I feel that I must start this month’s diary with a mention of Bill Baker, our local Tempo FM stalwart who sadly passed away at the end of September. I was privileged to attend his thanksgiving celebration to represent the residents of Wetherby who have listened to Bill over the years, and may well have been on the end of a humorous put down from time to time. His Grumpy Old Men programme on a Saturday morning was one of the highlights of my week! A little humorous look at life and the news with some cracking tunes too. He will be sadly missed by his regular listeners and his family and friends are in our thoughts at this sad time.
Tom and I have visited two centres of excellence in medical care and ongoing support this month, namely St Gemma’s Hospice and the Candlelighters centres in Leeds .At both locations we met dedicated caring and supportive staff of all disciplines doing tremendous work to support patients and their families and carers at a really difficult time in their lives. St Gemma’s gives care to people with life limiting diseases, not just cancer, in a calm and homely environment from all over the Leeds area. Candlelighters work with child cancer patients in Leeds Hospital, and offer support to the whole family while their child/sibling is being treated. They are currently fundraising for The Cottage, a house nearby to the hospital where parents and siblings will be able to stay overnight while their family member is in hospital, sometimes for weeks on end. This is extremely important as patients come to Leeds from all over North and West Yorkshire! Please look at the websites of both of these charities to see what work they do and you may be inspired to get involved in fundraising on their behalf www.st-gemma.co.uk and www.candlelighters.org.uk .
I attended a lively Community Harvest Festival at St James Church, with residents of the various residential homes in the town. The worship leaders put together three or four services each year in a quieter more intimate setting than a large church service, where guests are free to dance and sing, get up and walk about if they wish to and join in with the worship in any way they like. The next service will be nearer to Christmas so look out for it and come along. Everyone is welcome to this inclusive community service.
Talking about Community events, how wonderful has the Wetherby Festival been this year, in its 40th year! I have attended several events in both a personal and mayoral capacity, and would like to record our thanks for all the hard work done by the Wetherby festival committee. There were 33 assorted individual events, and 3 showings of Return to the Forbidden Planet by the Wetherby Musical Theatre group over the 10 days. This takes a huge amount of organisation and we thank all contributors and the audiences who helped to make it such a success. Should you feel motivated to help out in future please contact Robert Haskins via their website www.wetherbyfestival.co.uk
The opening of the new Millennium West Stand at Wetherby Race course was another event that i attended this month. It was widely reported in the Wetherby News last week, but I just wanted to say that it is a lovely building, showing the commitment of the Racecourse Board to invest in the future of the course and indirectly in the town, with employment opportunities for local people secured for years to come.
The early completion of the re-building of the Micklethwaite wall is a great achievement for all concerned from the Management Committee who worked so hard to get the Insurers to get the work approved, to Leeds City Council for the traffic management allowing the work to be undertaken safely, and for the contractors who worked so hard to finish the work early with as little disruption as possible. Thank you to everyone for their patience during this frustrating period.
Finally, as a dog owner myself, I would like to remind all dog walkers who use our lovely parks and footpaths to please pick up after your pet, and keep them on a lead when approaching other dogs and cyclists. We witnessed several near misses on the railway track over the past few days, so please act responsibly so that we can all enjoy the open spaces in our town.