Another busy week and a really mixture of things to tell you about.
On this coming Sunday the 4th ‘From Street to Sea’ mass litter pick takes place, so please come along and help tidy away other peoples litter from our streets, beaches and green spaces. Meet at either the Co-op, Morrisons or the West Bay Discovery Centre at 10.00 to play your part.
RACISM IN BRIDPORT
A few months ago I told you about some negative racial incidents that had occurred in Bridport. At the end of that piece I asked you to contact me if you had been the subject of racial abuse or had witnessed something.
As a result I received a small number of reports which prompted the Town Council to make Racism the topic of the Public Forum at the recent Full Council Meeting. On the night we were joined by a few members of the public who were brave enough to relay their experiences in front of the councillors.
In addition to the personal statements, email accounts and other reports, we had a report from the local police about the number of reported incidents. You will probably not be surprised to know that the number of reported incidents of racial hate crime is extremely low. Reporting something like this can be hard to do, knowing that by doing so you have to be prepared to follow it through i.e. let the law take its course. It is fair to say that whilst recorded incidents of racial hate crime are very low that does not mean it does not exist here in Bridport.
Incidents such as the ones we are talking about fall under the category of Hate Crimes. And according to the Metropolitan Police a Hate Crime is:
- In most crimes it is something the victim has in their possession or control that motivates the offender to commit the crime. With hate crime it is ‘who’ the victim is, or ‘what’ the victim appears to be that motivates the offender to commit the crime.
- A hate crime is defined as ‘Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.’
- A hate incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.
- Not all hate incidents will amount to criminal offences, but it is equally important that these are reported and recorded by the police.
- Evidence of the hate element is not a requirement. You do not need to personally perceive the incident to be hate related. It would be enough if another person, a witness or even a police officer thought that the incident was hate related.
In order to tackle hate crime, we need to understand the scale and nature of the problem. The Town Council has acknowledged that Hate Crimes of a racial nature occur in Bridport – the question now is what can be done about it?
Bridport is proud to be the first UNESCO Rights Respecting town in the UK. Bridport Primary School is a fully accredited UNESCO Rights Respecting school. Our young people, and two of them came to speak at the Public Forum, are very aware of their rights and responsibilities and take issues such as hate crime very seriously.
As mature members of the Bridport community it is down to all of us to:
- Make a stand when and where we witness hate crime incidents taking place
- Think about the language and words we use in our everyday speech – one person’s banter is another’s offence or mental turmoil
- Be particularly mindful in high risk environments for hate crime, including public spaces and transport, the night-time economy and the internet.
In addition Councillors are looking at ideas for further engagement – particularly with the Police, local businesses and young people, and the idea of an anti-racism event.
BRIDPORT CAMERA CLUB
According to their website the Bridport Camera Club is:
“An enthusiastic and inclusive club for everyone who loves photography, whatever their ability, experience or area of interest. Most members come from Bridport and the towns and villages around, from Lyme Regis to Dorchester. We like to explore new ideas and creativity. Meetings are relaxed and open, with plenty of opportunity to share thoughts and knowledge. What brings us all together is our passion for photography”.
When I received the invitation to go along to the opening evening of an exhibition of images taken by camera club members I was not sure what to expect. Camera clubs have a reputation for being places where enthusiasts, mainly men, get together to talk cameras and technical details rather than encouraging each other to take more creative and interesting images.
Previous experience of visiting camera club exhibitions led me to expect to see some technically perfect but somewhat sterile images. So on Friday evening when I went along to the opening of an exhibition of images taken by Bridport Camera Club members, I was not expecting to be blown away by what was on display. But blown away I was. Not only were the images technically of a very high standard but they were also very creative and thought provoking.
I would suggest that anyone who is interested in photography, whether it be with a high end digital camera or their mobile phone should seriously consider joining this very friendly club and take their snaps to another level.
On his way home from the event local photographer Neil Barnes captured these two wonderful images on his phone.
When I cease to be Mayor and no longer having camera lenses pointing at me I will be relishing being on the other side of the camera once again and look forward to honing my photographic skills by joining the Camera Club. To find out more about the club click HERE
DORSET COUNCIL’S – BRIDPORT CUSTOMER ACCESS POINT
Dorset Council’s customer access point which is currently at Mountfield will be moving to Bridport Library, South Street from Monday 31st October. Opening times will be as follows:
- Monday 10am – 5pm
- Tuesday 9.30am – 12.30pm
- Wednesday 9.30am – 5pm
- Friday 9.30am – 5pm
Dorset Council’s Customer Services can also be contact by phone on 01305 221000 or information can be found online HERE.
