My consort, Una Mitchell and I have been busy during October representing Woodbridge at a number of events. We started the month attending an induction service for a new co-minister at the Baptist Quay Church. It was an interesting and energetic service and well supported – a thriving church. I went to the Rural Summit for Suffolk, which was addressing issues of rural poverty and hardship and how we could make a difference and help the community. One idea I heard about involved holding an event at which all local voluntary organisations are invited to exhibit, explain what they do and encourage visitors to join and participate. I am concerned that many organisations I meet have uncertain futures as they have problems recruiting people to take on committee responsibilities.
We were invited to the Bungay Civic Service. Bungay is a charming and pretty small town with many tearooms compared with Woodbridge’s café culture! On Sunday 16 October we attended the St Johns Ambulance service and Annual Awards Ceremony in Ipswich. There were long term service awards handed out, one was for over 50 years of service! Later in the month we had the pleasure of visiting the new Coop premises and I officially cut the ribbon to open the shop. Well done to the Coop for refreshing the premises and shopping experience as well increasing job opportunities in the town. We were invited to join the Rotary Club at Seckford Hall to celebrate their 70th anniversary. We enjoyed an excellent meal and company and listened to an interesting talk on the history of the EADT from its current editor. We visited the Woodbridge Art Club to preview their next exhibition and I encourage you all to call in if passing their premises by the Tide Mill. On Saturday, 29 October I took the salute of the Royal British Legion parade and opened the launch of the Poppy appeal for this year. The Woodbridge Branch has collected over £20,000 in donations during the past year. Well done to them and the help they can now give to our ex-service people.
In the Woodbridge Council chamber we have also been busy with all the committees regularly meeting. Last month I talked about a boat moored at the WTC quay which then disappeared. Apparently it was moved by one of the local boatyards. So its disposal has still to be sorted out. My joint proposal with Choose Woodbridge for a ‘Celebrate Woodbridge – Summer 2017’ marketing campaign to encourage our residents to attend the many events taking place in Woodbridge during the summer, was met with some scepticism by my fellow councillors. I have now to report back on progress at our December meeting to get the formal go-ahead. WTC and Choose Woodbridge will be contacting all commercial and voluntary groups in November to assess their interest and support for the idea. The Highway Committee is putting forward a proposal to Suffolk County Council to introduce a 20mph speed limit for Woodbridge. Should this be adopted then it is hoped it will improve safety and reduce the still large volume of through traffic. Our Police Community Support Officer that we were partly paying for has resigned with no immediate replacement. In the Amenities Committee we proposed to put down some drainage near the pavilion to remedy the excessively muddy conditions. The Whisstocks development is now taking shape. So lots of things going on to improve Woodbridge life.”
Mayor, Woodbridge Town Council.