New addition to the Heritage Triangle gardens!

A new addition to the Heritage Triangle Gardens!

The Diss and District Rotary Club has kindly donated a bench to the new wildlife gardens in the Heritage Triangle. The Town Mayor, Councillor Trevor Wenman, attended the official handover on Monday 4th December at 1pm and accepted the bench from Rotary Club members, Alison Bannister and Clive Sinfield.

The bench provides a place to sit and relax with a beautiful view of the Mere. We hope many of you will enjoy this new addition and thanks again to the Rotary Club for your generous contribution.

September 2017 Part 1 – Going round in Triangles

The Corn Hall so far had been a great success since its re-opening, but the other part of the Heritage Triangle project: the streetscape scheme and the Wildlife garden and boardwalk behind the council offices was reaching its conclusion in early September. An event was planned for 8th September, to coincide with the national heritage open days, to show off the area to the general public and to give them a chance to walk on water…

2nd September – Volunteering Time

The Heritage Triangle is a community project and the final touches – the planting of trees and bedding plants around the triangle needed volunteers to help with it. So I dusted off my gardening gloves and got stuck in on a bright Sunday morning.

A green-fingered volunteer helping with theHeritage Triangle Planting – Sunday 2nd September 2017

In truth I did get my hands dirty with a bit of planting, but mostly I helped by barrowing around compost and sweeping up afterwards. But the results were quite stunning.

5th September – Norfolk Scouts Council AGM – Dereham

Not the totally dry and boring meeting you might have assumed. There was a fascinating presentation from a group of scouts from Norfolk who who had been to the  15th World Scout Moot in Iceland from 25 July – 2 August 2017. The Moot brought  together up to 5000 young adults between the ages of 18 to 25, for what seemed a fantastic time.

8th September – Heritage Open Day

One of the best bits of August, when we were supposed to be having a bit of a break from Council duties was walking round the Heritage Triangle devising a set of questions for people to answer on a prize quiz. The quiz utilised the “toblerone” boards as source of the information to answer the quiz. The board outside the Corn Hall held the answer to question 11 :

The Corn Hall “toblerone” before it was demolished by a dozy driver (Happily now (November) replaced).

Unfortunately, someone reversed into it a week before the open day, so we had to devise a new question.

The day itself was a great success . We had coffee from COW (coffee on wheels!) a barbecue provided by Browns the Butchers and  roving buskers (including a strange chap in a hat reciting poetry.

Leo Wainwright “the busking bard” (or was that beard?)

And of course the boardwalk was open. Dinsdale came to see, but didn’t venture down for fear of getting his feet wet.

Dinsdale Duck pays a flying visit to the Triangle 8th September2017

The next week was spent handing our the prizes for the triangle trail, of which more elsewhere on the website :

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August 2017 – Loud shirts and a Purple Patch

A little quieter in August, but we did have some time away in Devon for my Mum’s 80th Birthday in

Loud Shirts

We got back just in time for the Big Sing at St Mary’s Church (on our wedding anniversary – is there a theme here?). Partly because of the time of year coinciding with two family birthdays and wedding anniversary we had never managed to get to the Big Sing before. The legendary Gerry Hoskin organised it, as he has done the previous 12  years, and compered the event in a lovely light hearted  double act with the Rector, Tony Billett. I use the term legendary advisedly because… well easier to demonstrate with this photo…

Gerry Hoskin at the Big Sing 6th August 2017, St Mary’s Church, Diss

It was a great time (as you may realise by now both Fiona and I like a good sing). Gerry’s shirt was loud, but the singing was louder. It was all in a good cause of course, and a collection was made for the Fire Service Benevolent Fund.

A Purple Patch

A charity event of a different kind took us to Scole on the following Sunday for Clare’s game. This was a really fun way to commemorate the life of a young lady called Clare Mackmin who tragically died as the result of an epileptic seizure whilst expecting her first child, who also sadly could not be saved. Her friends and family rallied round to make something positive of it, and hit on the idea of a charity football match between a team of friends (captained by Clare’s husband, Shaun, and a team from Glazing Vision, who are based in Sawmills Road.

