Prior to being elected as Mayor, I thought I already had a reasonably good idea about the great work done in and around this town by the various groups, both voluntary and professional. Indeed, having had a hand in many of these groups myself, I might have been forgiven for thinking that I had seen most of what this town has to offer.
However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. These first months have opened my eyes to whole new sectors of the town and its achievements, both great and small, as well as reinforcing my admiration for those groups that I was already aware of. Below are a few of the highlights from them.
The first event that I was privileged to attend was an emotive one, both for myself and my Mayoress, Amy Sewell as it was an awareness exhibition that shed light on the trials and tribulations of those who suffer with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other similar conditions.
This is a condition that I am familiar with, both in my experiences of a former councillor who suffered from it, as well as Amy herself.
The exhibition itself was fascinating, but greater still was the appreciation of the work being done at Time for Health (the hosts) in order to help people who suffered from it.
With a mixture of yoga and exercise classes, specifically tailored to match the pace that attendees can achieve, it helps these individuals to grow in confidence and to spend time with other people who have shared their experiences and can give each other advise.
In a very different capacity, one event that I was particularly pleased by was the opening meeting held by the new ‘One St Ives’ group.
This group is made up of stakeholders from various different organisations, including the Town Council, the Town Team, SITI and a number of local businesses, aimed at improving the collaboration between them. There have been some fractious and divided approaches in the town in recent years, and this has been a real effort to help unite them for the benefit of all.
Part of my role as Mayor is also to help welcome new groups to the town. One such group was the Huntingdonshire Speakers Forum.
This group, which meets regularly in the town, is a part of Toastmasters International and helps to coach people to improve their public speaking ability. This is a magnificent resource to people of all ages within the town, whether they are practicing to develop their career prospects or simply trying to build up some self-confidence. It was a very warm, comforting and supportive space that I would recommend to anyone.
Not all of the events are based in St Ives, although they often have St Ivian interests.
In June, RAF Wyton played host the regiments from throughout the Royal Engineers for the Sappers Games. Our very own 42 regiment, who were granted the Freedom of the Town last year, were competing against their fellow regiments.
To our great pride, they managed to win the overall tournament, as well as a number of the more prestigious contests, for which I convey our heartfelt congratulations.
I also want to give a special shout-out to the St Ives Rangers grass-roots football club, who have gone from strength to strength in recent years. I was delighted to attend their football tournament, to which thousands of children arrived from towns far and wide, and hand out a number of the medals (many of which went to St Ives teams!).
They also gave a very committed performance during the Carnival Parade, which rightly earned them their trophy at the end of it.
The upcoming months are also looking like they are going to be busy, and I am greatly looking forward seeing more of what this town has to offer and lending my support to those whom I can.
We also look forward to welcoming a delegation of visitors from our twin town of Stadtallendorf in October for the Michaelmas Fair.
It is a part of my mission this year to help improve our links and relationship between the two towns and this visit will hopefully go some way to help achieve that.
Particular highlights coming up include the Illuminated Boat Parade, the Jazz and Blues Festival and all of the Christmas activities, along with my own Mayor’s Charity Quiz Night in September.