Why I will never forget my year serving the town

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As many of you may know I’ve had the fantastic privilege of being Deputy Mayor of Calderdale this last municipal year with my husband Peter as Consort.

Like most people I imagine, I previously had scant knowledge of the mayoralty and its function, and was therefore fairly ambivalent as to its value. Now having experienced it first-hand I’m convinced of its importance in boosting civic pride and bringing the opportunity for Calderdale’s citizens to be thanked and recognised for the excellent work they do to enhance our area.

Crowds gather for the opening of the new play area at The Stray

Crowds gather for the opening of the new play area at The Stray

Of course it’s key to the role to have a ‘borough wide’ outlook and there’s no doubt that Calderdale has much to be proud of with its wonderful diversity of towns, villages and rural and urban areas which we were delighted to find out more about. However, there’s absolutely no doubt that Brighouse – including of course Rastrick, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe - is an absolute jewel in Calderdale’s crown! It hosted many outstanding events too many to mention, but I’d like to share memories of a few.

Brighouse Charity Gala continues to be a highlight in our town’s calendar and it was a thrill to see so many familiar faces amongst the crowds which turn out annually to support it, whatever the weather.

The event holds such fond memories for so many of us brought up here ... the excitement of watching the procession and following on to the park as a child, perhaps being on a float or shaking a collecting bucket in fancy dress, or maybe of proudly marching the parade route in the town’s former youth bands.

Even occasions which are formal and sombre in their nature can be simultaneously uplifting - and Remembrance Day at Rastrick was one such example. What was so striking for me that day was how every generation was so well represented.

Brighouse Charity Gala 2012. Gala Queen Emilie Large officially crowned by deputy mayor of Calderdale Coun Christine Beal

Brighouse Charity Gala 2012. Gala Queen Emilie Large officially crowned by deputy mayor of Calderdale Coun Christine Beal

A hundred or more children and young people attended who were an absolute credit to our often unjustly maligned youth. They were clearly not there to pay lip service, but were truly engaged in what was happening and it was heartening to leave feeling that Remembrance Day is safe in the hands of our future generations.

The opening of the new playground at Lightcliffe Stray stands out as a wonderful example of Council, community and other partners coming together to make a difference and bring improvements. Despite the very blustery weather that day it was clear to see how much enjoyment local children will get from the fabulous new equipment now available to them.

The same day saw us at Sandholme Fold Residential Care Home at its Jubilee fund-raising open day for Overgate Hospice.

It was a privilege to meet staff, residents, families and guests and to feel the lovely atmosphere at the home which is clearly an ongoing feature there.

It also resulted in one of my favourite pictures (shown) kindly shared with me by freelance photographer Gordon Wilkinson – yet another lovely person we’ve got to know in this process - of my meeting with one of Sandholme’s residents.

We will always be truly grateful for the chance to serve the borough in this way and would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone we’ve met in the course of our mayoral duties who’ve made it such a pleasure.

It has been an incredibly humbling insight into the amazing work carried out daily in our borough by our fantastic residents.