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Mayor’s Blog 153

Mayor’s Blog 153

27th June, St James Park Care Home, Bradpole

This was a beautiful sunny afternoon and we had the pleasure of visiting St James Park Care Home in Bradpole, a charming place, where we were welcomed by their Home Manager, Mihaela Barbulescu, who took around the home and beautiful gardens, which some of the residents are able to tend, as and when they want to.

St James Park Care Home


Here’s a display of residents’ art and craft – a bit too bright to do it justice here – blame the sunshine!

We then joined a musical session where the residents were enjoying a performance of songs from their  era (and ours!) performed and encouraged to join in by a lovely (Austrian) lady singer with her recorded backing – yes the Sound of Music was featured – who provides regular entertainment for them.  We were all invited to join in – and as some of our readers will already know, this is too much for us to resist, so of course we did!  I think our enthusiastic rendering of “Woof-Woof” at the appropriate times during “How much is that doggy in the window?” went down pretty well!

During a short interval I introduced myself and explained how happy I was to be invited, and asked whether they felt well looked-after and whether they got enough cake – I know how important that would be!  Lots of nods and smiles – I could see they were comfortable and happy.

Afternoon tea was served right on cue, which included some very beautiful cakes, and then the musical session continued, including some songs which we just had to jive to, when she put some rock and roll on!

St James Park Care Home


Blue Suede Shoes!

St James Park Care Home


One of the gentlemen specifically asked if he could have his photo taken with us.  How lovely!  Here we all are, with the Manager, Mihaela Barbulescu.

We left after the music finished as of course we were a bit puffed, and needed to prepare ourselves for the next ‘gig’ – our Mayor-making evening….see next blog.

(Also 27th June – evening), Mayor-making ceremony

 I hope our guests and co-councillors enjoyed this as much as I did.

I don’t want to make this Blog too long – I think there’s a video which might be made public for anyone with the time or interest to view it.   It is the official inauguration of the coming year’s Mayor, the Deputy Mayor and the Leader, where some of us get the chance to dress up somewhat.  Bridport doesn’t indulge in this kind of ‘show’ too often, but it does feel ‘right and proper so to do’ for occasions such as this, and what a privilege it is to be part of it!

I think the way Bridport does this has all the character of Bridport running through it – the important stuff is being taken seriously and properly and at the same time allowing some lightheartedness into the proceedings.  If anyone thinks it’s ‘boring, council stuff’ – I would say it is anything but.   I have stated many times that Bridport doesn’t do ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ as such – we do the Circumstance, but avoid any serious ‘Pomp’!

Huge thanks to everyone – all those who pulled this together in whichever way they had a role, and made the whole process run so smoothly for councillors and guests.  We are very grateful to you all.   As I said in my speech – you know who you are!

Big thanks also to all the guests who gave up their evening to join us and I especially (and unashamedly) want to thank my daughter and two sons, Wendy, Jonathan and Chris, who gave time and effort to being there with me.  They all have very busy lives and two of them had quite significant journeys to make too, so it was totally appreciated.

Mayor Making


The caterers were brilliant too – many many thanks to Maria’s Pantry for providing us with such lush refreshments.   I have had many glowing comments from guests.

I hope to add a few more pics when they become available.

29th June Bridport Gig Club Regatta

It was West Bay’s turn to host the Regatta, and I was invited to present the trophies to the winners.  When we arrived, mid afternoon, the weather was perfect and West Bay was at its best.  The area was buzzing with gigs and their crews, going in or coming out of the water, and the care and attention to detail was obvious.  It was heaving with people enjoying the event in whichever way they chose – on the beaches, in the sea, on the promenade – a great sea-side day.

We were impressed with the overall organisation – several people had commented as to how well it had been put together, which was great to hear.  They were particularly impressed to see that health and safety, being of prime importance, was well covered.  When all the boats and crews were safely back on dry land I was invited to present the winners of each class with their trophy.  Well done team Bridport – they did very well!

Here are some pics of the scoreboards – not easy to work out for an amateur!



Bridport Gig Club Regatta

2nd July – West Bay Discovery Centre

 It is always a pleasure to visit the Discovery Centre and this was just that.  A really interesting display covering the history of West Bay and a plan that was never put in place – our resort would have looked very different had it been built.

There is always masses to explore and see – this time amongst other things there were some board games from the 1950s(ish) era – I remembered a few myself!

There are many events to enjoy at the WBCD over the summer – especially for children – do take them along to explore.

Sarah and John had a special surprise for us – a presentation of a portrait of

Elias Cox – a very important person, which I will ask to be displayed in a suitable place within our Town Council buildings.  He was Mayor from 1866/7 but doesn’t appear amongst our collection of Mayors’ portraits, so it will be very good to add him.  I have included the piece of information on him, written by Sarah West.

Elias Cox

Ship Building

Elias Cox was born at Bridport Harbour in 1824 his father John Cox, was born in around 1787,  he lived at Bridport Harbour and started shipbuilding here in 1816, under the firm of Matthews and Company. Following the disastrous gale in November 1824 which damaged the shipyard, John moved his family to Plymouth, including his 3-month-old son, Elias.  Two years later he returned and then took charge of the shipyard in 1830, eventually going into partnership with his son, in 1850 before handing the business over to Elias Cox in 1855.


The Cox family were strong Wesleyans; John Cox’s wife Susannah laid the foundation stone in 1849 for the West Bay Methodist Chapel and the work was undertaken by Messrs Cox and Son Shipbuilders.

Under John Cox’s direction, the congregation laid the chapel floor joists direct on the sand of the beach next to the harbour. They used materials to hand to build the church – timbers salvaged from boats and Forest Marble stone quarried locally at Bothenhampton and carted to West Bay, where it was hammer dressed into rough blocks.

Elias Cox was a trustee of the Bridport Wesleyan Chapel, and it was principally through his support and influence and the Chapel at West Bay was built and maintained. His wife Mary Anne ran the Sunday School here.

Town Council

Elias Cox stood for Bridport Council in 1856 and served for 40 years, he was mayor in 1866-1867, served as senior justice of the peace and in 1871 he was made an Alderman of the corporation. During his time as mayor, he exerted himself in advancing the welfare of the borough in many ways. He was also a member of the Harbour Commissioners. He always took a keen interest in Bridport Harbour and its development following the closure of the shipyard. He was sufficiently forward thinking to support changes considering the best for future of community. His support for buildings for permanent and holiday homes was crucial in gaining public support from the harbour community and councillors of which he was a Father figure.

There are many reports of council meetings in the Bridport News where he was well liked and respected. Sadly, in the last couple of years of his life he suffered from ill health and couldn’t attend so many meetings, he retired from his role as Senior Alderman in 1895.

Sarah West


West Bay Discovery Centre


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