Several towns in Calderdale have no town or parish council. Some readers might feel this is the right choice. It is, though, one that comes at a cost.
For the greatest achievement of the 2015 intake of Todmorden Town Council has been without doubt obtaining government funding, over £2.5m, for a complete restructuring of Todmorden railway station: toilets, lifts and all.
Calderdale has been campaigning hard on this for years, but in the end it took a town councillor to get all the right people in the room and to get the whole process started. After that, Calderdale could not have been more helpful. But without the Town Council there would have been no hope of step-free access. In the long run, you cannot beat that combination of expertise and local knowledge.
While we’re on the subject of Calderdale I’d like to thank them – unfashionably, perhaps – for all the help they give to Todmorden mayors’ charities by letting us use the Town Hall for free on three separate occasions, with all the staff included. This must come to the equivalent of a £1000 donation every year.
The event that will stick in my mind longest will definitely be Jazzical, a concert at which curator Daniel Bath demonstrated the deep and subtle links between jazz and classical music. But it wasn’t either or throughout. We were also introduced to a different brand of music defined as ‘theatrical parlour pop’ performed by Beware of Trains – I can’t get away from the subject (see above) – the duo of singer/songwriter Leighton Jones and opera singer Marie Claire Breen, who have just released their streamable and streamworthy debut single Let’s Move To London.
Although this year has been hugely enjoyable – and many thanks for the c.100 invitations – it hasn’t been without its challenges. The Council is run by a Town Clerk, a Deputy, and an Admin Assistant, three essential individuals all in place when I took over the mayoralty. But I must have been carrying a bug of some sort, for only a few months later we had neither Clerk nor Deputy Clerk. However, our Admin Assistant grasped the admin tiller and calmly steered a leaking HMS Todmorden through choppy waters. The Council will always be grateful to her, though she too is moving on.
The Clerk was replaced by a Locum who proved to be such an asset that we were hoping to keep him to oversee the transition which, with luck, would have taken years. But, as you’ll have seen on the news, he’s been headhunted for the role of Locum Prime Minister and will therefore be leaving us after Mayor’s Day.
Even the very best of communities has its complications.