What a mixed month since I last wrote!
A general election, with many more people turning out to vote than in previous years. Whatever your political viewpoint, it is great to see more people getting involved.
Hustings organised by Churches Together groups in various towns and villages across Leeds allowed candidates to speak, largely unheckled, and local people to ask questions.
I would say though that the atmosphere in some areas on the election day itself, and a couple of weeks before, with graffiti and criminal damage to posters reported across the country, as well as locally, suggests a distinct lack of respect for free speech and democracy.
We should be able to put our points across, and our posters up, without being subjected to mindless damage and in some cases intimidatory behaviour towards people going about their legal business.
I hope that Wetherby residents join me in standing up for free speech and democratic values throughout our area, maintaining a safe environment to discuss issues and work towards better outcomes for everybody.
The country as a whole has watched with shock the terrorist attacks in Manchester, and London, and the awful tragedy at Grenfell Towers in London. Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of all affected by these incidents.
We have held the minute’s silences for all three incidents at the Town Hall with the timings advertised on the Town Hall webpage, in conjunction with the announcements on National TV and Radio.
It has been good to see local people working to assist those affected by carrying out collections of goods and providing transportation. It reinforces the fact that we have so many compassionate, generous people living in our town. It is also worthy to note that children attending craft activities organised by the Salvation Army made cards to send to the people affected by the Manchester Arena tragedy. I wrote a covering letter and received a very appreciative response from the Salvation Army in Manchester. Well done to our kind children who were thinking of others.
For those of you with access to the internet the Town Council website is a great way of getting information about what is going on in the town. Please take a look at it at www.wetherby.co.uk or on our Facebook, Wetherby Town Council.
Any community groups wishing to advertise their meetings and activities can do so by contacting the Town Clerk by letter or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org In case you don’t have access to the internet there are still paper copies of the monthly Town Council Newsletter available in the Town Hall foyer.
Over the last few weeks it has been lovely to see members of our local community joining together in positive initiatives, such as the Big Lunch at Sandringham Park (reported in last week’s Wetherby News), the St James’s Church Annual Summer Fete, Deighton Gates School Summer Fair, and of course the weekly Band Concerts organised so well at the bandstand by the river.
There are lots of sporting activities, runs, races, walks and events coming up in the next few weeks so there is no excuse not to get involved in something local. Please watch out for adverts and posters around the town and listen to our fantastic local radio station Tempo FM for regular updates.
Our new Deputy Mayor, Coun Galan Moss has recently represented the town at a service for all those celebrating their Golden Weddings this year, held at Ripon Cathedral, and a Bands Concert at Morley. He and his wife attended as I was already at other local appointments. We try to attend as many events as we can to advertise our lovely town and its benefits, and to support local charities and community groups in their fantastic work. Let the Town Clerk know if you have an event that you would like us to support.
The Wetherby in Bloom volunteers and our contractors are already working hard to ensure the town looks its best in the coming weeks and we thank them for their sterling efforts.
It is with some disappointment that we received reports of damage to the Weir, but we are in contact with Leeds City Council about clearing the litter and with other agencies to get help to carry out the necessary repairs. We are of course delighted that young and old alike can enjoy the lovely Riverside areas in the sunshine, but please be aware of the need for caution when playing near water and the weir areas.
Let’s hope the good weather continues and we can all enjoy the delights of our beautiful town over the coming weeks.