This is the final instalment of the Mayor’s Blog and what a year it has been!
I was proud and very honoured to attend the Coronation of King Charles III in Westminster Abbey on the 6th May, along with the other 13 Coronation Barons from the Cinque Ports. This year Hythe provides the Speaker of the Cinque Ports and the Speaker has attended almost every coronation since Richard I in 1189! It was a great privilege for me to be able to represent the people of Hythe and the Cinque Ports at the Coronation.
I have had the honour and privilege to serve as the Mayor of Hythe since May 2022.
I was very pleased to chair the meeting of the Wakefield Trust on the 15th of March and support the wonderful work the Trust does in Hythe!
Mayor of Faversham – Charity Ball
My wife and I attended the Mayor of Faversham’s Charity Ball, on St. Patrick’s Day, the 17th of March. The Mayor of Faversham has been extremely supportive of all the Civic Events held in Hythe during my Mayoral Year, so I was delighted to reciprocate.
Beating the Bounds
As Mayor of Hythe, on Monday the 20th of March 2023, I formally carried out the historic and ancient tradition of Beating the Bounds! This is a tradition where the Mayor of Hythe walks around the town boundaries, visiting the boundary stones along the way.
The weather was misty, with a bit of drizzle with a sometimes, strong breeze but great fun, quite muddy and slippery in places. I’m happy to report Hythe’s boundaries are intact!
I’m grateful to John Schoner, who was the last Mayor to Beat the Bounds in 2000, that he was able to come along to see me off.
I am also very grateful to Mick and the team at Hythe Ranges, who not only allowed me to cross the Range, but Mick escorted me and made sure I reached the gate at the Redoubt safely.
The majority of the Boundary Stones were positioned by Mayor Taylor in 1934, with 2 additional stones being positioned by John Schoner in 2000.
It took me 5 hours and 37 minutes to complete the 15-mile route. Lots of windy seafronts, muddy fields, steep hills, quiet lanes, and gently rolling hills, what a wonderful place Hythe is!
St John’s and St Barts Hospital Trust
I was very pleased to attend a meeting of the St John’s and St Barts Hospital Trust on the 21st March and support the great work the Trust does in the Community.
Cinque Ports Standing Joint Committee meeting.
As Speaker of the Cinque Ports, I was delighted to invite the Mayors and representatives of the other 13 Cinque Ports to Hythe for the Cinque Ports Standing Joint Committee meeting on the 21 January. Before the meeting, the Mayors met at the Shepway Cross at the top of Lympne Hill, which is the ancient meeting place of the Cinque Ports. The Courts of Brotherhood and Guestling used to meet under the Shepway Cross.
We convened our modern-day Cinque Ports meeting in the Hythe Sports Pavilion! There was a busy agenda, and a great deal of business was discussed and agreed.
I was pleased to attend a showing of a brilliant film showing the beauty of Ukraine in more peaceful times. The event was organised by our resident Ukrainian guests in Hythe and all money raised will assist civilian evacuation services in Ukraine.
Burn’s Night Rotary Dinner
As the Mayor of Hythe, I had a terrific night at the Burn’s Night Rotary Dinner on 28 January, with music, poetry, dancing, good food and great company.
Youth Speaks – debating competition.
I was delighted to be invited by the Rotary Club to attend the Youth Speaks debating competition at Brockhill School on the 8 February. Many local schools take part and the quality, and the range of the topics debated were breath-taking!
Mayors Civic Awards - 20 January 2023
For their contributions on a regular basis towards the fabric of Hythe, Shirley Moberly, for contributing in any way she can, John Sinclaire-Thomas, our daily cartoonist , Chris McNeilly, Hythe’s Town Crier, Bugler and Piper and Stewart Weller, photographer, sound engineer and rigger were all awarded a Mayor’s Civic Hero Award each.
Christmas 2022 into January 2023
St Leonard’s Carol Concert
It was a fantastic evening of Carols at St Leonard’s on Saturday the 17 December. The music was excellent, the choir were brilliant, and the people of Hythe gave many stirring renditions of their favourite traditional carols. And…. the mince pies were excellent too! A very well done to Michael the priest in charge and the great team of people who make St Leonard’s a great centre of the community.
Santa’s Grotto – Town Hall Undercroft
As the Mayor of Hythe, the Speaker of the Cinque Ports and for one day this year, a Coronation Baron, it gave me the greatest pleasure to offer some small help to Santa in his Grotto in the Undercroft at the Town Hall. Well done to Collen and his team from Hythe Rotary for organising the Grotto and asking Santa to attend – a great time was had by all, including Santa!
Hythe Rotary Christmas Dinner
I was delighted to attend the Rotary Christmas dinner along with my wife the Mayor’s Consort. We received a warm welcome, excellent food, and great conversation.
Blessings of the Seas in Margate
I was very pleased to join many Mayors from the other Cinque Ports in the annual Blessings of the Seas in Margate. The service, led by the Greek Orthodox Community, this is a big local event and celebrated in early January on the Epiphany. A procession through the streets of Margate, a service on the beach, the blessing, during which a crucifix is cast into the sea, to be retrieved by a young child, followed by lunch was one of the most interesting events on the Cinque Ports Civic Calendar.
Seasons Greetings from the Mayor of Hythe
November and December 2022
Mayor’s Hythe Civic Hero Award for their dedication and service to the town of Hythe.
Five members of the Hythe Environmental and Community Group, Chris Turnbull, Sue Turnbull, George Kirby and Heather Poore were awarded a Mayor’s Civic Hero Award each on behalf of the group, for organising monthly litter picks, gathering unwanted fruit and vegetables from local farms and distributing to local food banks, for planting trees and creating gardens.
Lord Warden’s Funeral
It was a sad day when I attended the funeral of Lord Mike Boyce, the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports on a cold and dreary 21st of November. I was accompanied by Councillor Malcolm Dearden who knew Lord Boyce from his time as Speaker. I attended the funeral in Walmer, in my capacity as the Mayor of Hythe and as the current Speaker of the Cinque Ports and there was a reception in Walmer Castle following the funeral. The immediate family attended a private interment in the afternoon and there will be an official memorial for Lord Boyce next year in Central London to celebrate his fantastic achievements in a lifetime of service to the Crown. He will be sadly missed by us all.
