Market Rasen Mayor’s seasonal message - a positive review of busy year

'Enormous privilege' for town:  A welcome to HRH The Princess Royal who officially opened the Station Heritage Centre.''Image: Stuart Wilde Photography
'Enormous privilege' for town: A welcome to HRH The Princess Royal who officially opened the Station Heritage Centre.''Image: Stuart Wilde Photography

As we come to this time of year, the schoolchildren are nearing the end-of-term, decorations are going up, office parties and other festive celebrations begin, even Civic carol services, I look back at our town during 2018.

Most recently we had the enormous privilege of welcoming HRH The Princess Royal to town to officially open the Station Heritage Centre.

She showed such interest in our project, the children and supporters.

It was an amazing day, and the culmination of a wonderful, if not very lengthy (over four years), project involving many, many volunteer man-hours.

Our Town Partnership Group plans have, again, taken many meetings to come to fruition. But, finally, we have a mixed group of local business representative and residents who share a similar vision.

I’ll take this public opportunity to thank Cllr Stephen Bunney and Richard Hallsworth for all their efforts to join with me to make this legacy happen.

It’s a bit like the station project – been a long while coming …. but, WATCH THIS SPACE !!!!

Big plans for town events during 2019, starting with ‘LOVE Market Rasen Raceday at the Racecourse, Sunday February 17, 2019 - and many to follow in town.

There are still spaces for members, who wish to take an active role.

Going back to the beginning of the year, all we had was rain, and more rain.

Consequently, the delivery and subsequent opening of our long awaited Skate Park was not March 18, but September 8 – when … it RAINED.

Although the few that endured the formal opening ceremony were damp, to say the least, by the end of proceedings, I believe the project has been a huge success.

Enormous thanks to those who have made this happen. To deliver this project and find this amount of money in 12 months is miraculous.

However, when the sun did eventually appear, it stayed for a long time, and we have hosted several wonderful events, including Lions and Rotary markets, our own Market Events and had some wonderful, sell-out meetings at the Racecourse, which continues to bring hundreds of people into the town, taking advantage of our great shops, hospitality in our pubs, eateries and using the accommodation providers.

This nearly ended the calendar with another sell-out at the Mayor’s Charity Christmas Market, and raised a substantial amount.

Our efforts in cultural and educational events have also been successful, with a variety of programmes hosted within the Courtroom at The Old Police Station, attracting good audiences.

The Festival Hall continues to be one of the backbones of our social centre, and a continued focus for a council development project.

As I write, this, and I will make no promises, but as time goes on we are trying to making more, and more, money available to renovate this heart of the town - a viable proposition, and a venue for cultural and entertaining events.

And then RBL and the VET’s came up with a wonderful idea for a memorial seat, which we were delighted to support.

Remembrance Sunday was an occasion not to be forgotten.

We have also been working extremely hard with West Lindsey District Council about the future development of the town (areas around the town) and leisure provision.

The Leisure Centre will come in 2020. There is a land provision for a pool and we will continue discussions with WLDC in the future.

We are targeted, by central Government, for substantial housing development over the next 5 – 15 years and we need to be in control of where ‘Government’ think they should build, and what they think they should build.

This requires a ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ … a think tank of local people, who have knowledge of the land areas to help us.

Without this local knowledge, we may not get what we want … just get what we are given.

Meanwhile, we are, (and have been for many months) in discussion with Lincolnshire County Council and West Lindsey District Council as to how to achieve our best position.

We need local people to help with this.

The silent side of the Town Council is that the Mayor and Mayoress, Councillors and a few members of the public and personnel from school have given up a lot of their time to actively support a well needed family maintenance scheme within town.

Those that have donated to the Food Bank and the Welfare Fund… We thank you !!

Thank you TESCO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mayor’s Charity

It is unusual for one person to hold this privileged tenure for more than a year or two, but it has now been my honour to be the Mayor of Market Rasen for nearly five years.

We have continued to support the Air Ambulance and have annual additions of Alzheimer’s Society, Motor Neuron Disease – two years, Flight for Life (for terminally ill children) and the Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue Service Charity.

During this period, the Mayoress has supported me invaluably in our charitable work, and to date has raised more than £ 25, 000.

There is much work that the Town Council undertakes during the course of a working year.

We are blamed for many things, which are outside our remit. But, if we know about local problems, at least, they can be reported to the appropriate authority.

Now we are in December, we must thank the Market Rasen Lions for all their wonderful efforts with ‘the Sleigh’; the Christmas tree in the Market Place is one of the best I can remember, and I look forward to seeing the younger children enjoying the treat of seeing Santa on Christmas Eve.

Our grateful thanks go to this group as well, for all they do for our town at this time of year.

On a final note, as Chairman, I thank our council staff for all their hard work during the year to ‘do our bit’ in town.

On a small budget, it is not often an easy job.

I hope to see many of you around the town at events - and during the week- in 2019.

To all our residents and Rasen Mail readers, on behalf of my wife and I, we wish you all...

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR

John & Jayne

(Cllr John and Mrs Jayne Matthews, Mayor & Mayoress of Market Rasen)