Civic Service

Today was Jessica’s civic service, which is essentially a church service designed for the new Mayor to have her or his work blessed by the church. It harks back to a time when religion played more of a role in civic life than it does today (although it is still more of an active part than you might think). Its also an occasion to dress up and celebrate a great achievement with friends and family.

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Holy Trinity Church

We were chauffeured to the church (Holy Trinity, Pontnewydd) and were escorted to our seats by the church wardens, where we engaged in many hymns and the usual prayers of exultation to god. I then gave the following reading from the book of kings:

“The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for it was the greatest and highest place in the kingdom, and there he offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar to god.  

While he was in Gibeon, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and said unto the king, “Ask what you want from me.”

King Solomon answered god by saying, My Lord you have shown great mercy to your servant, David my father, for he walked before you in faithfulness, righteousness, and with uprightness of heart toward You. And You have shown him great kindness in giving him a son to sit on his throne now this day.

Now, O Lord, my God, You have made, me, your servant a king in place of my father David, yet I am still a child, and do not yet know how to go out or come in. And I your servant am in the midst of your people, whom you have chosen. A great people. A people so numerous that they cannot be numbered or counted.

So My Lord God give unto me your servant an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who else is able to judge among so great a people?”

And It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked for such a thing. God said unto him, “Because you have asked this and have not asked for such things as long life or riches or for me to take the lives of your enemies, but you have asked for yourself wisdom so that you may have discernment in your judgement,

I now do according to your words. I have given you a wise and an understanding heart, so that there has never been any like you in the past, and that there shall never come another like you.

And I have also given you that which you have not asked, both riches and honour, so that no kings will compare to you all of your days. And If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments as your father did, then I will lengthen your days.”

Solomon awoke and found it was a dream. But when he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of our Lord. And there he offered up burnt offerings and offerings of peace and fellowship. he made a great banquet for all of his court, friends and followers and did so in the name of the lord.”

After I gave my reading it was followed by another reading from our local Member of Parliament and then a reading by Her Worship The Mayor, then we were treated to a performance by the Pontnewydd Ladies Choir before The Reverend Harald Thomas gave the sermon, there were a few more hymns, the collection plate went around and the national anthems were sung, Thus ending the service.

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Mount Pleasant Hall

We were then bundled back into the car and driven to the reception and break neck speeds, so that Jessica, myself and the Mini Mayoress could greet everybody as they arrived at Mount Pleasant Hall, where the staff and the caterers had done a fantastic job decorating the place to make it, in Marianna’s words, Mum’s special day.DE3ooUOXgAAtsJS.jpg

We were subjected to a lot of photo’s and a lot of small talk, but it really was a wonderful day, marred only by the fact that I didn’t get to take home our tables centrepiece bouquet.

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The Mini Mayoress In Her New Party Frock and Hat (My god I dress my child well)

 

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Going Off My Trolley!

One of the biggest problems facing Northville (The area that I am lucky enough to represent on Cwmbran Community Council) is the plague of abandoned shopping trolley’s that festoon the estate.  Living so close to the Town Centre with seven supermarkets within a quarter of a mile radius, coupled with low car ownership in the area (a problem likely to increase with the number of people set to lose access to motability vehicles) bringing a trolley back when laden with shopping is a sensible thing to do. The problem is people aren’t taking them back, and it really makes the estate look untidy, and really goes against the hard work that many in the community are doing to make Northville a great place to live.

To that end, this morning myself and my colleagues on the borough council, as well as a team from Bron Afon Housing (The main local social housing provider) went out distributing posters to many houses on the estate so that residents can show their dissatisfaction with the current situation and hopefully guilt the culprits into returning their trolleys to the town centre.

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And whilst more plans will be coming to tackle this problem in a more lasting way, hopefully this is a good first step that the community will get behind.

Velothon VIP

Today was the Wales Velothon a, 140 km (87 mile) cycle ride beginning in Cardiff and going through the counties of Caerphilly, Torfaen, Monmouthshire and Newport before finishing back in Cardiff town centre.