Men’s Health – Prostate Cancer
I attended a fundraising dinner for Prostate Cancer research organised by our neighbour Paul Thomas the Mayor of New Romney on the evening of the 21st of November.
Switching on the Christmas Lights in Tenterden High Street
I was delighted to attend the switching on of the Christmas Lights in Tenterden High St. Many Cinque Port Mayors attended and we enjoyed a Carol service followed by the switch on in the High St, by the Mayor of Tenterden.
St Leonard’s Concert
There was a fantastic crowd in St Leonard’s to attend a performance by the band of the Princess of Wales Regiment, who were joined by the Shornecliff military wives Choir. The acoustics in St Leonards are wonderful for this type of performance and the audience was treated to the music of the highest quality. There was a leaving collection which raised almost £2,000 for the local Salvation Army appeal, to support their essential work at Christmas. A big thank you and well done to Dennis Bradly for organising this marvellous event.
Salvation Army Concert – Tower Theatre
I was delighted to attend the Christmas Carol Concert on Sunday the 28th of November, staged by our local Salvation Army, in support of their local Christmas appeal. Fantastic playing, fantastic singing and fantastic jokes (!!!) from the compare Richard. A wonderful night, the proceeds from which will feed local vulnerable people at Christmas.
Cricket Club – The Future
I was pleased to be invited by Hythe Cricket Club to discuss their plan for the future and their efforts to support Cricket in Hythe into the future. Some really exciting plans were discussed, with additional sports being introduced to use the facilities to their optimum and to support the main sports of Cricket and Squash.
District Council Meeting
I attended the meeting of Folkestone and Hythe District Council, in my capacity as one of the Ward Councillors for Hythe. I am a regular attender but I only mention this meeting because the formal announcement “pausing” the work at Prince’s Parade was made by Council Leader David Monk. The officers will prepare an options report for the Cabinet to consider on the best way forward. The scheme is currently losing £5M.
Christmas in the High Street
It was with the greatest of joy that I was asked to turn on the Christmas Tree lights in Hythe High Street on Friday the 2nd of December. I was joined by the Funky Finger Children’s Choir who were brilliant! The children closed their eyes and wished very hard and….Santa appeared giving out early Christmas gifts to all! A very big thank you to Hythe Rotary for organising this brilliant event.
Brockhill School kindly invited myself and my wife, the Mayor’s Consort to attend their end-of-year dance performance, which was breathtaking. The hard work required by the children and teachers to present such a high-quality performance cannot be overstated. Brockhill School is a centre of excellence in Hythe and we should celebrate it more often!
Hythe Green Litter Pick
The 3rd of December was a cold but bright day and I was pleased to join the monthly litter pick organised by the Hythe Environmental Community Group. This month’s litter pick was on The Green and the surrounding streets. Hythe Environmental Community Group organises many events: litter picks, waste collection, and environmental repairs, but it is their work organising Gleaning that, I think needs to be highlighted. Gleaning is where volunteers pick fruit and vegetables from farmers’ fields that the farmers are unable to pick economically. Hythe Environmental Community Group then give all the food to local food banks! Fantastic work!
Dementia Forum Christmas Party
The brilliant people at Friends of Dementia kindly invited me to attend their Christmas Party in the Hythe Sports and Social Club. It was a lively event with music, singing some dancing and a lot of food! I was pleased to present a donation of £300 to the Friends of Dementia and award three Hythe Civic Hero Awards to Ann Mayne, Dudley Shipton and Susan Foster, for all their hard work and commitment.
In Step Dance Company
On the 7th of December, my wife, the Mayor’s consort and I attended an outstanding performance by the In Step Dance Company at Brockhill School. It was brilliant, breathtaking, magnificent and awesome. Young people are a discriminated against minority group in our society, people are too quick to blame young people, condemn young people and talk them down. The performance the children from In Step gave us confronts all of those negative stereotypes. These young people are talented, committed, dedicated and above all very hard-working! The performance also gave me an opportunity to give a donation to In Step from the Mayor’s Project Fund and award Jackie Mortimer, the Company Performance Director with a Hythe Civic Hero Award!
I attended the funeral of Eileen Bailey on the 8th of December. Myself and past Mayors, stood as a mark of respect as the funeral cortege passed the Town Hall in Hythe High Street. Mrs Bailey was a past Mayor of Hythe and a past Speaker of the Cinque Ports. A great servant of Hythe who will be missed by her family.
Hythe Photographic Society
The Hythe Photographic Society has had a busy and active year. I was delighted to attend their review of the year with 1,500 photos considered. The range and quality of the photographs were truly amazing and the final shortlist of 90 sensational photos was the best of the best. The final selection named Carol Drew as the winner and Stewart Weller as runner-up, but it was so very close! A great evening with lots of photos, food and good conversation.
The Commanding Officer at Shornecliff Barracks was kind enough to invite me along with the Mayor of Folkestone to enjoy lunch in the officer’s mess on the 9th of December. The regiment has this year returned to Shornecliff after 5 years away and the regiment is very keen to reinforce its links to local communities. Hythe’s support for our armed service personnel has always been high and I was happy to reinstate that commitment.
Our good friends at Cornerways Care Home invited me to switch on their Christmas Tree lights and share a cup of tea and cake. I was delighted to find that they knew a great deal about the office of the Mayor of Hythe and also the Speaker of the Cinque Ports. I received a very warm welcome from the residents and staff (and the tea and cakes were excellent!).
The Mayor of Lydd, very kindly invited me in my capacity as the Speaker of the Cinque Ports and Mayor of Hythe to attend a performance by the band of the Gurkha Regiment. The event was packed and the music was brilliant.
Electrical Recycling Facility – Open Door Hythe High St
I was pleased to open the electrical recycling facility at Open Door 101 Hythe High St on Saturday the 10th of December. The recycling collection point takes anything with a battery or an electrical plug (not washing machines or fridges). Organised by Hythe Environmental Community Group it will allow us all to recycle electrical equipment easily. Well done everyone involved!
