skip to Main Content
Mayor’s Blog 124

Mayor’s Blog 124

This week we have St Mary’s School Food Fair, Bridport Beer and Food Festival, Trees and fruit bushes, Mayoress’ report and a plea on behalf of a Ukrainian Guest.

St. Mary’s Children’s Food Fayre

On Friday I had the pleasure of attending and opening St Mary’s School Children’s Food Fair, part of the Great Big Green Week celebrations. The Fair was a celebration of what can be achieved by everyone making time to connect with the earth and working together.

I have always loved growing things right from an early age when my Grandfather allowed me to help him prepare the soil and help plant potatoes, runner beans and other vegetables. In those days life was very different and in many homes growing your own vegetables was a necessity.

I am heartened by the work now being carried out in schools and other community organisations to help our young people have an opportunity to have their own happy memories of the joy in working together in a productive way and having the satisfaction of eating something they have actually grown themselves. It is so important to help improve the diet and health of children and one way is to provide the opportunities for them to learn the simple skills to grow their own food and enjoy cooking and eating together and make it fun along the way.

And fun it was at the Fair!

Loudly proclaimed again by our Town Crier on a very warm afternoon the Fair was officially opened by myself (short speech!) and the parents began to arrive. We were treated to some wonderful singing by the school Choir which helped to set the scene for much fun and smiles throughout the afternoon.

There were food and drink stalls, music from Chris Deacon (brilliant as always Chris) and my favourite being the plant stall where plants grown from seed by the children were on sale for a very modest sum.

St. Mary’s Children's Food Fayre

When school finished for the day the rest of the children joined in and we were then treated to the spectacle of egg and spoon racing, sack racing (my favourite) and some sharp shooting at the coconut shy. I have no idea who won what but it was such entertainment I don’t think it really mattered.

Unfortunately and unexpectedly I don’t have many pictures of the day, a great shame but I am sure all those who attended have happy memories.

The Bridport Beer and Food Festival

The wonderful Beer and Food festival weekend took place last weekend and what an event it was! It has become so popular that visitors to the area are starting to book their holidays around the dates, something that is becoming more common in Bridport. This event is, as always, a tribute to the successful combination of two events and definitely not just enjoyed by local people.

Beer Festival

Although I was booked in to open the Food Festival on Saturday morning it didn’t seem right to ignore the Beer Festival hosted by Bridport Round Table starting on Friday night. We spent a few happy hours socialising on a very warm Friday evening along with a good crowd. The Beer tent soon started to fill up and a lot of “sampling” seemed to be taking place. With a variety of delicious food on sale plus some great music being played in the tent, it was definitely a recipe for success.

Beer Festival

When fundraising becomes seemingly effortless then it is a tribute to those who carry out all the hard work, especially the volunteers on the day. Not forgetting all of the work that goes into the preparation to get everything ready for the big event and thanks to Bridport Town Council for their usual “behind the scenes” efforts that make it all possible.

It was all worth it and I trust the money raised was higher than last year as this supports the fundraising efforts of Bridport Round Table who had their highest ever fundraising total year and donated nearly £28 thousand pounds to local causes and also almost £18 thousand pounds to local families in need. We must also thank the local sponsors, their generous support is vital in making the event a financial success.

Food Festival

Before I opened the Food Festival on Saturday morning I had the pleasure of a presentation to 3 members of the Bridport Food Group Committee who were standing down after years of hard voluntary work.

Kathy Dare (outgoing Chairman) , Terri Foxwell (outgoing Secretary) and Jay Anderston (Cookery Theatre Manager), have all been instrumental on the Food Group Committee for many years and have helped to guide the Food Group to be the successful organisation we have today.

I thanked them on behalf of the people of Bridport for all the dedication and hard work that they have shown over the years and the Committee also wanted to recognise the many years of crucial work that they have given to the Local Food Group and especially the Festival. I was asked to present each of them with a bespoke commemorative plate made by artist-ceramicist Linzi West.

Food Festival

The Festival followed the successful theme of previous events, the weather stayed mostly fine so the crowds came. There were many diverse food and drink stalls showcasing all that is available in the area, live music, information and a series of cooking events held in the Cookery Theatre which proved to be extremely popular, an opportunity to see a series of cookery masterclasses led by fantastic chefs.

The first photograph below is of Maggie Richardson known as the “Seaside Baker” from the Great British Bake Off who was first up and started the Masterclasses.

Photo courtesy of Neil Barnes

Food Festival
Food Festival
Food Festival
Food Festival

There was plenty to do for all ages and the children’s tent was constantly full of children learning to prepare and cook their own food, a roaring success.

