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Mayor’s Blog 129

Mayor’s Blog 129

Contents this week: Symondsbury Fete, The RNLI Raft Race, Sou’ Sou’ West Gallery, Mayoress’ reports, Dorset Housing Consultation, Next week.

Symondsbury Fete

This week Bridget and I had the pleasure of being invited to Symondsbury Fete and I was asked to judge the “Vegetable Sculpture” competition. Definitely a first for me. The fete was extremely well attended and although the morning sunshine turned to cloud and eventually rain it seemed everyone was having a good time.

The entries in the competition definitely brought a smile to my face and I hope that next year there will be many more entries as it was a source of great interest to adults and children alike. Many thanks to Suzi for inviting me and arranging the competition.

Symondsbury Fete
Symondsbury Fete

See below for pictures of the winners of the Adults section ( a peacock without any peas) by Anita Whittle and the Childrens section, a “Veggie Train” by 5 year old Joseph Dare. I was particularly taken with the cauliflower sheep with pea eyes in the carriages of the Veggie Train.

Symondsbury Fete
Symondsbury Fete
Symondsbury Fete

There were many interesting stalls inside the Barn selling local produce, entertainment for children and a very busy BBQ and Bar. We enjoyed some really excellent songs from the Bridport Young Performers, especially those that I managed to get to hear performed by Lily and Iris, we are lucky to have so much talent in Bridport and the surrounding area.

Symondsbury Fete

One of my fellow judges of the Vegetable Sculpture competition was Phil Clayton who made me aware of his Gallery in Symondsbury and the opportunities it offered to aspiring Artists to get their work in front of the general public. Please take time to read the following article on Sou’ Sou’ West Galleries and what they can offer.

Sou Sou West Galleries

Situated in the unique setting of Symondsbury Estate that offers free parking, various shops and a café you will find an Art Gallery with a difference. Its aim is to support and promote artists, designer makers of all disciplines and abilities primarily from the South West Region in their creative practice through exhibitions and events .

They offer a frequently changing programme of exhibitions and displays which encompasses all aspects of the cultural community; which are professionally curated . Their two flexible spaces offer a constantly changing visitor experience which they hope will engage and inspire their own creative awareness and culture.

Contact [email protected] 

The RNLI Raft Race – West Bay

This years event attracted 18 entries, a great result and it just shows how the people of Bridport and surrounding areas are up for anything!

As expected the event drew a massive crowd and we were treated to a very close finish. The weather stayed dry but for some reason there were a large number of very wet people and not just the raft crews. It seems the Mayor was a very popular target for buckets and water bombs and I had to be pretty nimble and alert to avoid a head to toe soaking but still ended up rather damp! All of the entries certainly made the effort with their weird and wonderful rafts and the splendid costumes. I don’t have enough space to include all of the pictures but here are a few examples.

The RNLI Raft Race - West Bay
The RNLI Raft Race - West Bay
The RNLI Raft Race - West Bay

I did the rounds before the race started checking that they had all “float tested” their rafts prior to the event and was assured they had but unfortunately the entry from the Round Table “turned turtle” on being launched and proceeded to give it’s crew an early bath.

The RNLI Raft Race - West Bay

Fortunately they decided to carry on and used their raft upside-down for the duration of the race, they came in last (not surprising) but were awarded the prize for the “Most Entertaining”.

We eventually managed to get the rafts into some sort of line then I sounded the horn to set the race underway.

The RNLI Raft Race - West Bay

They headed up river and out of sight but it seemed an extremely short time before the from few rafts were back in sight.

The winners were ”Just Jammin” (Cherry Tree Preserves) in a thrilling finish with the “Game Buoys” (Furleigh Estates), the Game Buoys were in front at half way but faded with the winning line in sight and fortunately the “Strawberries” had enough juice to see them home in front. It was well deserved, certainly not Jammy!


The RNLI Raft Race – West Bay

The prize for the “Best Dressed” crew went to The Judges from Porter Dodson but it was a close run thing with so many to choose from!


The highest sponsorship award went to “Bridmetallica” from Bridmet who had raised over £700 and a massive thank you to all of those who took part and raised a total of well over £2000 for the RNLI, the exact figure won’t be known until next week.

The fun continued with an outside Bar at the George Inn, great food from the pub and also the various kiosks that stayed open and all seemed extremely busy. Music by Shelby’s Elbow as the sun went down capped off a truly exceptional evening and we went home fed and watered (especially watered) and happy to have been involved in such a wonderful way of raising money for the RNLI.

A special thanks to Annie Taylor who put the whole show together and all the volunteers who gave their time to make the event such a success. Definitely in my diary to attend next year.

Mayoress reports

I was pleased to attend the CAB AGM this week and following an introduction by the Chair of Trustees, David Gibson, the Chief Officer Rovarn Wickremansinghe gave an insightful update of the work of CAB and the range of support and advice they give.

CAB receives financial support from various sources including Dorset Council who provide 77% of income with a Service Agreement Contract and funds from the Trussell Trust and our local town and parish councils amongst others.

During the last year CAB has supported just under 2000 people in Dorset. Advice about benefits, debt, food banks and fuel poverty have all risen. There is a 52% rise in debt advice and fuel support advice has risen 120%.

Demographically, CAB supports a client base that include people with disabilities, multiple illnesses and mental health issues. 4% of clients are 85+ and 43% are 65+.

Caroline Gamble and Ali Cliffe from Harmony Burrough Trust led a presentation about the support offered by Harmony and future plans. Ali commented that “financial worries often go hand in hand with poor mental health due to stress and anxiety”.

CAB and Harmony will look to see how they can work together in the future and in particular how they can support the “hard to reach” and those who are socially isolated particularly in the rural areas. Outreach working is an area that they will be looking to explore in the future.

Just drop in to the CAB Office on South St:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10am – 3pm

Wednesday and Friday 10am – 1pm

Housing Consultation

I am including this week a very important consultation opportunity received from Dorset Council and as Housing is a very sensitive subject, especially in Bridport, then I would encourage everyone to respond and also spread the word- this is your chance to have a say without resorting to Bridport Banter (and others)!

Dorset residents are encouraged to home in on housing as our Housing Strategy Consultation launches.

A consultation about Dorset Council’s Housing Strategy has launched this week.   Residents who take part will have the opportunity to influence the council’s approach to housing over the next five years. 

The consultation is primarily a questionnaire, with some space for free text, it’s anticipated it will take just minutes to complete. The aim is for as many people as possible to contribute with their views about what is important to them.    

Key issues such as housing need, supply, and standards are some of the issues highlighted. The over-arching aim of the consultation however is simple, to hear what residents have to say.Lead member for Housing Councillor Graham Carr-Jones said; 

“The housing strategy is for and about the residents of Dorset. Dorset Council does not want to produce a strategy without collaborating with the people it is about and the people it is for.  

Our residents’ feedback is as important as ever and when we’ve consulted in the past we have been encouraged by the response.  

The consultation is for everyone, individuals, families, organisations, people of all ages and backgrounds.”

To have your say then please visit our website to take part in our consultation.  There are also short videos about residents’ experiences.  The consultation is open for 10 weeks. 

Next Week

Next week I am looking forward to the RNLI fundraising at Seatown, an interview for The Bridge magazine, an invitation to the Summer opening of the Hazelmead Cohousing development in Bridport and The Discovery Centre 5th Birthday in West Bay.


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