Mr Mayor's Diary: September 2006
4 September 2006
The Mayoress and I were on holiday during the first two weeks of September and so we did not undertake any Mayoral engagements.
Thursday 14 September
Our first engagement since our holiday was to entertain the young people who were successful participants in the Citizenship Project organised by the Rotary Club of Walkden, in the Parlour. We had met these young people from seven Salford High Schools at the competition in July at Maxwell Hall, Salford University. They had enjoyed the competition very much and made new friends from different schools. They were delighted to come to the Mayor’s Parlour and kindly signed our visitors’ book.
Later, we played host to another group of young people who had worked on the “Gifted and Talented Salford Newspaper”. We had read the newspaper already, which was very interesting and contained lots of good news about young people’s activities in Salford – and there is plenty of this good news! The standard of the newspaper was very high both for photographs and journalism. Perhaps we have a new generation of Salford Journalists in the making. Let’s hope they take their positive attitude and humour into their future careers.
It had been a heartening day so far, celebrating great stuff from at least one hundred young people from our city in one day!
During the evening we met a group of adults from the Swinton Town Twinning Forum along with visitors from Lunen in Germany, one of our twin towns. This group consisted mainly of young people from Lunen who have come to stay with host families in Swinton. They were made very welcome by Salford young people and they in turn will welcome Salford youngsters to Lunen later in the year. This Twinning relationship has been going on for 40 years thanks to the adult enthusiasts and volunteers who have given their time to fostering the link. They tell us that the twinning has opened their eyes to a wider world and enabled others to benefit from the broadening of their cultural experience.
Friday 15 September
We attended an administration meeting at the Civic Centre and then travelled to meet Colonel Brian Gorski at Wellington Barracks in Bury. We were joined there by most of the other Mayors of the Greater Manchester Boroughs. We were given a tour of the very interesting Lancashire Fusilier Museum where we saw many artefacts and pictures connected with Salford, followed by lunch in the Officers’ Mess. It was a very enjoyable visit and I am keen to visit again in the future.
Sunday 17 September
Today was Battle of Britain Day and we began by attending a special service to commemorate this at the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Church Road, Eccles. This church has a special window dedicated to the Air Training Corp annual commemoration service.
On a lighter note, we went along to join the fun with visitors to Victoria Park, Manchester Road, Swinton, at their Friendship Day. We admired the bandstand, which is now used quite regularly and we were entertained by clowns and magicians. The Friends of Victoria Park have been very active and successful in securing improvements in the park facilities for the local community; long may they continue.
We left Victoria Park and travelled the short distance to the cenotaph at the Civic Centre in Swinton for the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Day Parade. This was attended by a faithful group of people who keep this day every year. We were joined by a number of passers-by who seemed to wonder what was going on.
Monday 18 September
We began the day as guests of Survivors in Salford celebrating, with Shaping Our Lives, “International Splat Day” which was celebrating diversity of cultures within disability. We enjoyed a lovely buffet and shared poetry and experiences with the members.
In the evening, we joined the Mayor and Mayoress of Rossendale and other local mayors at a charity evening at Marios Restaurant, Rossendale. It was a very enjoyable and successful evening for the Mayor of Rossendale’s charities.
Tuesday 19 September
The day began with the Salford Disability Open Forum held at Buile Hill Park Banqueting Suite. This was one of a series of open forums held throughout the year, to bring together many people and different types of disability to air their views and share their expertise to improve the lives of all disabled people IN Salford. I had the privilege of opening the day’s proceedings and then of listening to an address by Baroness Chapman. Baroness Chapman is the first person with a congenital disability to be appointed to the House of Lords. Born in Leeds in 1961, she was one of the first people with brittle bone disease to survive birth. After a very challenging time obtaining a full-time education followed by work initially as a volunteer tutor with young offenders, she eventually obtained permanent employment with the local Leeds council, working ultimately as a tutor in an adult education centre. Amongst other things, she is Chair of the management committee of the Leeds Centre for Integrated Living and campaigns tirelessly for access to a full life at all levels for disabled people. She has a great sense of humour and kept us all very amused throughout her talk.
The open forum discussed many issues relating to living with a disability and we were humbled by the enthusiasm, the humour and sheer courage of many of the people we met.
We were guest of the Greater Manchester West County Scout Council in the evening for their Annual General Meeting held at the John Alker Memorial Hall, Flixton. We met scouts and scout leaders from all over the northwest and many from Salford. Following the meeting, we were entertained by the excellent music of the 3rd Davyhulme Band and a presentation by the 2007 Jamboree Contingent who are preparing for the World Jamboree of Scouting which will be held in England next year.
Wednesday 20 September
Today I opened the Fourth Environment Open Day held on the lawns outside the Civic Centre. This was attended by 17 primary schools, 2 high schools and one college and we were entertained by musicians and singers from MAPAS (Music and Performing Arts in Salford). Councillor Maureen Lea, Lead Member for Environment Services launched the Tobacco Control Strategy 2006-10, the result of partnership work between your Council and the Primary Care Trust. We learned also about fire safety, the work of PCSO’s, recycling, customer contact centre, Red Rose Forest and had the mayoral car – RJ1 – tested for its emissions. I am pleased to say RJ1 passed the test!
