Published: 30 August 2019
This my first sitrep since becoming Mayor in May. I think I have just about managed to keep up with a host of engagements, while juggling furiously with work commitments in London and duties as a flying instructor.
The wonderful thing about being Mayor of Sevenoaks is that one is given a privileged opportunity to witness at first hand all the fantastic work that local residents are doing – very often on a voluntary basis – to support our local community. The best thing the Mayor gets to do is to say ‘thank you’ to those who selflessly give up their time to help other people or to make Sevenoaks a better place to live. Without our volunteers, we would be enormously worse off. I would urge anyone who wants to do something special in their spare time to look for an opportunity, large or small, to get stuck in. You will feel better about yourself and you will win peoples’ respect – including that of the Mayor!
Over the past three months I have visited schools, care homes, Stag theatre performances, scout events, nature
reserves, allotments and play parks. I have cut ribbons at fetes and charity events, opened the Sevenoaks Summer Festival and given out prizes at the Three Arts Festival and Sevenoaks in Bloom. Stand-out memories have been: setting off hundreds of walkers into the teeth of pouring rain in support of Hospice in the Weald. A great show of British grit in the face of truly awful weather. I was very moved by Spadework, a garden centre near Borough Green that is supported by an army of volunteers with learning disabilities. This week, I sat down with one of the co-founders of The Lewis Project, a charity born out of personal tragedy, that looks to support individuals with mental health issues through collective music projects, which meets every Monday at the STC-supported House in the Basement at the Stag.
There have been scary moments too, such as when I was challenged by a 6-year old girl to climb up and then tumble down a very steep bouncy castle slide with my chain on!
I hosted a very successful cocktail evening on the Vine in support of my own charities: SSAFA, the Air Cadets and the Stag. We had amazing support from the local business community and I would like to thank again the teams at Wagamama, Santander Bank and Tonbridge Old Fire Station, as well as the Vine Cricket Club for supplying the venue and
On a sad note, I should pay tribute to the Second World War and D-Day veteran Pat Moore, who died a couple of weeks ago. Many of you will know Pat. Not only was he a hero, but he was also a staunch member of our local community. He was an active member of the Royal British Legion – and was always there to help commemorate those who fell during the World Wars. He was proud to have had the strength to visit France during the recent 75th anniversary D-Day celebrations – where he met both Prime Minister Theresa May and President Macron. Not only did the French award him the Legion of Honour, but during this visit the residents of Graye-sur-Mer named a local school after him. Pat also devoted himself to the Sevenoaks branch of Mencap for over 30 years. I last spoke to Pat when he attended my mayoral Civic Service at St Thomas’s church. I can report that he had a twinkle in his eye to the end. So, as Mayor, it is my honour to say “Thank You Pat” – and to all the other residents of Sevenoaks who continue to make it the wonderful town that it is.
Cllr. Nicholas Busvine OBE