Hythe Cycling Club
I was especially delighted to attend the Christmas Awards presented by the Hythe Cycling Club. The club had organised a Cinque Ports Challenge. They set a number of competitive tasks in each of the Five Head Ports of the Fourteen Cinque Ports: Hastings, New Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich. I was pleased to present the awards and answer questions the members had regarding the Cinque Ports. The awards were all well-deserved, and the food was excellent as was the conversation – well done all the winners and well done Hythe Cycling Club!
Rotary Club Dinner
I was very pleased to be invited to attend the regular Rotary Dinner on the 1st of November and join many of the most active people in the Hythe Community.
Spanish Evening in Winchelsea
On Friday the 4th November I attended a Spanish Evening in my capacity as the Speaker of the Cinque Ports. Both myself and my wide the Mayor’s consort received a warm welcome from the Mayor and the Jurats of Winchelsea.
St Leonard’s Day
Saturday the 6th November is St Leonard’s Day and I was very happy to attend a service of thanksgiving at St Leonard’s Church in Hythe. The service was a fantastic combination of music, singing and prayer, a wonderful celebration!
Painting the Bollards in Hythe High St.
During November the painting of the bollards and all the street furniture is being painted by volunteers from the Hythe Civic Society. The paint is provided from the Mayor’s Project Fund but the labour, the hard work and the enthusiasm is provided by the Hythe Civic Society.
Hythe Civic Heroes
At the Hythe Town Council meeting on the 10th November, I was absolutely delighted to award 4 Hythe Civic Hero Awards. To the fantastic team supporting the Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal in Hythe: Standard Bearer Bill Milner, top collectors Mr & Mrs Burns and the RBL Coordinator Ian Norman – well done everyone!
Armistice Day in France with Hythe Twinning
On the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month 1918 the Armistice was declared to end the First World War, “the war to end all wars”. I was honoured to travel to France with my wife the Mayor’s Consort and the Hythe Twinning Association to commemorate the Armistice with our friends from Berck-sur-mer, our twin town in France.
Our group first visited Etaples one of the war grave cemeteries, where a short ceremony, lead by Rev. Michael Dawkins, the priest in charge, St Leonard’s was followed by wreath laying. One cannot visit a cemetery as large as Etaples without being deeply moved.
We then joined the people of Berck-Sur-Mer, warmly welcomed by the Town Mayor, and commemorated those who died in both world wars, the National Anthems of the Allied Nations were played, and we remember them, those who gave their tomorrow so we could have our today.
Folkestone & Hythe Orchestral Society
I was very pleased to be invited to attend a truly brilliant performance by the Folkestone and Hythe Orchestral Society on Saturday the 12th November. An impressive programme with some fantastic individual performances. I was delighted to meet Jan Leeming who is the Society’s President.
It was a great honour to gather with my neighbours and friends in Hythe to commemorate those who have died fighting for our Country on Remembrance Sunday the 13th November. I was pleased to lead the commemorations at the Hythe War Memorial, with the Town’s children reading out the names of people from Hythe who died during two World Wars. Very moving and sobering, particularly as we currently have war once again in Europe. I was so pleased that the people of Hythe were joined by our great friends from our French Twin Town Berck-Sur-Mer, who laid wreaths in a solemn ceremony. The music was provided by the Hythe Town Concert Band.
Sandwich “Ship Money Collection”
On Monday the 14th November, in my capacity as the Speaker of the Cinque Ports, I attended the Confirmation in office of Mayor Deputies from the towns which are the Sandwich Limbs, locally known as the Ship Money Collection. The limb towns: Brightlingsea, Fordwich and Sarre offer a token of their allegiance to Sandwich, each Deputy Mayor pays ship money in cash, collected by the Mayor of Sandwich in the Ancient Town Horn! Brightlingsea pays 10s (50p), Fordwich pays 3s 4d (17p) and Sarre pleads poverty (and has done for nearly 600 years). Sandwich always lets them off!
Venetian Fete Prize Giving
The Town Hall was crowded on Tuesday the 15th November when I was delighted to present the trophies to the winners of the Venetian Fete float competition. Many local organisations won prizes including the Scouts, the Guides, The Fountain public house and the Hythe Twinning Association, along with many others – well done everyone!
Cinque Ports Prayer Canopy
On 17th November I was pleased to attend the Cinque Ports Prayer Canopy in Hythe. The prayer group meets in the Towns which provides that years speaker. So as the Mayor of Hythe and Speaker of the Cinque Ports, I was very happy to attend. In particular, the group wanted to offer prayers in memory of our recently departed Queen but also in memory of our recently departed Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, Lord Boyce.
Visit to Faversham
In my capacity as the Speaker of the Cinque Ports on Thursday 17th November, I visited Faversham at the invitation of the Mayor of Faversham to visit the Police Museum. We were also lucky enough to have a guided tour of some of the historic buildings in Faversham, guided by the Mayor, including their 600 year old Guild Hall. The climax of the tour was to see Faversham’s Magna Carter.
Gurkha Benevolent Dinner
I was delighted to attend the Gurkha Benevolent Dinner on Friday the 18th November. I joined the Mayor of Folkestone to celebrate the contribution the Gurkha community makes to the wider community of Folkestone and Hythe. The excellent facilities of the Burlington Hotel which were given at no charge made the evening very successful.
Hythe Tennis Club Trophy Presentation
Saturday the 19th November it gave me the greatest pleasure to attend a ceremony at the Hythe Tennis Club. The club had facilitated the discovery of a Cinque Ports Tennis Trophy which had laid in a bank vault since 1961. The Tennis Club presented me with the trophy for onward transmission to the Hythe Town Museum. As the Mayor I offered the sincere thanks of the people of Hythe to the Tennis Club for their hard work and effort in securing this historic trophy for the Hythe Town Museum.
Colours of Ukraine Festival
On Sunday the 20th November I opened the Colours of Ukraine Festival at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church. The event was a mix of food, crafts, food, events, food, gifts, food and more food! (Did I mention the food?). The event was staged by our guests from Ukraine who are with us in Hythe. The event was so successful, with photos, music and food!!!
