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At the August meeting of the Town Council, Councillor Marianne Westwood was unanimously elected as the new Deputy Town Mayor after Councillor John Dinnie withdrew his nomination for the post in her favour.

This followed the resignation from the council of the previous Deputy Mayor Councillor Sheelagh Saunders and Councillor Peter Cowley for personal reasons.

During the meeting, Councillors paid tribute to each of them for their valuable contributions to the town.

At the Shipston Town Council meeting on 9th August, a group of local young people made an impassioned plea to the assembled Councillors to help save the Youth Club, explaining its importance to the town. Some of the speakers chose to share details of the tremendous adversity they had faced in their lives and the huge value they placed on the support offered by the team of counsellors and other staff at the club. Many of them emphasised that while Shipston may appear an idyllic rural community, there are still many disadvantaged and vulnerable young people who need professional support.

Daniel Pulham, Chair of the Youth Club’s Management Committee, explained that the Youth Club had been given a second notice of eviction by Shipston High School, but they were challenging the authority of the notice. He went on to say that he understood that the current premises might not be appropriate long term, but it was essential that the Youth Club could resume supporting vulnerable young people in the town, and the building at the school is the best and only viable option at present.

Shipston Town Council currently has four Town Councillor vacancies and would like to hear from anyone interested in becoming a community leader by representing the views of Shipston residents.

We are looking for people who would like to become more involved in influencing and shaping the future of our town by improving the environment and services available in Shipston and the surrounding area. Shipston Town Council is an elected body of Councillors, including a Mayor and Deputy Mayor, who are supported by a town clerk and assistant. It is the first tier of government providing services on behalf of the residents of the town.

Formal meetings are held monthly on the second Monday of the month and there are working groups which Councillors are encouraged to join depending on their individual experience and expertise.

Councillor Peter White has been serving on the council for over seven years and is the current chair of the Communications Working Group. “I joined as Councillor to understand more about local government and to work with fellow Councillors to try and improve the town for its residents,” said Peter. “I have a young family and I’m particularly keen to hear from the younger generation on how we can improve the facilities and services available to children and young adults. It is important that young people in Shipston have a voice and are able to discuss their views about what Shipston is like to live in, it would be fantastic to hear from anyone who would like to join as a Councillor to represent the younger population.”

Please feel free to contact any of the current Councillors (see page 11) to discuss what is required for this role and how you may be able to volunteer around your current commitments.

Fay Ivens retired as a Shipston Town Councillor in May this year.  At the start of the Town Council meeting on 12 July, she was thanked by Councillors for her service.

Fay Ivens joined the council in October 2009, following her successful work as a member and Chairman of Shipston in Bloom for seven years. In 2008 she had secured the Britain in Bloom Heart of England Gold Award for the town and was recognised with the Ann Sankey Medal (now the Shipston Community Award).

Throughout her time on the Council, Fay was a passionate community campaigner;

  • Securing footsteps on the path going from Station Road up to the Tilemans Lane entrance to the Primary School, so that children had a safer way to walk to school.
  • Campaigning for flashing 30 mile an hour speed signs at the Stratford Road and London Road entrances to the Town.
  • Launching “Proud of my Town” in 2011, which saw the start of the monthly Litter Picks.
  • Overseeing several Dog Fouling campaigns, including new signs, spray painting dog poo with fluorescent paint, stencilling footpaths and installing a poo bag dispenser on Tilemans Lane.

She succeeded the late Alan Noyce as Chairman of General Purposes on his retirement and was integral in efforts to strengthen relationships with Allotment holders through the introduction of allotment reps and an Annual Meeting and Allotment Competition. Other major projects during her tenure included the installation of the pod at the Skate Park and a £45,000 renovation of Cemetery Lodge, during which she made sure the retired Sexton was able to stay on-site in a caravan.

Fay also became the Council representative on Shipston Youth Club, consequently becoming a Trustee.

In 2012/13, she served as Mayor during a time of huge change for the council, with the move to the former Police Station which was renamed as New Clark House. It was also the year of the Queens Diamond Jubilee, and she represented the town at a Service at Coventry Cathedral, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and attended by HRH Princess Anne.

Thank you Fay for your incredible service to our town!

Local resident Abigail Sheridan de Graaff was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queens’ Birthday Honours in June for the part she played in setting up and running the Warwickshire Scrubbers, a group formed to make and deliver PPE to local healthcare settings. At the beginning of the pandemic there was a severe shortage of PPE and Abigail saw the need arise in her local area from the NHS Trust hospitals, GP surgeries and pharmacies to community health teams and care homes. From the initial fundraising, procuring fabric, distributing fabric and patterns, collecting in the items to delivering over 25,000 items across the county it took a whole army of people.

“There were, of course, hundreds of other people involved who all stood up to help in whatever way they could in the strangest of circumstances,” said Abigail. “We all worked as a truly phenomenal team and it was an amazing thing to be part of. People who could sew made scrubs, headbands and laundry bags and those that couldn’t, helped by driving, delivering, cutting patterns or even supplying food!”

At one stage there were over 360 dedicated scrub makers and nearly 1000 people in the group. The scrubs were made in lots of different fabrics. There was, of course, the standard polycotton but people delved deep into their laundry cupboards and no bedding was safe. There were scrubs made from vintage floral bedsheets, Winnie the Pooh and superheroes – the paediatric teams loved the bright and cheerful sets. Shipston and the surrounding area was particularly well supported and lots of people were making scrubs and other items across the region.

“It was great to be able to supply the local GP surgeries and Ellen Badger Hospital with scrubs, bags and headbands as required,” she continued. “It’s brilliant to know that a lot of these scrubs are still being used today, 15 months after being delivered. One of the nurses at my surgery received a pair of scrubs made from Liberty fabric which make me smile when I see her at work! The strange thing is that although I started out with the intention of making scrubs myself, sewing is therapy after all, I didn’t make one set of scrubs because the coordination took all of my time!”

The British Empire Medal is a public recognition of meritorious civil service and Abigail will be presented with the medal at a ceremony later this year.