Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry
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Melksham Civic Awards - report and pictures

Mayor and Town CrierFriday Night was the Mayor's Reception - an event to which all the dignitaries from neighbouring towns are invited (and they turn up in full regalia), and at which civic awards are handed out. I received an invite and attended as a representative of the Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Whilst I was delighted to be invited, and to accept and represent The Chamber, I will admit to not being a great fan of events that go on late into the evening with music - however good - that drowns out talk, and dancing which - with two left feet - I really can't get pleasure personally from.

However, I was very agreeably surprised by the event. It was well organised, it provided a good opportunity to honour some of the people and groups who have quietly done really good things for the town over the past year, and it provided a needed chance to catch up with some of the people we don't see often, and to meet new people for the (hopefully) common good into the future.


Sion Bretton, with a presentation for the Melksham Railway Development GroupOne of the Civic Awards was made to the Melksham Railway Development Group - with the Mayor (Councilor Rod Eaton) describing how the group promoted rail travel last year, with really successful trains to the seaside at Weymouth in the summer, and a trip with Santa in the lead up to Christmas. The award was accepted by one of the stalwarts of the group - Sion Bretton, who's their secretary (and I would like to add a mention of honour for the group's chairman, Peter Blackburn and for John Money their appropriately named treasurer).

Because of a personal interest, I'm very much aware of just how much the rail groups have achieved in the last year. I have no doubt that each of the other 7 award recipients has also done a very great deal in their field - that's a strength of Melksham. I am going to mention Andrew Morgan, too, who has been deputy Town Clerk for several years. Andrew's moving to Cornwall and Friday was his last evening. Staff are not eligible for awards, and so it was really good to see Rod giving a special "Thank You" to Andrew who will be a very hard act to follow. Andrew - all the best for the future.


Mayor's Reception, 2012It must be very difficult to get the balance right when planning an event such as this. Many of the attendees were guests of honour, and the Civic Award winners were also honoured guests, which means that it would be rather cheeky to ask them to pay (and indeed, chances are that many would elect not to attend). But on the other hand, costs can be high for an event with a meal, wine, a band, hall hire and the rest, and if it's not being paid for by the honoured guests, then either the remaining guests or the organisers (the Town Council, funded by the local taxpayers) must pay. And I have misgivings about the taxpayer funding a "jolly".

It must be difficult to get the balance right - but I think the Town Council team did get it right. The hall in which the event was held was their own. The food was a Hog Roast, followed by a simple cake and cream - excellent food, but pork in a bun followed by a slice of cake isn't like giving away a full meal which would be more traditional for a dinner / dance type event. And although drinks were provided to accompany the main course, the pay bar was open for supplements. And non-honoured guests *did* pay £15.00 for their places at the event.


Mayors receptionCome mid-evening, the lights were lowered, the band struck up, and (sorry !) all chance of conversation ceased. I like music - but not that loud - each to his or her own taste. But if that's what it takes to pull in the people who are needed to make the earlier business part of the evening, so be it.

With two anxious dogs at home (Billy is still settling in and shouldn't be left for too long), we made our apologies and left - wishing everyone else a good time through to carriages at midnight. I would have said "we left quietly", except that we had to run the gauntlet of smokers clustering around the front door and, interestingly, continuing their networking. But we feel very much amongst friends who know us here, and really there's no need for us to sneak out. Our friends are very much aware of our "lark" rather than "owl" lifestyles, and know that we're up at the crack of dawn to walk the dogs.

(written 2012-01-29, updated 2012-02-04)

 
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