MAYOR’S CIVIC HERO AND PANDEMIC AWARDS NOVEMBER 2022
Mayor’s Hythe Civic Hero Award for their dedication and service to the town of Hythe.
Bill has been the RBL Hythe and Saltwood standard bearer for many years. He is our familiar public face locally and is the epitome of everything that they represent. He is dedicated 100% to his role. Not only does he parade the Hythe and Saltwood branch standard at all local remembrance events, but he also regularly carries the standard for the RBL in other towns across the County and is totally committed to the causes of the RBL.
Mr Brian Burns and Mrs Penny Burns
Every year, Brian and Penny show dedication above and beyond, to support the British Legion Poppy Appeal.
Over a 3-week period, they commit to some 26 volunteer hours, which results in raising £2,700 in the Hythe and Lympne areas. They distribute boxes of poppies and collecting tins across the town and give hours for the Poppy Appeal collections in the local supermarkets. Over the 12 years that they have supported the Poppy Appeal, this has resulted in a fantastic £32,400 to assist our armed forces family.
Ian is the co-ordinator and driving force behind the poppy appeal every year, and in many ways represents what the RBL stands for. Thanks were given and the Mayor stated that the award was just a small representation of Hythe’s gratitude.
The Mayor then went on to invite Major (Rtd) Dennis Bradley BEM DL to take the stand.
Major Dennis Bradley addressed the Mayor, Councillors, and guests with a thankyou from the Grenadier Guards for being recently invited to play in Hythe High Street. He went on to report that he had it on good authority from regimental headquarters that the guards were equally as pleased to have attended the event. He wanted to thank the council’s staff for all their help in aiding the event to take place and as a memento of the occasion Major Dennis Bradley presented the Mayor with an official photo of the guards playing outside of the Town Hall.
Poppy Launch Appeal 2022
Deal Charter Day
On Sunday the 16 October, I was invited to Deal Town Hall in my capacity as the Speaker of the Cinque Ports to witness Deal’s Charter Day. The Mayor of Deal reconfirms the importance of the Charter each year during this unique ceremony. The Charter is a nationally important document that is displayed in the Town Hall, along with a painting of Deal by the artist JMW Turner!
Mayor's Lunch to Discuss Christmas Arrangements
A lunch meeting was held on the 13th October in the Town Hall for interested parties to come together to discuss the Christmas arrangements in the High St. We received an update on the Christmas Lights, Santa’s Grotto, and the Carols – I am happy to report Hythe will have a full Christmas Calendar.
Parade of the Grenadier Guards in Hythe
As the Mayor of Hythe I was honoured and absolutely delighted to welcome the Band of the Grenadier Guards to Hythe.
It was a spectacular event, with the Guards resplendent in their red uniforms, playing to a brilliantly high standard while marching, in tight formation through a very crowded Hythe High Street!
The selection of music ranged from traditional marches to “Our House” by Madness, all played with flair and incredible co-ordination. Everyone, the Band, the Guards and the people of Hythe joined together enthusiastically to create a fantastic, joyous atmosphere.
Great thanks to Major Dennis Bradley who did so much to organise the event and very well done the Band of the Grenadier Guards!
Afternoon Tea in New Romney
On Saturday the 8 October, along with my wife the Mayor’s consort I was please to support our good neighbour, Paul Thomas the Mayor of New Romney at his excellent afternoon tea to raise funds for his Mayor’s Charities.
Hythe Civic Society
The Mayor’s Consort and I attended the opening talk of the season of presentations organised by the Hythe Civic Society at Hythe Bay School. A fascinating lecture on the history of the Gurkhas in the British Army was followed by a glass of wine and some excellent conversations.
Opening of The Hythe Pantry
The Official Opening of ‘The Hythe Pantry’ by Councillor Jim Martin ~ Mayor of Hythe and Fr Jim Teeling ~ Parish Priest of Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, Hythe.
Jubilee Tree Planting Walmer Castle
I was joined by many other Cinque Ports Mayors to plant a tree in Walmer Castle on Monday the 3rd October. Sadly the Lord Warden as unable to attend through ill health, so as Speaker of the Cinque Ports I carried out the planting.
The tree was originally intended to commemorate the Queens Jubilee, but it was also now commemorate Her Majesty’s glorious reign and her life of service.
The Cinque Ports Speaker’s Day in Hythe
The Confederation of the Cinque Ports can trace its origin back to Edward the Confessor and for many centuries the Speaker of the Cinque Ports have called to other Cinque Port Mayors together to celebrate Speaker’s Day.
This year the Speakership has come to Hythe and the Mayor of Hythe is also the Speaker of the Cinque Ports. It was therefore a great pleasure for me to welcome the other Cinque Port Mayors to Hythe on Saturday the 1st of October to celebrate Speaker’s Day.
Unfortunately, the Lord Warden was ill and unable to attend, but he was very well represented by Brigadier Guy Boxhall, the Deputy Constable of Dover Castle. As tradition dictates representatives from the Royal Navy also attended, as well as the Admiralty Sergeant and Admiralty Judge.
We formed a procession along Hythe High Street and up to St Leonard’s where our service was led by Priest in Charge Michael Dawkins, as the bells rang out, we had the fantastic St Leonard’s Church choir and organist, and a brilliant sermon by Bishop Trevor Wilmott.
A fantastic day, with pageantry and tradition – and the weather was great too!
NHS Workers Memorial Bench
I was honoured to dedicate a memorial bench to the NHS and Key Workers who gave their lives for us in the Covid Pandemic. I was joined by representatives from the Oaklands Health Centre and Age UK who with Hythe Town Council and local pharmacies formed the Hythe Community Hub. The bench’s location between Age UK, HTC and the Oaklands Health Centre represents the partnership of the Community Hub.
The Virtual London Marathon in Hythe
I ran the Virtual London Marathon on Sunday the 2nd October, 26.2 miles which took approximately 60,000 steps. I ran from Seabrook to Sunny Sands in Folkestone, then back along the Royal Military Canal into the deepest Marsh and back to Seabrook. Every single step was taken in the pouring rain! 5 hours and 9 minutes later I finished, soaking wet but in great form!
