Under the terms of the Local Government Act, 1972, each Town and Parish Council across the country is obliged to hold an annual public meeting on a date between 1st March and 1st June. Deeping St James held its Annual Parish Meeting on 8th May 2018 at the Deepings School.
Over 130 people attended the meeting including:
- Many local residents
- Nominees for the annual ‘Making a Difference’ awards
- Children and parents from Deeping St James CP School
- Most Parish Councillors, some District Councillors (including me) and the Conservative County Councillor (although he arrived late and only stayed for 30 minutes).
- Representatives of local community organisations including the Lions, scouts etc
- ‘Distinguished guests’ including: the Chair of SKDC; the Chair of LCC; the Mayor of Market Deeping; representatives of the Woodland Trust; and two Senior Officers from SKDC also attended.
The meeting began with a minute’s silence to remember a number of Deeping St James villagers who had died since the last APM.
Cllr Andrew Bowell then opened the meeting with a welcome and a short illustrated presentation about the Parish Council’s activities and achievements during the year. One of the highlights was the opening of a £135,000 state-of-the-art skate park at Woody Heights on Linchfield Road.
Then came the best bit of the evening. Anyone still suffering the illusion that this was a meeting about parking, litter and grass cutting was about to realise that they do things differently in Deeping St James. A musical interlude from the very talented school band of children and staff from Deeping St James Community Primary School rocked the house with three classic covers from their repertoire including “I love rock and roll” and Tina Turner’s “Rolling down the River”. These youngsters were a very hard act to follow…
…but they were followed by three varied and interesting presentations:
- Kaye Brennan of the Woodland Trust explained the ‘Charter for Trees’ which had been signed by DSJ Parish Council in November last year
- Pam Byrd of Deepings First gave a brief overview of the Deepings Neighbourhood Plan including the of the Deepings Green Walk project to enhance and consolidate the network of pedestrian and cycle routes across the Deepings.
- Andrew Norman, recently appointed Head of Visitor Economy at SKDC, outlined his challenge and aspirations from promoting tourism across the District.
The rest of the meeting was devoted to the popular ‘Making A Difference Awards’. The MAD awards have been presented annually since 2009 and are designed to celebrate the friendly and genorous community that make up the village.
This year there were many nominations in five categories. Each nominee was presented with a certificate while the winner in each category was given a small trophy.
- MAD Special Award to ‘Sossie’, a friendly dog who had led her owner, Clive the baker, to a collapsed person who required urgent medical attention.
- MAD Young Person (under 19) – Harriett Spriggs who had completed a ‘coast-to-coast’ cycle ride in aid of the Root4Ryley charity.
- MAD Citizen – Bob Parmenter and Betty Fenech who are long-time volunteers for Deepings Age Concern.
- MAD Organisation – The Forget-me-not club which has run monthly for elderly people for many years.
- MAD in the course of doing their job – This award went to Dave Blessett, who recently retired after decades as caretaker of the Deepings School.
Not satisfied with celebrating so many people and animals in the village, the next item on the agenda concerned trees in the village. Parish and District Cllr Judy Stevens announced the winner of ‘Deeping St James favourite tree’. Before the meeting started, attendees had the opportunity to choose between 10 trees nominated from around the village via Facebook. Cllr Stevens revealed that one of the 10 trees was, shock horror, not in Deeping St James but was actually across the river in Deeping Gate. This tree should have been disqualified if not immediately chopped down to the root! Fortunately for the tree, the generous adjudicators allowed it to remain in the competition which it lost. The winning tree was a willow which I am sure would have been weeping with joy and surprise when it heard the news (Just to be clear, the trees were not expected to attend the meeting).
All that remained was to draw the raffle and for Cllr Mike Ward, Deputy Chair of DSJ Parish Council, to propose a Vote of Thanks to all involved.
After the meeting, attendees were offered tea, coffee and cakes prepared by Margaret Flegg. There was also an opportunity to browse community stalls including the Deeping Lions, Deepings Age Concern and the Woodland Trust.
If you have never attended the Deeping St James Annual Parish Meeting, I really recommend you put it in your diary for 2019. It is a really positive celebration, of all that goes on in the village during the year.