Mayormaking May 10th 2004
Mayor Cllr Andrew Dyke
Town Hall, Market Square, Evesham, Worcestershire. U.K.
Deputy Chairman of Wychavon District Council, Honoured guests, Fellow councillors, Ladies and Gentlemen.
About a year ago, when it was first announced that I was going to be the Mayor of Evesham, I had comments ranging from, Well done, Congratulations, Good on yer, to, …..Couldn’t they find anybody else? ………………..It started to make me think, Is the Mayoral role all pomp and fancy dinners. We all know what the Mayor does, but in this day and age why do we need one, what is the Mayor for?
In the Council Chamber behind me, on the wall, are 9 boards listing the names of previous Mayor’s of Evesham. They date back to 1605. This Mayoral year celebrates 400 years of history, from the time, when the then Prince of Wales, first gave Evesham its Market charter. In those early years, the Mayor was someone to be trusted, to take a lead, to have responsibility for the town’s people and it’s property. …………The role of the Mayor, in that respect, has not changed, although today, the Mayor has to be a little more politically correct, than 4 centuries ago. Evesham has changed dramatically over those years, however some things stay the same, I understand in the 18th century, on a Saturday afternoon, the horse and cart traffic jams in the high street, were horrendous.
History is important, it allows us to celebrate and commemorate, it helps us to remember and it gives us hindsight, a wonderful thing………………
We hear a lot these days about centralisation and regional government. Party Politics can sometimes get in the way of what’s best for Evesham. A local Mayor, supported by local councillors, is a central figure, one who can bat on Evesham’s wicket and put forward the case for what’s best for our town, not what’s best for the national politicians. That is why we have, and need, a Mayor today, and I would like to think, still will have, for many years to come.
So to the future, Mr Rob Allen, a Gentleman, and our first Mayor, could not possibly have imagined, how life would be today. We communicate at the speed of light, the internet lets us see what is happening anywhere in the world at any given second, this technology we must embrace. As Mayor, I intend to promote Evesham via this and other media, to encourage visitors to our town, to persuade businesses to come here and to support the towns increasing population……. A healthy, local economy, will benefit us all.
I am grateful to Summit 7, for providing the technical know how which will make Evesham more visible via a Mayor of Evesham.co.uk website..…………..and, to start at the beginning, smile please.
This is the picture that was taken at this point in the speech, by the Mayor
Traditionally, the Mayor promotes and gathers money for charity. This year will be no exception and I am happy to announce my charities are Disabled Afloat Riverboat Trust and Riverside Shopmobility. Dart make it possible for persons with any sort of disability to enjoy a river holiday. They are in the process of raising £150,000 to refit their existing barge……… Riverside Shopmobility, provide the means for those with mobility problems to get to the shops with the minimum of fuss. I would like to think in the next 12 months we can raise enough money to buy them a new scooter. Who knows, one day I may need it.
Any Mayor needs support and help and I am extremely pleased that Wendy, my wife, has agreed to be Evesham’s Mayoress and will accompany me thoughout the year. She tells me it’s going to be a year for hats.
I am delighted, The Reverend Richard Armitage, Vicar of Evesham and Norton with Lenchwick, has agreed to be my Chaplain. The Civic service will be held on May 23rd. I am grateful to Evesham’s experienced Macebearers Tony Whiting and Arthur Fryer. Both will be in office for the next 12 months, as will our Town Crier, John Raphael
Honoured guest’s, Ladies and Gentlemen. In conclusion, I am very privileged and proud that my fellow councillors have elected me to the office of Mayor of Evesham. I will not let them, or you, down. I have every confidence, the next 12 months will be, interesting, educational, exciting, and on occasions bumpy. It will however, be one heck a of a ride!
Following the ceremony, a reception was held in the Public Hall, Market Square, Evesham.
During the ceremony Mr Mike Edwards, Evesham's Poet, performed one of his famous Mayoral poems.
It goes like this
"THE MAKING OF A MAYOR"
"A SHREDDED HISTORY"
The gentleman in question
Wishes me to make it clear,
In case malicious gossip
Or rumours should appear,
That I tell all those assembled
Ere this poem I begin
Little Hampton is his Council Ward
NOT the ward we found him in!
Andrew Leo Dyke,
Born July of ‘fifty two,
In Welwyn Garden City
Which, to folk like me and you,
Means ‘Shredded Wheat’ for breakfast,
Indeed ‘Shredded Wheat’ each morn.
