A new year message from the mayor of Whitchurch, Councillor Tony Neville…

“After six months as Mayor I truly feel as though Whitchurch Town Council is moving forward in a good way and we are taking the town with us. Shops are filling up; old buildings being renovated, and people are walking around feeling more optimistic than they have for a long time – and that is what residents are telling me.

The year started with the traditional North Shropshire Driving Club making their annual visit to the High Street on New Year’s Day. Toward the end of April, the town council organised a performance by ABBA Revival, which was well attended.

In May, Whitchurch Town Council organised the annual two-day Food & Drink Festival, which was opened by the late Keith Chegwin. It was, again, a fantastic and successful event, but it turned out to be one of Keith’s last public engagements, a lovely man who will be greatly missed.

May was also the month when I was honoured to be voted in as mayor of Whitchurch, a post I am privileged and proud to hold.

June started with Whitchurch Town Council hosting the Worldwide Whitchurch Weekend. A very successful weekend with representatives from towns called Whitchurch from around the country enjoying the pleasures of our Whitchurch, Shropshire.

Many thanks go to all the volunteers who helped us make this a spectacular weekend for our visitors. This event coincided with our famous Party in the Park, which is a real ‘party’ event where the whole town comes together to have fun.

Our visitors certainly hadn’t seen anything like it before and were completely blown away by the whole event.

During July we were visited by the High Sheriff of Shropshire who had made a special request to be shown around the town. He was, to say the least, amazed by the town and thought the independent shops were fantastic, he absolutely loved our town. He also fell in love with St Alkmund’s Church and said he would be making a further visit to spend a more leisurely stroll around the building.

September saw the boats arriving at Chemistry for the annual Boat Festival, where the barges are decorated in amazing flags and bunting. This is a really beautiful event, especially if the weather is kind and makes for a lovely sightseeing visit.

November brought the Remembrance weekend. Proceedings began at the Cenotaph with a piper from the 1 R IRISH and a band from Shrewsbury supplying the music for the parade. With RAF and Army Cadets, Scouts, Guides, Cubs and Rainbows, North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson, British Legion Officials and veterans, along with town councillors and staff, the parade was a marvellous sight, stretching the length of the High Street and I do not think I have ever been more proud of Whitchurch.

The last Saturday in November was the Christmas lights switch-on event and what an afternoon this has become. Again, the whole town comes together and has a ball, sincere thanks must go to everyone involved in the presentation of the switch-on. This coincided with the selection of Whitchurch Citizen of the Year – this year the worthy lady is Rose Snell and congratulations once again.

I think at least 95 per cent of the people in Whitchurch know Rose. She is the time-honoured standard bearer for Whitchurch Branch of the Royal British Legion and this year did the town proud by attending the Remembrance Service in the Albert Hall on the Saturday night and hot-footing it back to Whitchurch for our own Remembrance service on Sunday morning – I only wish I had her stamina!

We have been working on acts for 2018; look out for The Mersey Beatles on 8th November 2018, who are playing all the original venues from The Beatles tour and our Civic Centre is on the list.

We still need your support for these events, so please visit the town council stall at The Makers Market (first Saturday of every month) and tell us what you would like to see take place, it would be good to know what events you would pay to see in Whitchurch Civic Centre. It’s your town and with your support we can make it greater.

I would like to close by thanking everyone at Whitchurch Town Council for all their support – Nicola the town clerk, Zoe, the assistant town clerk and town centre manager, Alison who keeps all our accounts in such good order, the ladies in the Hub, Morris and his facilities team and lastly, but by no means least, the town councillors who give so much of their time so freely.

The council could not work without everyone working together, we are now a great team so thank you all. Finally, may I wish everyone a very happy and peaceful 2018, I look forward to working with you all.”