Children's Tent

I thought the smoothies made to your own recipe and powered by bicycle was a great idea, I couldn’t resist it!

Food Festival
Food Festival
Food Festival

A day of sun, fun and music in Asker’s Meadow and then the Beer Festival started again for the evening.

What a combination, what a weekend!


Last week I had a conversation with Joe Hackett, Co-Ordinator of Bridport Tree Planting who have been busily growing and giving away free trees to the people of Bridport and beyond and have been planting in many community areas in Bridport such as Asker’s Meadow.

I was very interested to find out that, thanks to a recent donation, Bridport Tree Planting is able to fund fruit trees as well as native species trees. They are also diversifying by providing shrubs for public spaces to help pollinators such as bees, moths and help increase insect diversity.

Joe said “We hope to donate up to thirty fruit trees for a new orchard in Bridport. We recently funded some shrubs for the Bradpole church Eco Group and are working in partnership with such groups as the Bridport and District Allotments Society and Bradpole Buzzers,”

Since its inception at the end of 2019, the group has planted or donated for planting about three thousand trees – including its continuing offer of three free native species such as Hazel, Hawthorn, Rowan and Birch for each household. The tree planting group is also beginning to work with groups such as the Great Big Dorset Hedge Project to look at and help to improve the health of hedges around town. 

For more information e mail: [email protected]

Mayoress Report

On Monday I visited the Carer Support Drop-In at Bridport library. This service is so valuable as they give advice and signpost to a wide range of services.

Do you know about how to Claim Attendance allowance, Blue Badges, Respite for Caregivers (Carer Association), Incontinence Assessments (via the Incontinence team through the Bridport Medical Centre).

There is a pamphlet by Carer Support, Dorset called‚” I wish I‘d known – knowing your rights as a carer “ for more information please e mail: [email protected]

Register as a Carer and get a Carer Friendly ID card. See the information below.

Friendly ID Card Poster

This week, I also visited the Bridport Connect Day Centre in St Andrews Rd, to see the fantastic inclusive care and activities that go on there, supporting the clients who have dementia, learning difficulties and palliative caring amongst others.

Bridport Day Connect Centre

The Centre is engaged with a Field to Fork emphasis and finds it very beneficial for its clients to interact and become involved with food provision as much as possible. Bread and muffins are baked daily for breakfast. When I arrived it soon became clear that everyone, with support, was involved with preparing their own lunches – salad, coleslaw and trifles. They are growing their own vegetables at the Cowshed allotment and have a new area that they are developing at the Centre to again‚ ”grow their own” for those clients who can’t access the Cowshed.

Cowshed Allotment

Clients access the Cowshed and the History Centre on a weekly basis and can be signed up for trips out. They are shortly visiting the ‘Nao Victoria‘ replica of an historic ship in Weymouth harbour which should be a great trip out.

Activities are streamlined to the specific needs of the clientele daily. There was a wonderful air of purposeful calm, socialising and positivity. They are also in the process of developing a new sensory room.

Thank you to Louise, staff and the very engaging clients that I met on my visit, I hope to return again soon.

For more information, please e-mail: [email protected]

Ukrainian Guest Needs Help

Finally this week it is distressing that we are still facing issues with places for our Ukrainian guests that have tried to settle in Dorset. We also have many problems trying to house many would-be residents and existing families, especially at a rent or purchase price that many local people can afford. That said I have had a last minute plea from a gentleman who has written to me as Mayor and in this instance a I feel that it is important to highlight the problems still being faced and that, according to Dorset Council, there are no more hosts available in Bridport.  The gentleman writes:

“Last year my partner and I hosted the first of the Ukrainian guests to arrive in Bridport under the “Homes For Ukraine” scheme.  She stayed with us until December when she moved to her second Bridport host.  Having arrived with no English, during her time in Bridport she has learned English, found her way around, is known to many people, and has three jobs; so she is definitely now a part of the community.  She is not the only one, there are many others living and working among us.
“It’s now necessary for our former guest to move house again, but Dorset Council say there are no more hosts in Bridport and she may have to go to Dorchester or beyond.  That would be a poor outcome, as she will be forced to more or less start from scratch.  Bad enough being a refugee from war, without having the worry of learning a new town with no local contacts.  Our friend will not be the only Ukrainian in this position, of course.
“Your blog could potentially help if you could explain the situation, and invite people who have a spare room or annex to come forward.  Dorset Council will help with all the arrangements and they pay a generous monthly allowance to cover additional expenses.”

If you could offer help please contact Bridport Town Council in the first instance.

Back To Top