The important thing about the run is that I raised over £3,000 for the Pilgrims Hospice and I would like to thank everyone in Hythe who sponsored and supported me.
Mayor’s Big Green Week
Eco-Fayre on the Green
The Eco-Fayre was attended by many local and Hythe-based environmental groups including the Hythe Green Preservation Society, Hythe Honey Bee Keeping, The Aspinall Trust, Hythe Environmental Community Group, and many others. There was food, music, coral singing, and a lot of apple pressing! A terrific day for everyone – and completely free!
I joined many other volunteers picking apples in Saltwood with the Hythe Environmental Group. The apples were rejected by the supermarkets because they were too small, although they looked perfectly sized to me and they tasted fantastic. The Gleaners picked almost 2 ton on apples with the kind generosity of the farmer and these apples have been distributed to food banks locally and across Kent.
Royal British Legion Centenary Dinner in Kent
I was pleased to attend the Royal British Legion’s Centenary Dinner along with the Mayor’s Consort. The dinner was for Town Mayor’s across Kent and it was an honour to represent Hythe.
The opening of 101 Open Door Project - 22 September 2022
Along with about 100 other residents of Hythe, I attended the opening of 101 High Street on Wednesday the 21st September. We had music, a children’s choir, the Town Cryer, and a warm welcome from Michael Darkins the Priest in Charge at St Leonard’s but the star of the show was undoubtedly Rose the Bishop of Dover, who gave us rousing encouragement to help our local community in these difficult times and blessed us all, the Shopfront and most of the High Street!
101 High Street offers Hythe a community resource like no other, the idea is to offer a space where people can seek help and advice to navigate the problems which are currently all around us. Well done St Leonard’s!
Hythe District Photographic Society
I was delighted to attend the excellent exhibition of the photography of the Hythe Photographic Society in the Hythe Library. The range of themes and topics was amazing with many photographs of familiar local landmarks and objects, a fantastic show!
Hythe District Photographic Club Presentation
The Mayor of Hythe, Councillor Jim Martin presenting a cheque to Phil Heading of the Hythe Photographic Club for £300.00.
Painting the Bollards in Hythe High Street
I was joined by a willing and energetic band of volunteers to paint the bollards in the High Street outside the Town Hall.
The plan is to paint the bollards and then, perhaps, move onto bins, lamp columns and other street furniture. We are hosting the Cinque Ports Speaker’s Day in Hythe on the 1 October this year and we have a parade by the Band of the Grenadier Guards on the 14 October, so we want the High Street to look its best.
Well done the Hythe Civic Society!
The Death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Like so many people, I was deeply affected by the death of Queen Elizabeth II on the 8th September. All Council and Mayoral business was cancelled or postponed. I was unable to attend many meetings and events, which hopefully can be re-scheduled.
As Mayor of Hythe and Speaker of the Cinque Ports I wrote letters of Condolence on behalf of the people of Hythe and the Cinque Ports.
Very early on Friday the 16th September, I joined the queue for the lying in state at Westminster Hall, along with my wife, the Mayor’s Consort. We queued for 11 hours but it was worth it, because it allowed me to carry the sympathy, the thoughts and sentiments of the people of Hythe into Westminster Hall.
The Proclamation of the King
On Sunday the 11th September, I joined the other Cinque Ports Mayors to read the Proclamation of the King at 1.00pm in Dover. I then travelled back to Hythe and repeated the Proclamation of the King to the people of Hythe from the steps of the Town Hall.
Over the years, the Town Hall will have seen the Proclamation of many Kings and Queens from its steps but the Proclamation of King Charles III is the first that many of us will have been present at.
Litter Pick on the Green
A large and enthusiastic group of volunteers turned out on Saturday the 6 September, to pick up litter from the Green organised by Hythe Environmental Community Group. Indeed, such was the determination to pick litter, that the banks of the Royal Military Canal also were cleared, along with Oaklands Park and Wakefield Walk. I was sent off to pick up the litter in the Skate Park, which, on that particular morning, looked in great shape. Hythe Environmental Community Group organise a litter pick each month along with many other environmental initiatives, well done to Chris and Sue Turnbull who organise everything! https://hytheenvironmental.community/
Venetian Fete in Hythe
I was delighted to welcome so many residents, visitors, and other Mayors to this year’s Venetian Fete in Hythe, which I was honoured to declare open. The floats were fantastic, the entertainment was brilliant and the fireworks spectacular. The weather was kind, the downpour of rain ended just before I opened the Fete, then we had a clear and sunny evening in which to enjoy the celebrations.
I would like to thank the organising committee, all the volunteers, the sponsors and contractors for a truly marvellous event.
The Fete is not complex, it is not sophisticated, it is simply a joyous expression of enjoyment and fun!
Mayor's Blog - 19 July 2022
South Kent Mind
On the 14th of July, I was delighted to be asked by South Kent Mind to do some publicity for their Charity Walk in September. I was joined by Hythe’s Town Crier the brilliant Chris McNealy. Chris called the attention of the towns people by blowing Hythe’s Moot Horn, exactly as it has been done for almost 500 years!
I held the first of my regular Mayor’s Lunches at the Town Hall on the 14 July and was delighted to help promote the Hythe Town Diary, which is a fantastic initiative devised by Hythe’s Rotary Club. The idea is that all community and other events are collected together in one electronic diary. This collation of events will help organisers to avoid clashes and help people work together for the benefit of the Town.
Jam on the Marsh – St Leonard’s
My wife and I attended St Leonard’s to watch a performance of Façade, with Lucy Crowe, James Gilchrist, JAM Sinfonia & Anna Tilbrook, which was breathtaking. The Jam on the Marsh Festival is just brilliant in its range and variety of events, exhibitions, and performances, always good value.
Mayor’s Bike Ride to Ypres
On the 15th of July, I along with 35 other cyclists set off from Aylesford near Maidstone, to ride to Ypres in Belgium, on behalf of the Royal British Legion Industries. We were taking the scenic route, which totalled 150miles!