This was followed by a lunch in the Mayor’s Parlour for Sister Mary Patrick of the Cross and Passion Community, who had won this month’s Mayor’s Citizen’s Award for her voluntary work while in retirement herself in setting up, and running for 15 years, the Elizabeth Prout Centre which can be found on Bury New Road in Broughton and offers art and drama classes and writers’ workshops to retired women. Many of the members are alone and in their seventies and eighties and the Elizabeth Prout Centre has been their lifeline.
The award was made in the council chamber immediately before the monthly council meeting which I then chaired.
Thursday 21 September
We attended a Crown Green Bowling Competition at St Mary’s Park, St Mary’s Road, Walkden. This is an annual competition and there were many entrants. It was a beautiful afternoon, quite warm, and we thoroughly enjoyed watching the members battle it out in pairs for the prizes. What a lovely club and friendly welcome we received!
Councillor John Warmisham had very kindly organised a Charity Quiz Night at Buile Hill Park Banqueting Suite, the proceeds from which (£346) went to my charity fund for my four charities (mentioned elsewhere). There were 19 teams and competition fierce but fun. The winners were a group of councillors whom we suspect are quiz “professionals”; we’re promising to handicap them next time. Perhaps it’s time for them to “get a life”!
Friday 21 September
We attended an administration meeting at the Civic Centre and then made our way to Bolton for the Bolton Grandma of the Year Awards at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton. These awards were combined with a charity lunch for the Mayor of Bolton’s Charities. We had a lovely time, the winning grandma being someone who not only was grandma to her own grandchildren but to a whole school where she worked!
Well, we followed the lovely lunch with an evening dinner, another charity function in aid of Crimestoppers which does so much to reduce crime and the causes of crime in our city. What the Mayoress and I had not realised until tonight, is that Crimestoppers is a Charity. We have met Mrs Khumi Burton, the Chair of Crimestoppers in Greater Manchester on a number of occasions and commend her excellent work for the people of Greater Manchester and their right to live in a crime-free environment. It was a wonderful evening and raised a lot of money to enable this charity to work to achieve this.
Saturday 23 September
We joined members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints from all over the Northwest as they got underway with their annual service project. This year they were focussing on the Learning for Disabled Allotment in Irlam. This comes under the supervision of the Princes Park Garden Workshops but needed a lot of groundwork doing to clear it ready for production by the Princes Park disabled workforce. There were at least 100 volunteers who worked cheerfully and well and within the four hours had not only cleared the allotment as arranged but also supported other local allotment workers by clearing several allotments belonging to sick or otherwise incapacitated members. It was amazing how much got done as a result of good planning and a huge response from the volunteers who were of all ages and included many families. Well done!
In the evening, we attended the Greater Manchester Police Band Concert held at St Peter’s Church, Chorley Road, Swinton. As usual, this annual concert was excellent.
Sunday 24 September
Broughton Fire Station held the Fire Services’ Open day this year. We spent several hours there as did several hundred other people from all over Salford. We watched displays of skill by the firemen and women – rescuing people from crashed cars. We learned how to deal with chip pan fires – turn off the heat, close the doors, evacuate the house and call the fire brigade. We met the sniffer dogs who are trained to find living people in collapsed or burnt out buildings. It was greatly interesting and we recognised that Salford has a first class fire service dedicated to keeping the people of Salford safe.
Monday 25 September
We had a fairly early start at Broadwalk Training Centre, Belvedere Road, Pendleton, for the North West Regional Community Development Conference. Here we met many people we knew involved in local community work as well as many others we did not know from further afield. This conference was very well attended by over 200 Community Development Workers. Unfortunately we had to leave early to get to the Lauch of the children and Young People’s Plan at Salford Civic Centre. The Plan entitled “Every Child Matters” was formally launched in the presence of representatives from most of Salford’s schools. Many young people had contributed to the art work in the plan and they received awards for this. Musicians from MAPAS, drama students from The Swinton High School and “One Voice” the choir from Chatsworth High School entertained the audience very professionally. The Mayoress and I believe there is much to celebrate about young people in our city.
In the evening we attended the Annual General Meeting of St George’s Handicapped and Able-Bodied Club, at Cromwell Road, Pendleton. As president of the Club in my year of office, I was called upon to make a speech. The formality of the meeting over, we shared a supper and enjoyed a game of Bingo. The club has many members who all seem to thoroughly enjoy themselves. Also, new members are very welcome.
