Hi everyone, and welcome to my latest update. It surely is an eventful time to be starting my year as Mayor – there’s been lots going on already!
One of the first events in the mayoral calendar is always the Blessing of the Well by St John’s Church. This is such a fascinating part of our history and is an ancient ritual that celebrates the founder of the town, St Aldhelm, as well as the founding of the Church. After a procession via Boyle Cross, we were joined by the Frome Town Band and some residents in full voice, to celebrate the well itself and throw blessings on the water. The beautiful flowers were all placed by local children and thanks was given to many local community support groups for all the work they do.
Thinking about the jubilee, there is no doubt that this is an historic occasion, as we recognise the longest serving monarch. Our relationship with the royal family has certainly changed over the last generation or so, but for many people the Queen is held in high regard. Whatever one’s personal opinions on the family, and indeed the institution of the monarchy itself, as an individual it is right that she is acknowledged for her long and sometimes challenging time in the role. However, this is a town well known for its history of dissent, and it would be wrong of me not to acknowledge that, for a good proportion of people, better ways could be found to spend the jubilee budget, and whilst we are in a cost of living crisis, the extreme wealth and privilege of the monarchy can jar sharply with the day to day experiences of many people.
For me, the extended Bank Holiday was a great opportunity for people to come together, hang out with neighbours, enjoy picnics and shared community spirit, and enjoy the town and each other. It didn’t really matter what the reason was; the last few years have been tough in so many ways and this was a chance to reconnect. The picnic in the Showfield was as much a celebration of trees and nature as anything else, as we see a Windsor Oak sapling from local tree guru Julian Hight planted in the new blossom circle.
I finished off with my visit to Hayesdown First School for their jubilee assembly. Remembering the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 very clearly myself, I was treated to a display of tapestries made by the year groups, each representing a decade since 1952. It was a brilliant romp through the pinnacles of science, technology and the arts over 50 years, and I loved how proud the kids were of their work, and their teachers were of them. Over on Discover Frome, we return to 1977 and see the entries for a competition that was arranged for schoolchildren. They had to write an essay imagining they were chosen to be the guide if the Queen came to visit Frome – you can read the entries over on Discover Frome: https://www.discoverfrome.co.uk/jubilee-throwback/