AROUND THE MIND IN 80 DAYS
On Monday evening Bridport’s ‘mental health hub’, Harmony, put on their 80 Days Around the Mind showcase to mark World Mental Health Week.
The evening was a unique stage and screen arts event exploring Harmony members’ experiences of mental health through storytelling, spoken word, photography, art and music. Harmony members collaborated with local artists to develop skills such as writing, storytelling, art and theatre skills and the end result was an immersive experience that made me think about my own mental wellbeing. The first half of the show was a dark journey into mental health and the second half took us on a journey of recovery and hope.
Through the spoken word, pieces in the form of stories and poetry were relayed by members. They shared, in brutal honesty, their experiences of living with mental health issues. There were times when the words I was listening to brought forward a recognition of similar feelings and emotions I too have experienced. Fortunately for me such moments have been at much lower level and I have been able to overcome and move on. Sadly for those people on the stage, bravely sharing their experiences, this has not been the case and their lives have been blighted for varying lengths of time.
We all struggle at times with our mental wellbeing and the challenges of coping and living a ‘normal’ life can become overwhelming. Through events such as Around the Mind in 80 Days a greater understanding, awareness and empathy is gained. I, for one, departed feeling extremely grateful for having a greater awareness of just how fragile our mental wellbeing is.
To find out more about Harmony or contact them click HERE
CEREMONY TO MARK THE BOMBING OF BRIDPORT IN 1942
On Tuesday morning relatives of those who were killed or whose lives were impacted upon by the two bombing raids on Bridport in 1942, gathered at the chapel in Bridport Cemetery to mark the events 80 years on. They were joined by children from St Mary’s and Bridport Primary Schools, Town Councillors and members of the public.
The ceremony was organised by the Bridport Heritage Forum (BHF). Prior to Tuesday mornings event Shelia Meaney, Chair of Bridport Heritage Forum, told me: “We are dedicated to promoting and protecting the heritage of Bridport, as well as honouring the people of Bridport who are an integral part of our history”.
The BHF has gathered a great deal of information about the two raids and on display were maps pinpointing the impact sites, witness statements and photographs. Whilst the maps and photographs provide clinically precise documentary evidence of what occurred, it is only by reading the witness statements that the full horror of what happened hits you.
Sheila opened the ceremony by giving a gripping account of what occurred on those two days. Everyone in the chapel and standing by the door was absorbed by her description of the events as they unfolded. I then said a few words:
“I find it almost impossible to comprehend what it must have been like to find your life turned upside down in a mere moment by bombs falling from the sky. Like almost everyone here today we have been fortunate enough to live our lives without that threat.
Today, around the world there numerous conflicts taking place where innocent people have to live with the threat of gunfire and bombs – an everyday part of their lives. According to the Council on Foreign Relations’s Global Conflict Tracker, there are currently 27 ongoing conflicts worldwide. The war in Ukraine is the one which is most familiar to us and through what we read and see nightly on our televisions we gain an insight into what life under fire is like. Only yesterday Russian missiles fell from the sky onto cities across Ukraine in much the same way as the bombs that hit Bridport all those years ago did. The images of the destruction caused by those missiles and the agony of the people on the receiving end of them gives us a mere glimpse into what it must have been like.”
With the help of some of the children present, I planted a tree to mark and remember what happened here in Bridport all those years ago. Every tree has a story. Trees have the power to symbolise, inspire and express our deepest feelings of love, gratitude, protection and happiness. Trees are majestic friends of the earth and are so treasured, that since ancient times each one has been honoured with a special meaning. The Horse Chestnut that we planted now has its own special meaning and story to tell.
Following the planting of the tree The Rev Pete Stone said a few words and ended the ceremony with:
“They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old:Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morningWe will remember them. We will remember them“.
BRIDPORT LEISURE CENTRE RAFFLE DRAW
A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about the Bridport Leisure Centre in my Blog. As part of the piece I told you about the need to raise a significant amount of money, £30,000, to carry out a major overhaul of the leisure Centre’s swimming pool. As part of the fundraising process, raffle tickets have been on sale for the past 4 weeks and on Tuesday morning I had the pleasure of lending my support to Centre Manager, Will Thrower, by drawing the winning tickets.
The raffle is just one of many fundraising activities that will be taking place over the coming months. The swimming pool is an incredible valuable local resource used by people of all ages and abilities, from learners to power swimmers eating up the miles as part of their fitness regime. So keep your eyes peeled for future fundraising activities and do please lend your support by buying tickets or sponsoring someone.