Three at a time his father ate
Nine months ‘fore he was born!
He has a sister ‘Sheila’,
Slightly older shall I say,
But the thing that one should never do –
Give a lady’s age away!
In fact where numbers are concerned
I would not break this rule,
As I can’t be sure he’s got it right
Thinking of his days at school.
School days had barely started
When young Andrew saw his chance
To have another day off
And to lead the staff a dance.
"Leave the room!" his teacher said –
And probably much more!
So Dyke kept up the leaving
Till he reached his own front door.
"Eleven plus?? – You’re joking!
Don’t waste paper and the time.
God knows where he will end up.
Could be a life of crime!"
Five G.C.S.E’s – middle score,
Except Grade two in Art.
"Those drawings on the toilet wall!
Did Dyke have any part?"
At sixteen, leaving school behind,
Now London worker in Bond Street;
The firm was ‘Wallace Heaton’
Where, to make his dreams complete,
He could say to any teachers
Who might chance to pass his way
"Oh, we sent the Queen’s ‘Box Brownie’
To the Palace yesterday!"
A brown smock in the stock room
Then looking smarter in the shop;
Assistant manager in Cardiff,
So mother’s cooking had to stop.
He took lodgings with Miss Wiggins;
Seven guineas every week.
With FULL BOARD ON A SUNDAY
He was on a winning streak!
Ah, Miss Wiggins, dear Miss Wiggins,
T’was not your cooking let you down,
Nor any charms – such as they were.
He left for Cheltenham Town.
‘Cavendish House’ – a ‘Heaton’s’ branch:
Manager if you please,
And there he had a ‘heart attack’
Which brought him to his knees!
Well! It brought him down on one knee
When this girl came through the door.
"I can sell you films and cameras;
I can give you so much more.
I will bring you fame and fortune.
Well, I’ll do my best for fame.
Just say that we’ll be married.
By the way – what IS your name?"
Said she "My name is Wendy
And ‘Yes’ – I’ll marry you.
We’ll honeymoon in Banbury;
Not one day off – take two."
Thus it was they moved to Bath
When ‘Heatons’ were no more
For now the name was "Dixons"
That blazed forth above the door.
From Bath they moved to Portsmouth
Where both their sons were born.
Andrew’s dad to Andrew said "It’s
‘Shredded Wheat’ for you each morn."
Then Wendy said – as well she might –
"It’s very plain to me
That before we raise a football team
There’s no more eating three!"
He had a spell in ‘Tescos’
But that didn’t last so long
And M.I.5. aren’t telling
Just what it was went wrong.
Then he got a job in Liverpool,
Without the chance to skip,
‘Cause ‘Intercity Cameras’
Kept a watch on every ship!
How many times he’s changed his jobs
And changed his homes as well.
If I gave you all those details
We’d be here for quite a spell!
He arrived at last in Stratford
Where, as Evesham folk would say,
"It isn’t such a bad place
To go somewhere for a day."
So, here he is in Evesham.
As its Mayor will he be slow?
I mean – it took him half a life time
To find the best place he could go!
‘That Camera Place’ in Bridge Street;
If you need him find him there.
He tells me there are two more –
But he didn’t tell me where.
Now why is that I wonder?
Do you think that he just might
Climb aboard that narrow boat of his
And quietly vanish in the night?
Disguised with pipe and muffler
He could go where e’er he choose.
He need never step ashore for days.
It’s his boast it has two ‘loos’.
Would he ever need to do that?
Has the wanderlust all gone?
When the wild geese start to migrate
Will he join them and move on?
I think not and in thinking
I have hopes that I’m correct.
He said the Council cooked his goose
When they made him Mayor elect.
Be assured that he will do his best,
That he’ll work for all concerned.
The fires of public service
Have seen his last bridge burned.
He has his wife and family
And hobbies quite a few;
A business that is flourishing.
No scene, as yet, to view
Of a rocking chair and slippers
Though perhaps there could be more
Like tiny feet, their pitter pat
As they run in through his door.
Will he say to sons "If granddad
And a grannie you would see,
‘Shredded Wheat’s’ a great tradition,
But be sure that you EAT THREE!"
A final thought I offer now.
Ah me! What’s in a name?
Evesham and the Netherlands.
What chance lies here for fame?
A little boy saved Holland,
(What a memory you have, Mike!)
Yes, he saved his land from flooding
With his finger – IN THE DYKE!!
Written at the request of, and duly approved by, one Andrew Leo Dyke for his election as Mayor of Evesham.