The Mayor of Whitchurch Cllr Bev Duffy – Christmas Message 2020

It’s certainly going to be a Christmas to remember this year and so very different for many of us, but Christmas is still a time of love, peace and giving. Whilst we celebrate the festive season in the company of our loved ones, let us remember to visit or call on neighbours who may be spending the holiday alone.

Our community carries the spirit of kindness, caring and compassion throughout the year and this has been shown in the way everyone has done their utmost to look after their family, friends, and neighbours during the Covid-19 pandemic. We have coped and we will come out stronger when this pandemic is finally over. Perhaps that will be with a different view on what is important in life.

Businesses in the town have been hard hit, but it is great to see the innovation and resolve of our business owners who have developed new way to stay afloat. Many have been offering internet orders, click and collect and dining at home options. It has been great to see new business start ups in town along with the ‘Love Where You Live’ Campaign, to encourage pride in our great community. We must do everything we can in the run up to Christmas and beyond to support our local businesses which are the lifeblood and vitality of our town. Even though there has been no big switch on this year, the town’s Christmas lights are now on for you to enjoy whilst you shop and visit the town centre safely.

I am now in my second Term of Office and it has been an honour and privilege to serve you as Mayor. It was pleasure to welcome Dean Harris, the High Sheriff of Shropshire to visit our town back in September. I thank the huge number of groups who attended the Civic Centre to demonstrate all that Whitchurch has to offer. Mrs Harris thought the historic High Street and all our independent shops were wonderful and really enjoyed her visit.

Even though the pandemic slowed down progress on our plans, much has been achieved through the hard work and commitment of our volunteer Councillors and the Town Council’s fantastic, dedicated team of staff. We are working hard to keep making things happen in the town.

Positive Actions Achieved in this year include:

  • New lighting in the Market Hall
  • Town Council owned streetlights have been converted to LED
  • Market Hall lighting converted to LED
  • Support for pointless plastics initiative
  • Signed up to Shropshire Climate Action Partnership

Projects that will continue into 2021 include:

  • Supporting young people
  • New play all-inclusive play equipment is to be installed, along with improvements to Deermoss Park, for which we are currently consulting
  • A Youth Pod has been agreed for Jubilee park, along with an energy generating spinning bike, where young people can meet and charge phones
  • Centre North East is to be reopened as a Creative Hub and Youth Club
  • Refurbishments to the Bar Lounge
  • Plans to improve the Main Hall as a theatre space for events and performances

A sad point in the year was the loss of a valued member of our community, Deputy Mayor Cllr Terry O’Neill who worked so hard for the town, particularly looking after the Park and open spaces. We remember Cllr O’Neill fondly and cherish his memory.

I was proud to attend the very well organised, socially distanced, act of Remembrance at the town’s Cenotaph on Sunday 8th November. Thank you to the Whitchurch Branch of the RBL for their hard work on behalf of the Poppy Appeal and St Alkmund’s Church.

The Civic Centre will be closed from 21st December until 4th January 2021.

Finally, on behalf of Deputy Mayor Simon Hamlyn, Councillors and all the Team at Whitchurch Town Council, I would like to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Christmas and hope for a better, happier New Year for everyone.