Tuesday 26 September
Today we visited the Chetham’s School of Music which is situated near Manchester Cathedral at the Salford end of Deansgate. We, along with other Greater Manchester mayors, were guests of Dame Alexandra Burslem who is the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester this year. Dame Sandra (as she is known) has been a deputy lieutenant for several years and until recently the Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University. She is also Chair of the Governors of Chetham’s School. Hence our visit, which was extremely interesting. The old part of the school dates back to Tudor times and parts of the building to an even earlier period. The medieval library, which is a public one, houses a vast collection of very old books and documents. We had the privilege of looking a medieval atlas. Young students from the school give public concerts each lunchtime and today we were entertained by a young horn player, a pianist (who performed three very complicated and long pieces without a sheet of music!) and a quartet from the sixth form. The talent was very impressive.
Wednesday 27 September
As guests of the Volunteer Centre for Salford, we attended the “Heart of Salford Awards” where, from 66 nominations throughout the city, awards were presented to the outstanding person in each of seven categories and an overall winner. As each person came forward to receive their certificate, Jo Ward, one of the organisers for the day, gave a brief history of the volunteer and their work in the community which had earned the award. The stories were often very moving, as many people had overcome difficulties and hurdles themselves as well as improving life for other people too. One winner had battled with severe and recurrent depression. But this did not stop him from organising football for youngsters in his community – a very successful local football team at that! The overall winner was a lady who had worked with just a few families to help them lead a happier life; though with a handful of families, the difference she made may extend through several generations and has certainly brought an exchange from misery to happiness for the people concerned. The Mayoress and I felt very privileged to attend this day.
Thursday 28 September
We attended the launch of Link Age Plus at Buile Hill Park Banqueting Suite. This was well attended by around two hundred older people, mostly retired who were sharing knowledge about services and interests for older people. There were several presentations and much lively discussion. We look forward to hearing about the progress of this project.
We left this to bury a time capsule at Worsley View in Walkden Raod North. This is a new Wimpey building development and we were joined by Walkden Primary School Children who had helped put things into the capsule which gave an idea of life in Salford in 2006. The capsule is now well and truly buried in the housing development and I believe it will be dug up again in ten years time. I wonder if Walkden Primary school children of 2016 will find much difference!
Friday 29 September
We joined sixth formers at the Bridgewater School, Worsley for their charity coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Nurses. This was very well attended and we enjoyed a delicious cup of tea and coffee and sampled some excellent home-made cakes. It was lovely to see guests from other local schools, particularly a small group of young people from the Pupil Referral Unit who were a credit to themselves and their unit. We hope the event raised a lot of money to fund more Macmillan Nurses. Well done Bridgewater.
After an administration meeting at the Civic Centre, we toured the stands and marquees around the Civic Centre which had been set up to celebrate the annual Democracy Week in the City. Just about every city service was represented and local high schools took part in competition to “Design their Ideal Councillor” and then organised and staged mock elections in the Council Chamber. The young people also met local councillors and Members of Parliament and had the opportunity to talk with them. We hoped to have encouraged some potential councillors and MPs of the future. Anyone who can get themselves elected can do it. All you need is a will to improve life for your community and the support of voters in that community to get you elected. And of course, you need to be over 18!
Next we welcomed most of the “Heart of Salford” volunteer nominees whom we had presented with their awards recently, into the parlour for a reception. It was lovely to meet them all again and have a chance to chat some more with these amazing people. There was lots of laughter and many photos taken.
In the evening we went to Manchester Town Hall to attend a reception to launch Acts of Achievement at the beginning of Black History Month (October). This reception was also attended by many other mayors of Greater Manchester but, more importantly, by many black people who have made outstanding achievement in sport, music, entertainment, art, writing, poetry – to name a few. It was a lovely evening filled with exceptional talent at which we were reminded of the history of black people in this country and in Greater Manchester.
Saturday 30 September
This morning we went to Beech Farm Playing Fields in Swinton where the two football clubs who play there were out in force celebrating the completion of the Drainage Project set up by Salford City Council. There was a tournament and hundreds of youngsters were giving their all in the matches. Hopefully, their newly drained surface will enable continuous play throughout the season! The clubs are run by a veritable army of adults – Beech Farm alone has 50 teams each with a manager and assistant. That’s some dedication!
We went straight from there to the Lancashire Theatre Organ Trust’s newly refurbished building in Alexandra Road, Peel Green for the official opening of the museum and Wurlitzer Organ concert hall. The theatre was full, all attentive to the two organists who kept us entertained with their magnificent playing and great humour. During the interval we were served refreshments by the members of the Methodist Church next door. I unveiled a plaque to celebrate the day and the achievement of all the volunteers in building this magnificent tribute to the theatre organ out of a derelict building and disassembled Wurlitzers!
Sunday 1 October
The Chinese Community was celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional festival in China, with food and fireworks. We joined other mayors of Greater Manchester at the Kwok Man restaurant in Chinatown, Manchester for the celebrations.
Later we travelled to Middleton to attend the Annual Diocesan Mass of the Catholic Fellowship for the Handicapped with which the Mayoress is involved locally in Salford. The Bishop of Salford is the usual celebrant but this year he was away in Spain at a meeting so the mass was celebrated by the Chaplain, Rev Peter Kinsella from St Boniface’s in Broughton. It was great to meet a lot of old friends and we joined them for tea and sandwiches afterwards in the school hall.
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