As I left the Leisure Centre i spotted Local atrist Jo Burlington Busy at work on Bridport’s latest mural. The mural has been designed in collaboration with local children.
If by chance you happen to have some money you would like to donate to a community based resource drop Will an email to find out how you can put that bit of spare cash to really good use.
BULB PLANTING ON RIVERSIDE MEADOW
On Wednesday morning I joined members of the Bridport Gardening Club on Riverside Meadow to plant some daffodil bulbs. I say some, in fact we planted around 1400 daffodil bulbs consisting of the following varieties – ‘Tamara’ – early flowering; ‘King Alfred’ – mid flowering and ‘Best Seller’ late flowering. So there should be flower from early February through to April.
Thanks to a cost price 120 kgs donation from Groves, this was the first of several plantings that will be taking place over coming weeks. The 120kg donation equates to approximately 2,250 bulbs. The remaining bulbs will be planted at the following sites across the town; Wellfields, Watton Park near the Leisure Centre, Lower Walditch Play Area, and the triangle at the junction of Coneygar Road, Pymore Road and Victoria Grove.
I can’t wait to see the swathes of blooms next year telling us that winter is behind us and welcoming spring.
My thanks to Tim Gale and the Bridport Gardening Club for organising the mass bulb planting. To find out more about the Bridport Gardening Club click HERE
BRIDPORT SEA CADETS
On Wednesday evening I joined the Bridport Sea Cadets for their AGM and Awards evening. Covid had a devastating impact on the Bridport Sea Cadets and membership was down to two at one point. It was really pleasing that numbers of adult helpers and cadets has recovered well with a current crew of 19 cadets.
At Bridport Sea Cadets, they aim to give young people an experience that will help them grow into the person they want to be in a safe and friendly environment. Through various activities and adventures, they learn teamwork, respect, loyalty, self-confidence, commitment, self-discipline, honesty and how to be the best version of ourselves. The young cadets I saw that evening certainly displayed many of the characteristics listed.
Once the routine business of the AGM was out of the way the Awards were presented by Commodore Jonathan Fry, RN. The first awards were presented to adult members:
The Lord Lieutenant’s Certificate for Meritorious Service was presented to Wendy Hawgood who accepted it on behalf of her husband Ray who sadly passed away in 2021. Wendy was also presented with Ray’s MSSC certificate for six years service.
The MSSC certificate for six years service was also presented to Chris Barnes
The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal was presented to Lt (SCC) R Mitchison, RNR, Lt (SCC) A Gordon, RNR, Lt (SCC) R Francis, RNR, Lt (SCC) S Thomas, RNR
The following awards were presented to Cadets:
The Ray Hawgood Trophy for Endeavour – Cadet 1st Class Tink Larcombe.
Award for Commitment – Cadet 1 Class Jamie Oldershaw.
Junior Commitment Award – Able Junior Cadet George Painter, Able Junior Cadet Riley Smart
Boating Qualifications – Supervised Rowing Coxswain – Cadet 1st Class Tink Larcombe, Cadet Amelia Stone, Cadet Evie McAuley
Supervised Rowing Coxswain & Powerboat Level 2 – Cadet 1st Class Jamie Oldershaw
The Awards presented on the night were a result of the opportunities offered. Bridport Sea Cadets offer a range of different activities from sailing, windsurfing and power boating – to rock climbing, camping, and music – plus, so much more! Sea Cadets are also able to gain different qualifications that they can take with them once you leave Sea Cadets.
Above all it is the confidence and self belief gained through participation that is the most valuable life skill gained by the Cadets.
The Bridport Sea Cadets meet at their base at Plottingham Fields on Tuesdays, 7.15pm – 9.15pm. To find out more click HERE
AND FINALLY- THIS WEEKS MAGIC TENNER FOCUS
Alleyways – St Michael’s Trading Estate https://bridportantiques.co.uk/the-alleyways/
Businesses working with or supplying: Red Brick Cafe, Fruits of the Earth, Naturalife, Greig & Allen, Bird & Eagle, Snips, Smith & Smith, Health Foods, RKL Tools,. Footeprints
Art Unlimited – South Street
Businesses working with or supplying: Wowz, ADP, Bella’s, Leakers, XTC Coffee, Animal House, RKL Tools, Cilla and Camilla, Bridport Arts and Crafts, The Tiger, Higos, Footprints, plus a number of local artists.
Lavender Blue – Lilliput Lane
Businesses working with or supplying: Market House, Ropemakers, Seaside Boarding House, Eype’s Mouth Hotel, Lulworth Estates, Wakely’s Undertakers, Downs Undertakers