Lord Mayors Diary: It’s auf wiedersehen from me after a trip to see our twin city
It is with a tinge of sadness I write this diary entry, my last one, as my mayoral year soon draws to an end. And what a year it has been! One full of fun, with many poignant moments too, which I will forever remember.
I'm most grateful to all the people I have had the opportunity to meet; most of all the children, who ask the most difficult and refreshing questions.
So, what have I been up to the last few weeks?
Great Yarmouth Easter fair
One of the most exciting events of the Great Yarmouth civic year is the annual opening of the Easter fair, and this year was no exception. After a wonderful lunch of the best fish and chips, we started the celebrations with a procession through the streets to the fairground.
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As happened in the recent King's Lynn Mart, the welcome speeches and blessing were
made on the dodgems, followed by the civics' race. Having experienced this before I wasn't going to be outdone, so invited a professional – our civic driver – to take the wheel, much to the amusement of the mayor of Great Yarmouth.
- 1 Norwich firm fined £1m over explosion which killed much-loved father
- 2 'Sneaky and selfish' changes to bus route slammed
- 3 Man appears in court over Thorpe St Andrew murder
- 4 Inconvenience store: Family business blighted by roadworks
- 5 Man found in city flat named at inquest
- 6 Eyesore tags or street art? Artists on graffiti 'tagging' trend
- 7 ‘Now is NOT the time’: Bosses’ backlash over congestion charge idea
- 8 Hungry and helpless: Rough sleepers' fears ahead of harsh winter
- 9 Villagers' outrage as trees and hedges axed in ongoing battle
- 10 Driver dies in crash on A47
This was followed by a tour
of the fair, where I displayed
my abysmal shooting skills. One of the stallholders took pity on me, however, and generously donated the biggest teddy bear on the stall to me for a raffle prize in aid of our civic charity – It's On The Ball.
At the end of March, I had the honour to visit Koblenz, in central Germany, one of our twin cities. The visit helped cement the relationship that we have and renew acquaintance with the Burgermaster (a title of office comparable to a mayor) who visited Norwich last May.
I was delighted to find that the city is very much like Norwich with its cobbled streets and castle rising above the centre, as well as an impressive new library and museum, much like our beloved Forum, where an iconic modern building brings a mix of new with old. After a visit to Koblenz's City Hall and Council Chamber was a visit to the Burgermaster's parlour and an interesting talk about the history of the city and its long association with Norwich.
It was wonderful to find out how our two cities are very similar in our make-up and traditions. I half expected to see our very own Kemp's Men to appear from around the corner.
Included in our visit was a private viewing of the castle and an exhibition which had an amazing collection of uniforms and a reconstruction of life within the walls.
Also on show was the biggest cannon ever made, which, to my surprise, had been taken into battle but never been fired.
The long drive back to the Netherlands for our ferry home gave me lots of opportunity to reflect on the wonderful friendships and memories that had been made on the trip.
Civic charity, It's on the Ball
Recently, more than 180 people came together in Brandon to enjoy a day hosted by Eriswell Shooting Club in support of testicular cancer charity, It's on the Ball.
The event, organised by regular shooters Heather and David Pointer, was attended by people of all ages and abilities.
Heather is a well-known figure in the shooting community, having won a world championship in New Zealand some years ago. A wonderful day was had by all. Representatives of the club visited me in the parlour afterwards and delighted the charity and civic team by very generously donating the amount of £2,934, which far exceeded our expectations. This money will really make a difference to the work being done to inform people about the importance of self-examination to combat testicular cancer.
I had the greatest pleasure in judging an Easter bonnet competition on Good Friday for NANSA. This proved very difficult, as all the children had worked very hard and made some of the best hats I have ever seen. Luckily, despite the large number of entries, there were enough sweets for everyone to have a prize. First prize went to a young man who had a hat with Shaun the Sheep on top.
St George's Day parade
Sunday 23 April dawned dull and rainy, but by the afternoon the sun was out and it was with great pleasure that I greeted the Scouts at The Forum prior to their march to the Chapelfield Methodist Church for their annual award service.
It was wonderful to see all the young people who were so enthusiastic and hear about their achievements. So that is a summary of just some of the things I have been up to in recent weeks. In those coming, one event which I'm very much looking forward to will be the colourful mayor-making ceremony where the Sheriff and I hand over the very great civic honour to David Walker and David Fullman.
My deepest thanks to all who have made this year so