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BLOG 100

BLOG 100

I can’t believe this is Mayor’s Blog 100. Looking back it is interesting to see the range of topics that have been covered and the number of people and places I have been privileged to meet and visit. This weeks Blog contains another eclectic mix of information, some sad, some happy, some informative and some you might even find interesting.


I was saddened to learn of the passing of former Bridport Town Mayor, District and Town Councillor David Tett in hospital on Monday 21 November, aged 86. David served as Mayor twice, in 1998/9 and 2001/2.

My sympathies are with wife Jennifer, children Vanessa and Joanna, and grandchildren William, Phoebe and Jaiden. A Thanksgiving Service will take place at St Mary’s Church on Thursday, 15 December at 1.00pm. Family flowers only please. Donations, if desired, for the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance or Leukaemia UK which may be given online at or sent c/o A J Wakely & Sons, 91 East Street, Bridport DT6 3LB.

My thanks to Barry Bates for providing me with the following:

We first met David and Jennifer when they moved onto our estate nearly 20 years ago. David had recently been Mayor of Bridport twice – a power couple. They became regular members of the estate social events such as the annual street party and David was an early winner of the Breadmaking competition which the male residents entered.

David has recorded his own life in his book ‘The Path I trod ‘. He was born just before the outbreak of World War 2 in High Wycombe. His father signed up for war service and David and his mother moved back to their family base in Crewkerne, Somerset. His roots in Somerset were maintained throughout his life via his interest in Yeovil Town Football Club and Somerset Cricket Club. Both always provided a lively source of conversation and I was lucky enough to spend time watching cricket with him at Taunton.
David’s education was disrupted by the war. He was determined to obtain professional qualifications and he trained as a legal executive. His working life was spent with a variety of solicitors in the South Somerset area. He married Jennifer in 1964 and they had two daughters – Vanessa and Joanna. David was a loving grandfather to their children. The couple moved to Bothenhampton in 1970 and David participated in local sport, most especially Bridport Cricket Club.

His interest in sport led him to set up the Bridport Marathon which he organised for the first 6 years. A 13 mile course for competitive runners and a 8 mile fun run offered entrants a choice. The marathon raised over £10,000 for improvements to Colfox School.

David’s father had served on the local Council at Crewkerne, and this interest passed down to David. By the time we met, David was an Independent Councillor sitting on both the West Dorset District Council and Bridport Town Council. The title suited him in that he was independent minded, but I know that at election time, without the support of the political party machine, he had to work hard to get his vote out. It did, however, afford him the opportunity to speak out, without fear or favour, in what he considered to be inthe best interests of the town. His letters in the local newspapers will be a lasting testimony to that.

He was rewarded by being elected to serve as Mayor on two occasions (1998-9 and 2001-02). David and Jennifer have maintained contact with the fellow Dorset Mayors who served in those years.
David was associated with a number of campaigns. These included the long running campaign for improvements to the A35 notably at Miles Cross; the fight to keep Mountjoy School in Bridport and the campaign to maintain a Magistrates Court in Bridport. Members of the ADVEARSE steering group are especially grateful for his contributions to the fight against the massive development at Vearse Farm. He was there at the critical moments including the Judicial review Meeting in Cardiff. A stalwart of the campaign.

Linked to his council duties was a life of public service. He was a trustee for the local St John’s Ambulance Group and a Governor at Dorset County Hospital. He particularly valued his time as a Trustee of Bridport Citizens Advice Bureau and as an early Trustee on the Millennium Green Trust. He appeared to relish life as a committee man and let’s face it we should be grateful to those who devote time to this important part of our democratic life. Bridport is fortunate to have so many people who will turn out to support events, but we should recognise those like David who give so much time behind the scenes making things happen.

As David makes clear in his book, he was passionate and consistent in his belief that decisions affecting Bridport people should involve them. In an age where turn out in local elections can be low, David was an inspiration to encourage us all to engage in the democratic process. You may not always agree with what he had to say but it would get people thinking and involved.
More general contributions to local community life saw him as a member of Bridport Rotary Club and the Probus Club.

David was dapper in dress. With Jennifer behind him, how could he not be?! In recent years he was a familiar figure walking into town normally with a trilby on his head. In the past year he bought a mobility scooter, and I was present at an early sortie when after an al fresco meeting at Gavin’s house, David demolished several flowerpots as he was still learning the art of reversing/steering. The only braking going on that day was the breaking of flowerpots.

David had a twinkle in his eye. But above the picture I have of him is someone who was always engaged in what was going on, poised with his ready wit to offer an opinion and to burst forth with his chortle. A ready smile that lifted many a conversation.

A life well lived and a family man. Someone who gave freely of his time and experience for the local community. David will be much missed.

Barry Bates 26 November 2022


The St Michael’s Trading Estate has for the past 53 years, under the ownership of Hayward & Co, gained a proud track record of providing affordable commercial trading space to small businesses. But the area has an industrial life dating back hundreds of years where net and rope making employed hundreds of local people back to the time of King John. Today St Michaels forms the largest part of Bridport’s South West Quadrant conservation area which brings with it a sense of responsibility.

Bridport Museum and Heritage Centre regularly take visitors on a ‘Bridport Heritage Trail’; and the three blue plaques will not only as be a continual visual reminder of some aspects of St Michael’s history but will also act as focal points for walking tours.