All of the riders were delighted with the warm welcome we received in Hythe with Major Dennis Bradley, the Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, receiving the riders warmly. The RBLI presented Hythe with one of its famous Tommy Silhouettes and the ride moved on, and up to the Battle of Britain Memorial on top of Dover Hill. Given that it was over 30 degrees at the time, Dover Hill was a tough climb, but we did it!
Then into Dover, onto the ferry, and into the hotel in Calais. The next day we rode through the countryside of Northern France into Belgium and received a fantastic welcome when we stopped in Poperinge, one of Hythe’s Twin Towns. We were given gifts, food, and all sorts of liquids to drink, and eventually, we wobbled away on our bikes, sorry to leave our friends in Poperinge behind.
We arrive in Ypres and I was honoured, as the Mayor of Hythe, to be able to lay a wreath at the Menin Gate on behalf of the people of Hythe. The nightly last post ceremony at the Menin Gate is very moving and I was so pleased to remember the British and Commonwealth Service men and women who died in the Great War.
Mayor's Blog Week - 26 June to 10 July 2022
Mayor Making in Folkestone
It was an honour for me as the Mayor of Hythe to represent the people of Hythe at the ancient ceremony of Mayor Making in Folkestone on Sunday the 26 June. Councillor Nichola Keen was elected Mayor of our Neighbour Town Folkestone in May but the ceremony of Making the Mayor took place as it has done for hundreds of years, at the Cross in the Churchyard of St Mary and St Eanswythe.
New President of Hythe Rotary Club
I was delighted to be invited to welcome John Wren as the new president of the Hythe Rotary Club and offer our grateful thanks to the outgoing president Liz Dearden. During Covid Liz Dearden has guided the Rotary through the most difficult of times and everyone owes Liz our thanks.
Mayor of Deal – Ceremonial Evening
I attended the Ceremonial evening of the Mayor of Deal as the Mayor of Hythe and in my capacity as the Speaker of the Cinque Ports. Deal is a beautiful town and it certainly is no hardship going to visit. The Mayor made his dedication, named his deputy and Mayoress and committed himself to continue his work in promoting Deal and everything associated with the town.
Canada Day – Shorncliffe Cemetery
The First of July is Canada Day and it truly was both a privilege and an honour for me to represent the people of Hythe, as their Mayor, when together with Elaine my wife and Mayor’s Consort, we were able to lay a wreath at the memorial in Shorncliffe Cemetery to commemorate the service men and women who are buried there, in particular the 105 Canadians who gave their lives in service to this country. The ceremony of children laying flowers is always so moving and is a fitting tribute.
The Princess of Wales Sensory Garden Oaklands
I was pleased to join the volunteers who have done such a wonderful job in restoring the Princess Diana Sensory Garden in Oaklands Park on the 5 July. All of the hard work has clearly paid off, all we need now is some rain!
Seabrook School – Concert at the Tower Theatre
What a concert, what talent, what an experience, my wife and I spent a glorious afternoon with the pupils and teachers from Seabrook School at their concert in the Tower Theatre in Shorncliffe!
I was very pleased that the Rotary Club of Hythe invited me to their latest dinner on the 5 July. I was fascinated to learn about all of the interesting and worthwhile initiatives the Rotary are pursuing locally, nationally and internationally. I was particularly interested in hearing about the Hythe Town Diary, a Rotary Club initiative whereby the Rotary will host an on-line Town Diary where community groups can list their events. I am holding a Mayor’s lunch on 14 July to promote the diary, which will be a valuable addition to the life of the Town.
Dinner with the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
Both my wife Elaine, the Mayor’s Consort and I were honoured to be invited to have dinner with the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, at Walmer Castle, on the 8 July. I was pleased as The Speaker of the Cinque Ports to represent Hythe and promote our beautiful and historic town.
Cinque Ports Reception at Walmer Castle
I joined many other Mayors from Cinque Port Towns on the 9 July, at a reception at Walmer Castle hosted by the Lord Warden. It was a great pleasure to discuss the issues that confront the various coastal communities which make up the Cinque Ports. A valuable exchange of ideas and information between Mayors – and the weather was beautiful!
Mayor’s Boot Fair to support Hythe’s Christmas Lights
Sunday the 10 July was a wonderful sunny morning in the beautiful and historic town of Hythe and I was pleased to welcome so many people to the Mayor’s Boot Fair on The Green in Hythe. A great range of sellers and many eager buyers meant that the money collected, a fantastic total of £1,411.00, will ensure that the Christmas Lights in Hythe High Street will happen again this year!
Mayor's Blog Week - 26 June to 10 July 2022
Mayor's Blog - Week Ending 26 June 2022
Hythe Cycling Club
On Sunday 19th June, I was taken out for a “taster” ride by the Hythe Cycling Club http://www.hythecyclingclub.org.uk/
I rode with the “steady group” and was so pleased that I managed to complete the course to enjoy an excellent cup of coffee at the Hythe and Saltwood Sailing Club.
In Hythe, we are blessed with a variety of terrine to suit all cyclists: a leisure traffic-free meander along the canal to West Hythe and beyond for the occasional cyclists, something a bit further and faster across the very quiet roads on Romney Marsh and the hills that border the Marsh and the climbs that await towards Folkestone and Dover!
I am training to join a sponsored Bike Ride on behalf of the Royal British Legion Industries called “Ride with a Veteran”. The ride is from the RBLI headquarters in Aylesford to Ypres in Belgium, where we will attend the Last Post at the Menin Gate. I have hijacked the arrangements of the Hythe to Poperinge section of the ride, so the 30 riders will be stopping at Oaklands on Friday the 15th July at about 1.30 pm and stopping in Poperinge (Hythe’s Twin Town) in Belgium on Saturday 16th July at about the same time.
The Hythe Cycling Club will be helping me over the next few weeks to help me build up the miles in preparation for my ride.
