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Last Friday night was ‘Panto’ night and what a fantastic show the Bridport Pantomime Players put on. The annual pantomime is one of the events I particularly look forward to each year and this year’s performance of Peter Pan was an absolute cracker.

Amy Day as Peter Pan, Sarah Williams as Tinker Bell and Greg Horton as Nana played the lead roles supported by an excellent cast which included children from the Lyric School of Dancing. But none of it would be possible without the small army beavering away backstage on the night and in the weeks running up to the first performance producing the excellent scenery, props and costumes.

Images borrowed from the Bridport Pantomime Players Facebook page

I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to everyone involved in this excellent production. If you have yet to go to one of the Bridport Pantomime Players performances you are missing out – Oh Yes, You Most Definitely Are!


On Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the Bridport Business Awards held at Highlands End.

This was the third occasion as Mayor I have been privileged to attend this wonderful celebration of the Bridport business community, and what a rollercoaster those three years have been. Despite the current economic difficulties covered daily on the national news it was great to see local businesses being both celebrated and celebrating. Bridport is lucky to have so many fantastic businesses and they deserve to be recognised. On a personal level I am particularly pleased to see entries into the Green/Eco category increasing year on year yet again and to be privileged to present that award.

Winners of the Bridport Business Awards 2023 were from top left:

  • Café, Pub and Casual Dining: Mercato Italiano
  • Retail Business: Smith and Smith
  • Artisans and Market Vendors: Aperture Photographics
  • Young Entrepeneur: Richard Harvey
  • Independent Business: Bridport PC Repair
  • New Business: The West Dorset Magazine
  • Family Business: Heavers of Bridport
  • Green/Eco: West Bay Discovery Centre
  • Customer Service: Creeds Design and Print
  • Health and Fitness: Hurt Locker Gym
  • Best Place to Work: Art Unlimited
Images by Paul Collins/PC Visuals

And Finally the overall winners (bottom right) were: The West Dorset Magazine

The We4st Dorset magazine published by Bird Media, is a monthly A4 colour newsprint magazine. It was launched by Miranda Robertson, Editor, and Karen Bate, News Editor, in February 2022. And now has a readership of 70,000. The 25th issue has just been distributed across an area including Bridport, Dorchester, Sherborne and Weymouth & Portland.

About winning the New Business and Overall Winners awards, Karen said: “We were extremely surprised, and very moved, to win Overall Business of the Year. Winning this local award means so much to Miranda and I. It’s so brilliant to be recognised in our first year.”

Miranda added: “We were bowled over when our name was announced. This means an enormous amount.”

Congratulations to all the winners and to all the other fantastic businesses that were nominated.

My thanks to Nigel Reeve the event organiser and to the sponsors for their support.


I was contacted by a local resident recently who brought to my attention that various studies have shown that around 42% of people over 75 do not use the internet. This, given the ever increasing way in which we are being forced to live our lives digitally is rather shocking. The closure of high street banks, cashless parking machines, using eConsult to get GP appointments and the mooted closure of railway ticket offices are just three examples of the way in which those who do not use the internet are increasingly being disenfranchised.

I consider myself to be IT savvy having worked with computers in one shape or form for much of my life. But even I struggled to negotiate my way through the Government Gateway to register for my state pension a few years ago and finally resorted to using the telephone. If someone like me finds it a challenge to negotiate my way through some of the online systems now in place what hope is there for someone with little or no IT expertise.

So what could we as a community do about this situation here in Bridport? Here are a few first thoughts.

  • Make IT support a part of what is available at the Warm Hubs.
  • Put IT support on the agenda of community groups such as the WI, Gardening Club, U3A, churches etc in order to build up a register of members potentially in need of support.
  • Establish a network of volunteers who are willing to spend a little time supporting others with their IT.
  • Use some of the funds raised by groups such as the Lions, Rotary etc to provide basic IT hardware to those in need.

Do you know someone who is struggling with IT? Are you someone who could spare a little time to share your expertise to support someone struggling with IT?

In the meantime there is some support already out there.

Dorset Council, working with its team of volunteer Digital Champions, is running a free digital hotline, to help anyone in Dorset with computer queries, including helping people get online for the first time.

Help is available over the phone for:

• setting up video calls such as Skype and FaceTime to keep in contact with friends and family
• providing help to get online for grocery shopping 
• setting up and using new devices 
• support for all digital NHS services and eConsult 
• support to use all digital appliances and solve problems 
Anyone can call the Dorset Digital Hotline with an IT question on  01305 221000 (Option 2) weekdays from 10am to 12 noon.  Outside those times, please leave a message.

Age UK North, South & West Dorset offer help with the purchase and set-up of broadband and equipment (computers, laptops, notebooks and smart phones).

They can also teach you how to use them and get you online! To find out more call: 01305 269444.

For any queries not solvable by telephone, Age UK can can also do a COVID safe home visit to offer one-to-one IT support. This is charged at £19 an hour.

AND FINALLY – on the death of Burt Bacharach

The wonderful songs of Burt Bacharach have been part of my ‘soundtrack’ for as long as I can remember. The artists wh have recorded his songs are legion and include Adele, Perry Como, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones and of course Dionne Warwick.

Which is your favourite Burt Bacharach song? Click HERE to hear mine.

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