This is a photo taken before the match:

Clares Team and the Glazing Vision Team, Scole Football Ground 13th August 2017

 The purple strip belongs to Clare’s team. This was her favourite colour, and the colour of the Epilepsy Society, for which the match raised funds. Clare’s team won 10-1 in a really enjoyable and light-hearted game. It was a humbling experience to see a group of people pulling together to make something so positive out of such a tragedy. There was a piece in the Diss Express at the time, and they have done some more fund-raising events since.

The last day of the month saw an invitation to Splice Creative – one of Diss’ hidden gems in the form of a media company in Mere Street that was having a party to celebrate its first birthday.

Trevor Wenman

Town Mayor

July 2017 – Memories

Diss Museum AGM 18th July

Fiona and I had time to attend the AGM of the Museum, and it was very interesting to hear about what they had been up to and how they do so much with so little.

They have a wonderful collection of volunteers with a passion for the history of Diss.

Ian Lavender at the official  re-opening of Diss Museum for the 2017 Season in March

 

22nd July -Memories and Music

History is our collective memory. The memories of a family are a bit different.  I had the privilege of sharing in a service of remembrance for the family and friends of Harold Rackham at his funeral at the Salvation Army on 22nd July. The place was packed, with standing room only, even in the overflow hall from where we watched  live video relay from the Church itself. Harold was previously Town Mayor and we were reminded (or told for the first time) of a lot of the generous things he did for the town, including the gift of the land on which Diss Sports Ground stands. He had a great send off, with the Salvation Army Band  escorting the cortege to the Cemetery.

Later that same day we went down to the Park to Diss Fest.  I had to go to work for a few hours in the afternoon so I sadly missed some of the acts, but the quality of the performances was, as usual very high. Do check it out next year. That didn’t fit in with the theme of memory, but the next event that same night did…

A memory walk is a really neat idea for raising awareness of and money for the Alzheimers Society. About 100 of us took part, starting in the Market Square at midnight on the Saturday, dressed in night attire – pyjamas, onesies etc paying £10 each for the privilege. We then followed a walking route around Diss and Roydon, ending up back at the Market Place where refreshments were available (I have never enjoyed a burger so much at 1.30 in the morning). I leave you with this photo, not because it puts me or my selfie skills in the best light, but to scotch the scurrilous rumour that I did the walk in the Mayor’s robes. That is of course ridiculous. Night attire was specified, and I never wear the robes to bed.

27th July – Down on the Farm

The final memory related Mayoral jaunt for July was at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum where John Ward, the Chairman of Norfolk County Council was holding his annual Chairman’s reception. We had been there before a few years back, but a lot has changed, as we could see when we took a horsedrawn cart ride around the working farm – actually ploughed by horses and cultivated as near as possible to the way it would have been in Victorian times when the museum was a workhouse.

The Mayoress admiring the Suffolk Punch horses that took us on our ride around the farm.

Later in the evening  we chatted amiably with the Norfolk “chain gang” and there were, as ever, some speeches, including by those retiring County Councillors who were given long service awards by the Chairman. Jenny Chamberlain, who stepped down as our County Councillor for Diss and Roydon in May was one of them. Well done to Jenny (below) for sticking it out for 12 years.

 

 

 

Trevor Wenman

Town Mayor

9th July Pomp and circumstance (and cake!)

Mayor’s Civic Service 9th July 2017

I have a very understanding wife. It helps that Fiona is also a town councillor. It also helps that we have been married for 34 years and nothing surprises her anymore when it comes to me. So when we found out the best date for the civic service was also her birthday…

Thanks to Ben Mansfield for this photo, taken after the service.

We had a quiet lunch beforehand then the fun started with around 100 people coming to St Mary’s including a sizeable contingent from Diss Baptist Church and some of the wonderful friends we have made in the form of Mayors and Chairmen of councils on both sides of the County Border. It was a great occasion which brought different parts of the community together to celebrate the start of my Mayoral year. This was the first time, we think, that a Baptist Minister has preached in the Parish Church. After the service we had tea and cake at the back of the Church, thanks to staff at the Town Council and several others (including the Mayoress) who did the baking beforehand. My thanks also go to the Clergy and congregation of St Mary’s Church who moved their service to suit, and our own Church, Diss Baptist who were in fine voice, complementing the efforts of the St Mary’s Choir, and who also rearranged their own service so as many as possible could come and support me.

