas Sheppard – for accepting my invitations to visit Vallis Youth Club & North Hill House school, plus thanks goes to the Gateway Club for inviting me to their Caribbean night – you guys know how to have fun! Thank you to the Frome Festival for inviting me their annual AGM, this was my second AGM and it’s great to be kept in the loop with your incredible efforts. Thank you also to Young Somerset for all the work you do and having me along to your recent event at the Cheese & Grain with so many great stalls full of support, information and opportunities, I loved the silent disco at the end as well, please keep up the work!
I feel like I’m missing something but it’s almost midnight as I write this and I’m a very tired Mayor, beginning to nod off at the keyboard, until the next time Frome!