Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Meeting the Boys of the Old Brigade

NEXT week I am off to the Royal Hospital in Chelsea to meet the two old soldiers who will be staying in Lyme Regis over the weekend of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The two Chelsea Pensioners will travel down to Lyme Regis on the train from Waterloo on Friday, June 1st and stay in the town for the four-day programme.

Lesley Stone, owner of the Royal Lion Hotel, has kindly agreed to provide accommodation for them and Tony Colston is making arrangements for them to be fed at local restaurants.

The two Chelsea Pensioners, who will be wearing their distinctive scarlet uniforms, will be the guests of honour at all the Jubilee events and will take pride of place in the civic parade on the Saturday morning (June 2nd). 

Having received confirmation that the Chelsea Pensioners would be visiting our town, I was keen to source the piece of music that accompanies them when they enter the arena at the annual Royal British Legion Remembrance Service at the Royal Albert Hall.

Gordon Smith (a/k/a Nomad) from Lyme Regis TV came to the rescue and has sourced the track of the UK military march 'The Boys of The Old Brigade'.

The civic parade will be led by Lympstone Brass Band and I’m hoping they will be able to play this piece of music as the parade makes its way down over the town.

As programme co-ordinator of the Jubilee celebrations in Lyme, I’m pleased to report that the arragements are now very much in hand and I hope those who have seen the brochure we have produced (available from the Tourist Information Centre or the View From offices) will agree that we will be doing Her Majesty proud on this historic occasion.

I think most local organisations will be represented in the civic parade which will process from Holmbush car park to the seafront where the Mayor, Sally Holman, will take the salute and from where a loyal address will be delivered.

And there is already excellent support for one of the other main events - The Big Sunday Lunch - with over 120 places already booked.

Most importantly, I think it will be a great coming together  for the whole town.

‘You will never believe this...’

WITH Lyme Regis Town Council advertising for a new works manager (salary £22k to £26k), a move not wholly condusive with these days of austerity and public sector cut-backs,  much of the talk among some of the non-councillor contingent at the Mayor’s Civic Evening on Friday was that a leading councillor had applied for the job.

I found this hard to believe but one former councillor present was adamant this was the case.

But the electorate of Lyme can rest assured that a councillor is not able to vote in favour of creating such a new position, and perhaps help to write the job description and then get the job himself (Oops! That narrows it down a bit).

I have it on good authority that the rules of local government say that a councillor has to be off the council for at least a year before applying for a council job.

However, it gave rise to one of those “you’ll never believe this” type of conversations that appeal to sad souls like myself at such occasions.

Not to be forgotten

LAST week I wrote with great sadness in this column of the passing of three great Lyme characters - Beryl Derrick, Frank Sansom and Freddie Smith.

This week we carry an obituary of another one - former postie Dave Tappin, a man with a great sense of humour whose presence lightened and enhanced all occasions. 

We will not forget him.


I HAVE written many times in this column about the annual civic evenings hosted by the mayor. It’s one of my favourite social occasions and I have attended virtually every one since the late sixties when the annual civic ball, as it was known in those days, was staged by former Alderman Douglas Fortnam and his wife Lydia, two of the most elegant of Lyme First Citizens.

Friday’s civic evening, hosted by Sally Holman and her sister mayoress Jane Whittington, saw an eclectic mix of town representatives come together for a scrumptious buffet prepared by Golf Club chef Jon Leeming and his staff and the opportunity to chew the fat about matters civic and otherwise. 

It also provides the only get together of the year for former mayors and we always have a photo taken, although this year we were one short with Owen Lovell soon coming to the end of a three month world cruise.

Sally Holman’s policy at her civic night has always been to give a local project or organisation the chance to make a presentation to the town’s movers and shakers. On this occasion that opportunity fell to LymeNet with Lucy Campbell and Liz Davis outlining the services provided by the community learning centre, highlighting their continual struggle for funding.

The occasion also offers the opportunity for the mayor to invite other civic guests from the area to enjoy a bit of Lyme hospitality.

On this occasion the Mayor and Mayoress of Bridport, Councillor and Mrs David Rickard, were presented along with West Dorset District Council chairman Gillian Summers, accompanied by former Bridport mayor Geoff Ackerman, a great friend of Lyme. The mayor-elect of Portland, Councillor Sylvia Bradley, was also present.

I always think it is a shame we don’t extend an invitation to civic guests from across the Devon border.  It’s always nice to welcome our Dorset guests, but we have far more in common with Axminster than we do with Portland. No offence to Portland intended, of course.

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