So Fiona did get a chance to share cake with friends on her birthday, even if the rest of the day was a little unconventional.

Trevor Wenman

Town Mayor

25th June – a funny thing happened…

25th June 2017

I didn’t write this on 25th June and for various reasons I haven’t blogged for some time. So much has been going on, but I have been distracted. I will tell you why in a moment. Suffice it to say that I am now going to bring you all up to date with a series of short blogs on my time as Mayor so far.

Ok. What is this all about being rudely interrupted? In my previous blog I was looking forward to seeing what goes on at a cyclathon? The short of answer – lots of people having fun on bikes. It was very successful event with lots of fun and games on the park for those who are not quite so comfortable on two wheels. My hat goes off to the organisers.

Unfortunately my hat was not the only thing that came off. I said a few words, presented some prizes, did what Mayors do. Then they asked me to set a time on the obstacle course on a mountain bike. “What could go wrong? I thought. I took my mayoral chain off for health and safety reasons and promptly (before I had finished my five minutes training, before they let me loose on the obstacle course) I fell off … quite magnificently, injuring my right shoulder, which not only put me off cycling, and typing for while, but landed me with two weeks off work!

(My memory is hazy – but I think this photo was taken after my tumble, going by the pained look on my face. The man sensibly dressed for the occasion is Alan Franks.

Cycling is a great way to get fit, meet people and de-stress. Congrats to Alan Franks and his team for a fantastic day. The moral of my story is, if your 50 something, haven’t ridden for ten years – practice a bit on flat ground before trying to ride on grass.

 

A week in the life…

24th June 2017

So far so good. After the excitement of the carnival (see below for the punchline) I had a busy week which included a happy hour (not that sort of Happy Hour) having tea with the residents of De Lucy House as part of National Care Homes open Day.

That was Friday (also my birthday – well I did get cake). On Sunday the  Mayoress and I attended our second civic service in Felixstowe in a packed St John’s Church, with other members of the Suffolk “chain gang” (of which I am an honorary member).

Back to the grind, with two meetings on the following Wednesday, including the Town Council where we started the process of co-opting a new councillor. This is to replace Joe Aiken, who after a pretty full on couple of years chairing our Community Engagement Committee, and working like a trojan on projects like the carnival, christmas lights Diss Fest, had to let something go so that he could focus on his paid job (and his other unpaid job of father to three young children). If you want to find out how you could be a town councillor, and what is involved contact the town council, one of your councillors, or just pop along to the Corn Hall on a Wednesday evening for a committee or council meeting, and ask an awkward question.

Watching the Pure Floyd Show at the Corn Hall tonight (Saturday). (You can tell my age by the fact I am going to see a Pink Floyd tribute band, and the reference to Sgt Pepper in the title of this blog). Sunday morning I will be in the Park kicking off the proceedings at the Cyclathon. Next Mayor moments blog will be next Friday.

Oh. The punchline! People ask me whether I get any special treatment as Mayor. Not really. Except once. Morrisons kindly provided free parking all day on the day of the carnival. Alone of those who used that facility, it seems, I got a parking ticket a few days later! A technical glitch which has now been rescinded,  and entirely unconnected with the fact I work at Tesco.

Trevor Wenman

Town Mayor

Carnival Time – A Mayor Moment

When Pope Francis was first introduced on the balcony at St Peter’s he declined the little red cape traditionally worn on such occasions saying to the attending cardinal “Carnival time is over, Monsignor, you wear it”.

Well Carnival time it was at in Diss last Sunday – my first big event as Mayor and did I wear that cape? – you bet I did. However, I was nicely inconspicuous amongst dancers, the wonderful floats, the stilt walkers, horses, donkeys (I think I saw a reindeer somewhere) and of course Dinsdale the Duck, so you could be excused for missing me.

I have never seen as many people in Diss at the same time. Well done to the Carnival Committee for producing such a brilliant day.
Dinsdale was all in a flap in case no-one turned up, but when he saw the size of the crowd he decided to wing it. Totally unflappable.

(editor’s note – all puns used in this blog are the author’s own, and should not be taken as reflecting the sense of humour of Diss Town Council).