Wetherby shines as senior government minister comes to town in the intense heat

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What incredible weather we’ve been having at the moment.

It’s a far cry from last year when we spent so much of the summer battling the elements.

Thankfully, Mayoral duties have returned to a slightly calmer pace this week which is just as well given that it was far too hot to be racing around.

I did discover one of the downsides of the Mayoral chain this week though.

It must be worn, quite rightly, with a jacket and tie, but as you can imagine, when everyone else is strolling around in shorts and T-shirts it can get a little uncomfortable when you’re dressed in a suit!

Particularly for a man of my girth, this brings me on to another of the downsides of this role.

A number of helpful observers have kindly pointed out that I’ve got a little larger round the middle over the past year and I’ve finally given up on the hope that my tightening trousers were due to shrinkage in the wash.

I have never been especially slim, working in the catering trade sees to that, but I’ve always been very active which has helped to keep my weight reasonably manageable.

Unfortunately, my sport and exercise levels have declined dramatically over the past year while me food intake has not.

I have managed to lose a stone in the past couple of months but I’m determined to find time to get my exercise levels up.

The Wetherby 10K in September may come a little too soon for me this year but I will definitely be getting my running shoes on and hopefully will cut a slimmer figure as my term of office comes to an end next May.

So if you see me running around town, well, when I say running I mean jogging, oh alright then, it’s more of a waddle, please give me a bit of encouragement as I intend to enter a couple of runs at least to try to raise a bit of money for my charity; Martin House Children’s Hospice who do such a wonderful job for so many seriously ill young people.

For those that have tried to offer encouragement by honking their horns and then laughing and pointing, just to say that the horn honking is welcome, the other part less so.

After all that preamble, I now need to talk about food.

On Saturday a coffee morning was held in The Town Hall in aid of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

As ever, the Town Hall staff gave up their time along with an army of volunteers to raise £400 for a very worthy cause.

I did my bit by baking scones and if I do say so myself, they were pretty good.

The downside of my catering job, and the reason for my expanding waist line is that you have to taste everything.

It took me three scones to be sure they were okay.

I’m not sure how far I’ll have to run to shed those calories.

On Friday, I welcomed Francis Maude MP to Wetherby who is currently the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General.

It was a great opportunity to show off our town to a senior Government Minister, to highlight some of the positive work that we do and also to impress upon him some of the challenges our community faces.

I was also very keen that some of our young people should have the opportunity to meet him and talk to him and around 30 to 40 Wetherby High Students did exactly that.

We started by taking him to Sandringham Park to show him how the incredible work of our dedicated and passionate Friends of Sandringham Park group, so ably led by Kazia Knight, have turned the back from an anti-social behaviour hotspot to a multi award-winning, Green Flag holding beauty spot.

He was genuinely impressed with what he saw to the point that he is going to nominate the group for a big society award.

We then moved on to Barleyfields Youth Centre for a Q&A session with the young people.

They were a little shy at first, but once they got going, they really got stuck into some big issues.

He was asked about MP’s pay, benefit changes, tuition fees, education policy and much more besides.

Their questioning was highly intelligent and relevant and while it’s fair to say that they didn’t agree with all the answers, they were all impressed with the candour and honesty that Mr Maude showed them.

It was a great opportunity for the young people to put their views directly to a Government Minister and a wonderful chance to show off Wetherby on the national stage.