From the Mayor's Parlour

Published on 2nd July 2018

Actually, I only went into the Parlour about a month after becoming mayor. The door was unlocked. Lucky there’s nothing valuable in there…

This year has been and will continue to be a year of anniversaries. A hundred years since more men and some women got the vote; the centenary of the end of World War 1; thirty years since Todmorden Information Centre went independent, with a close relationship to the Town Council; and forty years since Todmorden signed a town twinning agreement with the German town of Bramsche.

About a year ago, the Mayor, Cllr. Christine Potter, received a letter from the Bürgermeister of  Bramsche inviting her to Germany to celebrate this anniversary at an event timed to coincide with town twinning visits from Israel, France, Poland and, of course, Todmorden. ‘Potter’ became ‘Hollis’ mid-May, so I spent the last week of that month away from Todmorden in a group of fifty-two.

It was an extraordinary experience. First, there was the unremitting positivity of the town-twinners, using both two-hour travel delays, for instance, as a chance to chat and not complain. Then there was the hospitality of the Bramscherites, who were kind, flexible, even laid back – a quality not always associated with Germans, but one which should perhaps be added to our list of their stereotypical features. 

Underlying the whole experience, though, was organisation, hard work and volunteering, the very things that hold our community together. This was evident both on the Todmorden side – getting people on board in a literal and metaphorical sense – and on the Bramsche side, working out a programme that would engage a diverse group consisting of primary school children, teenagers and adults, some in their eighties. They managed us brilliantly. We’ll be managing them next year. 

Back in Todmorden, invitations were piling in. Mentioning some means leaving others out: Carnival had to be left to my outstanding deputy, Cllr. Joan Taylor, but I got to visit the Hippodrome, for a wonderful production of The Merchant of Venice; the Town Hall for a film music concert, leading many of us to yearn for the ‘good old days’ of black and white; and the Todmorden Agricultural Show, which was excellent. 

We might never get it back to Todmorden, but let’s see what comes of the Country Fair, taking place this Saturday. None of these events would exist without volunteering.

The greatest honour of all was being invited to the official opening of Whirlaw View, the magnificent new building at Todmorden High School. People have been planning this off and on since 1984. In the end it was the professionals who delivered, so there’s a place for them after all, even in Todmorden.

Cllr Andy Hollis
Town Mayor from May 2018
 

 

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