Hythe Civic Society
Friday the 24th June was a warm beautiful evening in Hythe and I joined a fantastic group of Hythe residents who are the Hythe Civic Society! My wife and I received a very warm welcome and were delighted to meet many old friends. HCS are engaged in so many local initiatives that make Hythe a great place to be I cannot list them, but I hope to spend part of my Mayoral Year working closely with the HCS developing and promoting all they do.
Armed Forces Day
There was a great turn out of residents and visitors in Hythe High Street on Saturday the 25th June to celebrate our Armed Forces Day. The parade was great, as was the band, the piper, the ceremony, the attendance, and the buffet in the Town Hall. I am delighted to say that Hythe’s military history and links are alive and well.
Scones and Songs of Praise
Along with many other people I was delighted, along with my wife, to attend the Salvation Army’s “Scones and Songs of Praise” on the 25th June. A hugely entertaining evening of music with an excellent band and singing from an equally excellent choir, and the scones were very good as well!
Falklands War Memorial – Tuesday 14 June 2022
I was honoured to be invited by the Royal British Legion to lay a wreath at the War Memorial in Hythe on the 40th Anniversary of the end of the Falklands War. My son is a serving Royal Navy Officer, so the perils and risks our servicemen and women take in defending the realm are very well known to me.
I was particularly touched when the RBL Chaplin Dudley Shipton, who was leading the service, also remembered my cousin, Terry Martin, a civilian worker who died en- route to the Falklands to rebuild the airport at Port Stanley when the fighting ended.
A thoughtful and meaningful set of readings and prayers were led by our fantastic Churches Together faith leaders and we prayed for the dead but also that conflict and wars across the world would end.
Beating of the Retreat at Brompton Barracks
Beating the Retreat at Brompton Barracks
It was a privilege to be invited by the Royal Engineers to represent the people of Hythe and witness the Beating of the Retreat in Brompton Barracks. I was joined by many other Mayors from Kent.
This event is when the Army thanks the Civil Community for their help and support. I had recently attended a large Armed Services Covenant conference held at the Leas Hall in Folkestone, where we discussed the challenges that service families have to face within our community, so it was fantastic to be able to receive the thanks of the Army in person.
A brilliant display of precision marching and top quality music entertained us all. Bearing in mind I can neither play music or precision march, I have nothing but admiration for these wonderful musicians!
Mayor's Blog - Jubilee Events Around Hythe Town
Announcing the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
It was with the greatest of joy that I joined Hythe’s Town Crier on Thursday the 2nd of June, to announce the Jubilee Celebrations in Hythe. Many similar announcements have been made from the undercroft of the Town Hall in Hythe, over many hundreds of years, and I certainly felt the history of the 600 (plus) named Mayors of Hythe who have announced times of great celebration as well as times of mourning. We are so fortunate in Hythe to be surrounded by history.
Lighting the Jubilee Celebration Beacon.
The Jubilee Beacons is the first official celebration event of the Platinum Jubilee in Hythe. Our Beacon forms part of a chain of Beacons. The Jubilee Beacons provide an opportunity for Hythe to join with other communities and people throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, UK Overseas Territories, and the Commonwealth, to come together to celebrate this historic milestone. Queen Elizabeth II will be the first British monarch to reach a Platinum Jubilee, 70 years as Sovereign.
A large crowd gathered along the seafront in the Twiss Rd carpark, opposite the Imperial Hotel. Many photographs were taken and I was pleased to pose for many, including some photographs of a beautiful bride who was in the middle of her wedding reception in the Imperial!
I was joined by our Town Piper, Chris McNeilly, who played, and supervised by our Town Sergeant who was looking after all the Health and Safety arrangements.
We were all particularly thrilled that the Deputy Lieutenant, Major Dennis Bradley BEM, was able to officiate and lead the celebration.
On the appropriate signal from our Town Sergeant that it was safe to do so, I lit the Beacon and joined our fellow loyal communities across the Country and Commonwealth in Celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Platinum Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving in Oaklands Park
I was honoured to join with some of the Churches in Hythe in a Platinum Jubilee service of thanksgiving. The service was a Churches Together celebration and I was particularly impressed by the pupils of Brockhill School who performed for us, depicting the reign of Her Majesty. The sun was shining and we were all in excellent voice!
Hythe High Street – Best Jubilee Crown Competition
I was asked to judge the Best Jubilee Crown Competition organised by the Hythe Business and Tourism Association, it was the toughest job of the whole Jubilee weekend, the standard was so high!
Hythe High St – Best Dressed Window for the Jubilee
I was also asked to award the trophy to the winner of the Best Dressed Window for the Jubilee – Church mouse Studios Some of the shop windows in Hythe High St had really been prepared to a very high standard but I think Church mouse Studios were worthy winners.
Tin Tabernacle Celebrations
As always the Tin Tabernacle owner Peter Jarvis contributed to the community in Hythe by allowing the building to be used by the local community to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. A fantastic crowd enjoyed tea and cake, music, singing, and great conversation! Again, we were fortunate to have Deputy Lieutenant, Major Dennis Bradley BEM, along with his wife Mrs. Bradley. Reverend Dudley Shipton managed the various event very well and information, help, and the crowd management was provided by the Hythe Rotary Club – a brilliant event!
Hythe Town Council’s Picnic in the Park.
On Sunday, the final day of the Jubilee Celebrations, the weather defied the forecast and was good to us. I was delighted to be able to open Hythe Town Council’s Picnic in the Park at Oaklands. I was joined by jugglers, tight rope walkers, face painters, and bouncy castles. I ate too many cakes from the Scout’s cake stall, who were raising money to send four young people from Hythe to the World Jamboree in South Korea.
The crowd were entertained by the excellent Hythe Town Concert Band who gave a brilliant performance!
Evensong at St Leonard’s Church Hythe
My wife and I attended our final event of the Jubilee with a beautiful Evensong service at St Leonard’s Church. We were joined by Councillor Anita Jones, the Deputy Mayor and my overall feeling from the Jubilee Weekend is the strength of the community in Hythe, it was fantastic to see so many people participating in the celebrations to honour our Monarch. I think having lived through such a difficult period in our history, with Covid, people seem very keen to get out and do familiar things in the Community, long may we continue to do so!
