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Mayor’s Blog 136

Mayor’s Blog 136

This week: Bridport & District Gardening Club, Christchurch Civic Day, Bridport’s longest

Bridport & District Gardening Club Harvest Competition

I was honoured to receive an invitation to present the prizes at the annual Gardening Club
Harvest competition held on Saturday in the United Reform Church Hall on East Street.
Talking to the President, Tim Gale, I was surprised to learn that there has been a Gardening
Club in Bridport since at least the 1850s. They currently have over 600 members in Bridport
and the surrounding district. Bridget and I were so impressed with what the Club has to
offer that we promptly joined, the annual cost is only £10 per household and for that you

Ten monthly meetings at the WI Hall in North Street, Bridport, and an outing once a month
during the spring and summer. They also aim to have a members’ holiday every other year
and hold a popular Christmas lunch in December.

They are affiliated to the RHS; the Gardens Group’s Gold Club; Dorset and Somerset
Federations of Horticultural Societies;  the Daffodil Society; and their sponsors are Clive and
Diana Groves.

The show and competition proved to be very popular and I took the time to look at all of
the entries and I must say I was very impressed with the quality, I am sure the judging must
have been difficult, fortunately I only had to present the prizes!

Bridport & District Gardening Club Harvest Competition
Bridport & District Gardening Club Harvest Competition

There were seventeen trophies to present as well as individual category winners so there
are quite a few photographs taken, please see below for the group photograph of all the

Bridport & District Gardening Club Harvest Competition
Bridport & District Gardening Club Harvest Competition

A splendid effort, well done to all who took part and a big thank you to Anne Bark and all
the other volunteers who made the event such a success.
For more information please visit

Christchurch Civic Day

On Wednesday we joined other Mayors and Councillors attending the Civic Day kindly
hosted by the Mayor of Christchurch Cllr Viv Charrett. This was our first ever visit to
Christchurch so we were looking forward to the day and the opportunity to learn more
about yet another historic seaside town on the South Coast.

After the initial welcome including tea and pastries in the Pavilion by the Bowling Green we
went on a guided history tour of Christchurch presented by local Historians Janet Burn and
Julie Ratcliffe who were both a font of knowledge and full of stories and insights about the
history of the town.

Christchurch Civic Day
Christchurch Civic Day
Christchurch Civic Day
Christchurch Civic Day

This was followed by an escorted tour of Christchurch Priory, the story of the Priory goes
back to at least the middle of the 11th Century. Doomsday says there was a priory of 24
secular Canons in the town in the reign of Edward the Confessor. It seems that Christians
have worshipped on the site for more than 1,400 years but it was over 900 years ago in
1094 that Ranulf Flambard, a friend of William Rufus, and later the Bishop of Durham,
began to build the great church. By 1150 the church was substantially complete but has had
additions over the years.

There is a wonderful story about how the old Royal Burgh of Toinham/Twynham had its
name changed to Christ’s Church, evolving to Christchurch as it is today.

In Anglo Saxon times the original name meant a town or hamlet between two rivers but
changed partly due to the following story. During some construction work on the roof of
the Nave a “miracle” seemed to have taken place that involved a wooden beam and a
mysterious carpenter and it was assumed at the time the carpenter was Jesus.
Subsequently in a charter of 1160 the town changed its name to Christ’s Church and slightly
shortened to the name it has today. I won’t spoil the story, you can check it out here:

Christchurch Civic Day
Christchurch Civic Day
Christchurch Civic Day
Christchurch Civic Day

A very enjoyable visit, we really didn’t have enough time to explore so we are definitely
going to return and see more of this delightful town.

Bridport’s Longest Scarf!

The Bridport Community Kitchen is one of my Charities for this year and desperately need
donations and fundraising ideas to support the wonderful work they are doing by helping
those in the area.

I would like to give advanced warning of a fundraising idea they have had which certainly
captured mine and Bridget’s imagination.

The Kitchen has a group of ladies who love to knit but some of them are content to just knit
squares. These are then being sewn together to make scarves and these again could be
sewn together to make blankets etc. An idea has been born – the squares could initially be
sewn together to make Bridport’s longest scarf!

On Thursday, Bridget and I went to the Kitchen to firm up a bit more on the proposal and,
with a measuring wheel, I had fun measuring the distance from the Community Kitchen to
the steps of the Town Hall, the first suggested distance for the scarf.

It was 380m so a healthy distance indeed. As this could possibly be seen as another
Bridport Community event we are exploring the fundraising opportunity this presents by
asking for sponsors/purchasers/donations for £1 a square until we reach the number
required to cover the distance. We plan to re-use the scarves after the event.

If anyone wants to join in the knitting, at home for example, then the pattern is:
Size 4 needles, DK wool, cast on 33 stitches, plain knit 46 rows.

You are also welcome to join in at the Community Kitchen on a Thursday from 11 am
onwards if you prefer.

We are exploring ideas to make this attractive by rewarding the sponsors/square
purchasers in some way, maybe a certificate to mark the achievement? Any ideas welcome,
you can send them to [email protected]

Bridport’s longest scarf!
Bridport’s longest scarf!
Bridport’s longest scarf!

The finer details are yet to be confirmed be it is hoped the distance can be reached before
my Mayoral term finishes in May 2024.

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