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As the route goes through Torfaen, The Mayor and by extension I as her consort were invited to attend the race at the start/ finish line in the VIP section, and as I love going to the VIP and fancy civic functions I was more than happy to attend.

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VIP Pass

Aside from the massive heat it was fantastic to spend a day doing something out of the ordinary and get to be present at an event that means a lot for my country, and sees people from all over the world come to take part, with people coming from as far as Trinidad to compete. And I must say that in the VIP tent was one of the nicest buffets I’ve had since starting as Mayor’s Consort (not that I keep score. Honest.)

Civic Saturday

It has been a long day today, this morning we went to the Mayor of Caerphilly’s Civic Service, A civic service is a church service in which the new mayor is blessed and god is asked to bless the works of the council, its officers and its Mayor, they are often a fancy to do with the good and great of the neighbouring counties in attendance. Jessica’s will be next Sunday, however today’s was a lovely affair taking place at St Sannan’s Church in Bedwellty and unlike some of the civic services I’ve attended was upbeat with a very positive message. After the service there was a reception at Caerphilly Council’s swanky new office outside Ystrad Mynach, however we had to leave after a very short time to head to the next thing.

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St Sannan’s Church

After we picked up Marianna from her grandmother’s house we headed to Pontypool for their big “Party In The Park”, after handing out some stickers to the participants of the costume parade and coaxing Marianna away from all the stalls and entertainment we were off again, but this time headed to Henllys Village Fete.

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The Family At Pontypool Party In The Park

While we were there, in spite of the heat, we had a lovely time, Marianna was spoilt rotten, getting her face painted with glitter, a new ball, a handbag, a custom made headband. After a refreshing drink and a sit down we came home to some Chinese take out and a nice relaxing chill out on the sofa.

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Marianna after having her face painted at Henllys Village Fete

Armed Forces Day

Today was the armed forces day celebrations of Cwmbran Community Council,  I attended in a dual capacity as both Mayors consort and as a community councillor.

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Cllr Alan Jones (TCBC), Cllr Stuart Ashley (TCBC CCC), Cllr Anthony Bird (CCC), Her Worship The Mayor of Torfaen Jessica Powell (TCBC) and The Mini Mayor Of Torfaen Marianna Bird

It was a lovely service and a beautiful day, and thankfully it was over pretty quickly, because the sun was really beating down fiercely, and wearing a suit and the chains of office was a little too much.

It certainly was the perfect day to pay tribute to the men and women who make up our armed forces and as always the Salvation Army band and the reverend leading the service were both superb and it was nice to see children from the local schools not just in attendance but leading the national anthems. Cwmbran Community Council always puts on a good event (I’m not just saying that as a member of Cwmbran Community Council) and the council’s officers had done an amazing job organising this flag raising ceremony, it was also a pleasure to see so many councillors both from Cwmbran Community Council and from Torfaen County Borough Council.  And as always I consider it a privilege to attend as the representative for Northville.

The Big Event

Today was the day of Cwmbran’s Big Event, hosted by Cwmbran Community Council (for which I am a councillor) and Torfaen County Borough Council (for which I am the Mayor’s official consort). The event itself showcases the best of Cwmbran, from entertainment and music, to fun and games, and highlights the works of local businesses, charities, community groups and even the council itself. I was there in both capacities as Mayors consort and as a community councillor. It was very nice to get to see the good work that is going on in Cwmbran.

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Marianna And I outside the Mon and Brec Canal tent

Marianna went down a storm especially as she had her own Mayoral chain, she enjoyed herself, except being somewhat frightened, and by somewhat frightened I mean pants wettingly terrified, of the Torfaen Play mascot TJ Bear. We then moved over to watch the finals of the raft race on the lake where Marianna and her mother got hand out the trophy to the winning team the Parkrun Pirates.

Also, and possibly best of all I picked up enough free pens to last me a year, and I get through a lot of pens, seriously a lot of pens.