Speaker of the Cinque Ports
As the Mayor of Hythe, I was appointed the Speaker of the Cinque Ports on Saturday the 21st May 2022, at the Hythe Sports Pavilion on South Rd. I was very please to host many of the other Cinque Port Mayors and welcome them to Hythe. I have sworn to fulfil the duties as Speaker to the best of my ability and my intention is to reinforce Hythe’s position as a Head Cinque Port.
Mayor Making in New Romney
I was proud to represent the historic town of Hythe at the Making of the new Mayor in our Neighbouring Cinque Port, the equally historic town of New Romney. The wise people of New Romney have elected Councillor Paul Thomas to lead the Town Council once again. From the people of Hythe, I was please to congratulate Paul and his wonderful Mayoress Janet, wholeheartedly.
Litter Picking for the Jubilee
My Deputy Mayor, Councillor Anita Jones, organised an intensive litter pick in Hythe ahead of the Queens Platinum Jubilee. Anita and I were very please and grateful to the members of the Romney Marsh litter pick Hit Squad who joined us and really did a great job. I was also pleased so many Councillors: Tim, Jenni, Angela and members of the families joined the band of volunteers – well done team!
Support for Families from Ukraine
I was very please to join local Church leaders in a gathering to offer practical help to families from Ukraine, who have fled their war torn country and have come to Hythe. Along with other community and church leaders we joined together to welcome our guests and ask what we, as individuals and as a community, can do to help make their stay in Hythe easier. It is encouraging to know that many people from Hythe are willing to help.
Bench Dedication at The Fountain
I was absolutely delighted to be asked to unveil a new bench at The Fountain Public House in Seabrook. The bench is a work of art, a carved table which seeks to depict our relationship with nature, based on conversations between local Seabrook people as interpreted by the artists glimpse. The conversations relate to how the people of Seabrook feel about the wildlife, the Royal Military Canal, the Seafront and place where they live and how their interaction with the Natural World enhances their being. The bench was offered to the District Council initially but was refused and I am very grateful to Jakki and Stewart, the owners of the Fountain who found a place for the bench in their garden.
Blessings of the Sea in Brightlingsea
I attended the Blessings of the Sea in Brightlingsea in my capacity as Speaker of the Cinque Ports, with the Mayor’s Consort, my wife Elaine. A ceremony which dates from time in remembrance, takes place on the Harbour Wall or “the Hards” and then the Speaker joined other Mayors and Deputies and set sail into the harbour and out into Brightlingsea Creek, where the sea and Oyster beds were blessed. This is the ancient ritual of “Beating the Bounds” a ritual which is also carried out in Hythe!
Election of the Town Mayor
On Thursday the 19th May 2022, I was elected as the Mayor of Hythe at the Council Meeting held at Hythe’s historic Town Hall. Many guests were welcomed, Major Dennis Bradley BEM SL, on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant, other Mayor’s and Chairmen, Country Councillors, District Councillors and Town Councillors, along with Towns people friends and relations.
I was delighted to be elected unanimously and thanked my fellow Town Councillors for their faith and trust.
Mayor’s Acceptance Speech
I am proud and honoured to be elected Mayor of Hythe, our wonderful town and community. I would like to thank all of my fellow councillors for bestowing this great privilege and responsibility upon me. I would also like to express my appreciation for our wonderful retiring Mayor, Councillor Naomi May Slade and her 2 years in office. Councillor Slade represents change in Hythe, the youngest Mayor in Kent and one of the youngest Mayor’s in the Country. If I can bring a fraction of Naomi’s grace and care to my Mayoralty I will be delighted.
Councillor Slade’s Mayoralty has been during one of the most difficult times in our history. At the moment, with the Covid19 threat still all around us, rampant inflation and war in Europe, difficult times are likely to continue. We have all been affected by Covid in some way, we are all affected by inflation and our daily thoughts are constantly drawn to the poor people of the Ukraine. Hythe, is a resilient place: Hythe survived the Black Death, many economic booms and busts together with wars, our biggest challenge however, as a coastal community, may be to come with the impact of Climate Change.
There are challenges all around us, but, we will win through, and as a community, together, we will come out the other side. In Hythe, we met the Covid challenge as a community, we have our wonderful NHS and care workers to thank, together with many other people who deliver our vital everyday services such as our postmen, street cleaners, shop assistants and police to name just a few who have worked ceaselessly for the good of the people of Hythe. We should also recognise all those unpaid carers who contribute so much.
I look forward to this coming year and helping many people and groups from the local community, attending events and functions both in Hythe and further afield, as Mayor and the Speaker of the Cinque Ports. I will carry out my duties, representing Hythe, with pride and to the best of my ability.
Covid has certainly changed the way we live, and I like to feel, we in Hythe have become a closer community, more ready and willing to help each other. As I take on the role of Mayor of Hythe, I will do my upmost to develop and build on these stronger community ties.
I was delighted that Councillor Anita Jones was elected and will serve as Deputy Mayor, Anita will make an enormous contribution to Hythe in the coming year!
I was pleased that the Reverend Michael Dawkins, the Priest in Charge at St Leonard’s Hythe has agreed to be my Chaplin for my Mayoral year.
My final and most heartfelt thanks goes to my wife Elaine who has consented to be the Mayor’s Consort.
I was honoured to present the first of the Mayor’s Civic Hero medals to Henry Noonan and Tony Preston who have done fantastic work in collecting and delivering supplies to the poor people of the Ukraine. The Three Mariner’s Pub has been the base and coordination point for the relief efforts – Henry and Tony, two real life Hythe Civic Heroes!
I was pleased to present the first group of the Mayor’s Pandemic Hero medals, to recognise people in the community of Hythe who made major contributions to the battle against Covid 19. Penny Snow and Jessica Libaert from the Oaklands Health Centre who were on the front line fighting the pandemic that has blighted all our lives. I was especially please to present the third Pandemic Hero medal to Sonya Knight, a volunteer coordinator who accepted the medal on behalf of the team at Age UK Hythe & Lyminge, who have received national recognition for their work during the pandemic.