The first plaque unveiled was to William Saunders Edwards and it was unveiled by his great granddaughter Amanda Streatfield who still lives near the town and who expressed a great sense of family pride not only to William but also to his son Campbell who took the business through to more modern 20th century methods and markets.  W.S. Edwards broke the mould by taking nets from St Michael’s into the world of sport; lawn tennis- the All England Club and then to the Football Association for the first goal nets, then cricket nets, and of course almost every village hall in the country has a badminton net or two.

I had the honour of unveiling the second plaque to William Gale and his family saying “Just looking around St Michael’s it was obvious that this was once a thriving hub of industrial activity. These buildings still stand as a mark of respect to the entrepreneurs, including William Gale, and the workers who created and worked in them.” The Gale family led the way, and it was William Gale who established the family business and set about the manufacture of twine. His three sons, Sidney, Fred and Albert picked up where their father left off; the family was also very civic and community minded and both William and Sidney are former Mayors of Bridport.

In unveiling the third plaque to commemorate the creation of Bridport Industries, Karen Hunt, Chair of the Bridport Museum trustees, added, “Bridport’s heritage is not just about these buildings we see around but about the people who shaped them, worked in them and lived in the surrounding streets. These plaques mark part of the story of why Bridport is laid out and looks the way it does; they are a sign of what it has meant to be a small industrial town in a rural area dominated by one industry.”


Two fantastic fundraising events last weekend and there was a great deal of fun and laughter at both.

Each event raised around £1000 for their respective causes; Christmas Cheer, Bridport Youth and Community Centre and The Bank of Dreams and Nightmares (the final totals have yet to be tallied). Whilst raising as much needed money as possible for each cause is really important, the joy of taking part, being with people, the laughter and the frustration are all of equal importance as the images below show.

Thank you to everyone involved in organising and helping at both events on the night and to everyone who came out and participated. You all in your own way made a really valuable contribution to making them such enjoyable occasions.


This coming Wednesday, 7 December from 4.00 – 8.00pm, Bridport’s Christmas Cheer is back with a fantastic array of things for you to engage with. In addition to the late night shopping opportunities you can also:

  • Visit over 50 stalls by local arts & crafts, community and charity groups – all in the warmth of the Town Hall and Bridport Arts Centre.
  • Visit the Christmas Tree Festival in the United Reform Church
  • Visit school choir performances in the Chapel in the Garden between 4.00 – 5.00
  • Visit school choir performances in Bucky Doo Square between 4.00 – 5.30
  • Visit Millenium Green to enjoy the bar and food stalls plus live entertainment from 5.30 – 9.30
  • Visit the fun fair on South Street which will be closed to traffic for the afternoon and evening from Gundry Road to the Town Hall.
  • Visit Bucky Doo Square from 4.00 – 8.00 to enjoy the schools and Ukrainian choirs, followed by more music including the fabulous Skatalans from 7.15
  • Visit Bucky Doo Square to witness the countdown to the switching on of the lights on the big Christmas tree by yours truly at 6.00.

The best way to show your support for our brilliant local shops, craftspeople, market stall holders, charity and community groups, musicians and singers is by coming out and enjoying yourself and taking the opportunity to make one or two special Christmas purchases.


Dorset Police has launched its ‘Lift Legend’ Christmas drink drive campaign, with over 30 licenced premises set to offer soft drinks to those who give free lifts home to friends and family after a night out.  

The initiative runs from Thursday 1 December 2022 to Sunday 1 January 2023 and is a modern approach to the annual Christmas campaign.

On the purchase of their first soft drink, drivers will be able to receive a voucher to have their second free of charge at participating venues.  

On the purchase of their first soft drink, drivers will be able to receive a voucher to have their second free of charge at participating venues.  

During the month-long operation officers will be raising awareness of the inherent dangers involved in drink driving by encouraging people to take responsibility for their actions this Christmas.

Breath tests will also be requested from all drivers who commit a moving road traffic offence, irrespective of whether or not they’re suspected of a drink driving offence.  

Officers will also be carrying out intelligence-led fixed site checks, as well as engaging with motorists on the risks of getting behind the wheel after a drink. 

To find out more click HERE


‘An evening of songs and words of love and hope for 2023 ‘ performed by Rough Assembly with Debra as reader

Twelfth Night 2023 – Friday 6 January – 7.30 pm at Bridport Town Hall

Tickets £10 (include a glass of wine and mince pie) £8 for members of Millennium Green

Tickets can be bought on the door, but tables can be booked in advance by phoning 01308 425037 or for a table of 6 or more 01308 423078 .

This is always an enjoyable event for us, and it would be great to see you there. Gather your friends together and feel free to pass on to anyone you think might be interested in coming along.


Three excellent businesses in South Street for you to pop into and spend your magic tenners in. Apart. Each have some really interesting and unusual items on offer to tempt you and the perfect answer to some of your Christmas present giving this year.

Waste Not Want Not – South Street 
Businesses working with or supplying: Animal house, RKL, Bellas, Sunbird, Footeprints, Pursuit of Hoppiness, Yellow Gorse and more.

Naturalife – South Street
Businesses working with or supplying: Soulshine, Gelataria Beppinos, The Bookshop, Bridport Arts and Crafts. Footeprints, Malabar Trading, RKL Tools and more.

Malabar Trading – South Street
Businesses working with or supplying: Footprints, Cafe Bean, Natural Life, Fruits of the Earth, Waste Not Want Not, Soulshine, Morrish & Banham, Things I Like, Burwoods, Red Brick Cafe, Steptoes, Liliputs, Livingston Textiles, Washingpool Farm, Bridget’s Market and more.

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