Light Up a Life, Christmas Wreath Making, The Christmas Tree Festival, Bridport Christmas Cheer, Bridport Floods, Bridport Tree Planting Group Newsletter
Light Up a Life
Last Friday Bridget and I were invited by Weldmar to Groves Nurseries to open the ‘Light Up a Life’ Festival.
It was a very poignant occasion as we all stood outside on a cold evening to light the Christmas tree and remember loved ones who were no longer with us. The evening was perfect. Mulled wine, music and singing from Wyld Morris and a choir followed by a short service conducted by the Rev. Philip Ringer. Our local MP Chris Loder and a switch on of the lights by myself completed the evening.
Before I switched on the Christmas tree lights I asked everyone to take the opportunity to pause for a moment in reflection and remembrance for each light on the tree represented someone who is no longer with us and is being remembered by a relative or friend who has dedicated a light in their name.
Weldmar are the largest independent charity in Dorset and provide, not only specialist care for adults with a life-limiting illness, but also support for the loved ones of their patients.
Weldmar aim to keep patients as independent as possible for as long as possible, with the highest quality of life they can offer.
To strengthen this in 2021 they launched a major new service – Weldmar at home- to support the increasing number of patients who decide to end their last days in the comfort of their own home.
They provide all of this support for free, and although they are an independent Charity partially funded by the NHS, they still have to raise £26,000 a day through the support of the local community.
This is mainly done through Supporter Fundraising, their chain of Charity shops and staging many enjoyable events such as Music by the Lake and their Summer Fete.
Thanks to each and every one of you that helped to stage this very moving event and especially those who attended and give such valuable support all year round to enable them to continue to offer their much needed and sensitive care at such an emotional time.
Christmas Wreath Making (for Weldmar)
Pauline Bale raises money every year for Weldmar Hospice by offering wreath making workshops and taking orders for wreaths. All proceeds go to the charity.
Pauline kindly offered a fresh wreath as one of our raffle prizes for the Mayor’s Quiz.
Bridget went along to the workshop which was held in a beautiful barn in Chideock. It was wonderful fun, full of greenery, chatter, carols, warmth and lots of Christmas cheer.
The following day, Pauline and her helpers made 80 wreaths that were ordered. Look out for the advertised workshops next year!! Every wreath comes with a hug! All the money raised goes directly to Weldmar hospice.
So far at this event, Pauline has raised over £2,800. A fantastic achievement.
The Christmas Tree Festival
The Christmas Tree festival is held every year in December at the United Reform Church on East Street and is an opportunity for organisations to decorate a Christmas tree and for members of the public to come and enjoy the sight as well as donate to the various charities that have taken part.
Last year I attended as Deputy Mayor and it was a pleasure to switch on the lights this year as Mayor of Bridport and give a reading.
The Church was full of trees from various organisations and charities, all beautifully decorated in so many different themes, it really is worth taking the time to visit and donate. I was pleased to see a well decorated Bridport Town Council tree right by the door, well done again to the Team at BTC.
Our Bridport Christmas Cheer went ahead despite the horrendous weather forecast and fortunately, although the rain eventually arrived, it was after the lighting of the tree and the Lantern Parade. It could have been so much worse!
The streets were again crowded especially around Bucky Doo Square where we were treated to some lovely singing throughout the afternoon by the Choirs from our local Primary Schools.
We took a stroll through the streets to see all of the stalls and decorated shop windows and it was such a joy to see so many people out doing the same and enjoying themselves.
At 6pm our wonderful Town Crier gave yet another theatrical and very loud performance and after a few words from myself and the push of a plunger the Tree lights magically illuminated thanks to the Town Council Elf secreted away at the base of the tree.
The rest of our evening was spent sampling mulled wine, street food, craft stalls and the hospitality of the many shops that had stayed open to welcome visitors. At 6.45 pm the Lantern Parade commenced from Barrack Street to Bucky Doo Square. A visual delight and great fun.
Great music from the Skalatans ,as always, helped to continue the festive spirits after the parade had finished and it certainly started a joyful mood in the run up to Christmas.
Another Bridport spectacular and we owe so much to all of those involved in putting this together and yet again the BTC staff were involved from start to finish; setting it all up, making sure it all ran smoothly and finally taking everything down again (in the rain).
Dedication and Teamwork, well done!
Bridport Area Floods
We have certainly seen some heavy rain this week and the effects it can have on our daily lives. Bridport Town Council has again done it’s best to help our residents who are most vulnerable from flooding, whether it be a physical risk or damage to property.
Bridport Town Council and the local community worked hard in response to the flooding we saw on Monday, and in preparation for further heavy rainfall expected overnight on Thursday. Our reception and tourist information teams have fielded hundreds of telephone, email and face-to-face enquiries, and in response the council has provided over 1,000 sandbags to local residents needing to protect their properties, delivering them to people who are vulnerable or unable to collect them. Our grounds team and a wonderful group of volunteer flood wardens have been around the town helping to clear the damage caused, and to further protect homes and other properties. It’s been a whole team effort and we should all be deeply grateful to all involved; the situation would have been far more serious without their hard work this week.
As with other emergencies, we haven’t been constrained by administrative boundaries and have helped people across the greater Bridport area. We’ve also heard some touching stories of help within the community, with residents helping vulnerable neighbours. A big thank you if you are one of them.
With more rain on the way, we are busy trying to source further sandbags as our supply is exhausted, and we would encourage residents to continue doing all they can to protect their homes.
Looking to the future, we know that climate change will cause more of this kind of flooding and as a council we continue to urge Wessex Water, the Environment Agency, and Dorset Council to take action to ensure flood defences and drains get the investment and maintenance needed to protect Bridport and West Bay. More locally, we would encourage anyone interested in becoming a flood warden to let us know. If you live locally and are physically fit we’d love to hear from you – contact 01308 456722 or email [email protected]. The wardens operate using WhatsApp to see who is available to help residents with sandbags, debris clearing and awareness raising. The role is developing and training is available.
We are also keen to hear from people who have taken steps to protect their own homes without our help, so that we can map the most vulnerable properties for the future and work with Dorset Council to put measures in place where possible.
We can only hope that things do not get worse but all the indications are that we will see more extreme weather events in future so we must take action now to prepare for what is to come and it won’t be just be rain and floods if the scientists are correct!
Bridport Tree Planting Group Newsletter
I am a great supporter of the Tree Planting group and the important work they are doing, so it is a pleasure to include their December Newsletter in this week’s blog.
Here is the latest news from the Bridport Tree Planting Group with items about a new planting in Asker Meadows, the progress of West Dorset Wilding, coppicing and hedge-planting days, what children at five local schools have been learning and there is news about free fruit trees on the last page: