Reasons to celebrate the achievements of the town

NAWN 15122161AM1 Wetherby Jubilee presentation and carol service. The Mayor of Wetherby Coun. Harry Chapman with the nominees Tiseana Hussain, Rebecca Williams,Hannah Kendrick, James Kellett, Ella Marshall and Teiana Vine. (15122161AM1)
NAWN 15122161AM1 Wetherby Jubilee presentation and carol service. The Mayor of Wetherby Coun. Harry Chapman with the nominees Tiseana Hussain, Rebecca Williams,Hannah Kendrick, James Kellett, Ella Marshall and Teiana Vine. (15122161AM1)

Well a happy New Year to you all and let’s hope it’s a good one.

Very soon we are off to my daughter Rosie’s wedding and we are all busy preparing for the event. I have mentioned Rosie lives in Australia and has now decided to get married in Hawaii.

The long flights I am not looking forward to but at least it’s not quite as far as flying to Australia.

While talking about what has happened in the New Year I must mention the resignation of both our Town Clerk Barbara and her assistant Sally.

They have both been with us for that last 11 years and will be sadly missed as they do a fantastic and often difficult job. All the very best to both of you, you will be missed.

Before the Annual Carol Concert held outside the Town Hall (arranged this year by Wetherby Business Association), we held the Jubilee Award in the Town Hall. This is our annual award for young persons who have done something special that stands them out from the crowd.

They have to be sponsored without their knowledge and this year it led to eight youngsters being put forward.

The finalists are told that they are finalists and are invited to the proceedings.

On the night the sponsor for each one comes forward and reads out why they think the person they have sponsored should win.

The result is decided by a panel of three made up of the Mayor, a Church Minister, a local Headteacher and someone from the Welcome to Wetherby Team.

It is a good occasion and one that enables the Town Council to get involved with local youngsters in a good way.

The winners were two sisters Leah and Teiana Vine and their names go up on a board in the Town Hall and they also get a presentation plaque and certificate. All the finalists also get a certificate showing they had been chosen as special for what they had achieved in 2015.

The Dickensian Market again took place on a chilly but dry day and was enjoyed by the many people who came.

Thanks to the Lions for once again putting together a really worthwhile event for Wetherby folk and traders alike.

My UK daughter Vicky said she had never been to a German Christmas market so the four of us booked to go to Dusseldorf and Munster to let her have a look first hand.

All went well until we were rushing for a train at Munster when my wife, Jean, fell as she got on the train and as it turned out had broken two bones in her wrist.

We did not know that at the time and just thought she had sprained it. However we were back home the next day and a trip to Harrogate General gave the true story.

The good news is that she now has the pot off and things are getting back to normal with the help of the Physio and excercises.

Just before Christmas we were invited to many church Carol services including the ones at the Young Offenders Secure Unit and Wealstun prison.

At both you mix with some of the insiders and talking to them made me feel sad and that we should be doing more to help them toe the line when they get out. Most in the Young Offenders came from backgrounds that did not help and when they went back after their sentence they just repeated the offence. I was told the reoffending rate was 68 per cent. Appaling really.

There is a charity there doing a great job and the youngsters that they can help bring the reoffending rate down to 20 per cent. Does that not say something? They are limited by money and helpers in what they can do.

Other services were at various churches and Ripon Cathedral and in one week we went to five such services and did readings at some.

Another important event of note was the awarding of Town’s Person of the Year. This year again we had many entries and the one finally chosen as winner was Dean Buckle. Many will know him as the man from the small bike shop in town but he is also known for many charitable events and voluntary work.

Looking to the year ahead, my Mayoral role finishes at this May’s council meeting.