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Mayor’s Blog 126 – Twinning, Folk Festival and more –

Mayor’s Blog 126

This week : St James’ Care Home, Bridport Folk Festival revival, St Mary’s Park Run, Bridport hosts French Twinning visit, Yeovil Civic Service.

St James’ Care Home

We were invited to the open day at St James’ Care Home, Bradpole not only to meet the Staff and residents but also see the wonderful artwork that they had created.

St. James’ used to be a BUPA home but is now owned by HC-One. It has 31 beds offering residential and nursing care and a building full of character and set in wonderful gardens.

St James Care Home
St James Care Home


I had the pleasure of meeting two ladies that were over 100 years old ( a glass of sherry was evident on one table) and quite a few Bridport locals who had interesting stories to tell about their lives and how happy they were at the Home.

St James Care Home
St James Care Home

I certainly enjoyed the chats and the afternoon tea and cakes, hand made by their excellent on-site Chef, were enjoyed by all. The Lounge really started to rock when the entertainment started. I found myself singing along and risking injury with a bit of foot tapping and it was plain to see how much fun everyone was having and how involved the staff were to make sure all enjoyed the occasion.

I had the opportunity to talk to Mihaela who is the Care Home Manager and it was plain that she is totally committed to providing the best care possible and I was impressed how this was mirrored by all of the staff I met.

It is worrying, however, that she is having real problems recruiting staff, an all too common problem in the area as we struggle with trying to provide affordable housing for our essential workers.

A lovely afternoon spent with kind and happy people in a warm safe environment, it was a pleasure to have visited St James’.

Bridport Folk Festival Ceilidh

We were both invited to the Ceilidh arranged by Chris Deacon as a “thank you” to those who had previously volunteered at the Bridport Folk Festivals. During the evening Chris explained that he was hoping to stage a 2024 festival but he needed volunteers to form a committee that could work together to make the next festival happen.

Chris very kindly supplied drinks and food and a really entertaining musical set throughout the evening from Wylde Morris that made quite a few want to join in the dancing under the guidance of the Caller who seemed to have endless patience when dealing with those of us who had 2 left feet or dodgy knees/hips backs and any other ailments. Where have all the young folk gone?

The Folk Festival was conceived to not only have a great time listening to a variety of music but also to raise money for charities and it was a complete surprise when Chris presented a cheque for £3000 to Ali Cliffe, a Trustee of Harmony.

Bridport Folk Festival Ceilidh

We can only hope enough volunteers and sponsors come forward in the near future to ensure the Folk Festival rises from the ashes and once again becomes a popular fixture in the Bridport Calendar.

Bridport Folk Festival Ceilidh

For more information and/or to volunteer please contact:

St Mary’s Park Run

What is it?

A free, fun, and friendly weekly 5k community event which is NOT necessarily a “run”. You can walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate – it’s up to you!

The Park Run is held in Bridport Saturday morning at St. Mary’s playing field and starts at 9.00 am. Last Saturday it was the 4th anniversary and I had the pleasure of being invited to start the run (it is not a really a race unless you want it to be-against yourself!)

St Mary’s Park Run
St Mary’s Park Run

Around 100 people took part, many are regular locals but some were taking part for the first time and I also met some who had travelled quite a distance to join us, such is the popularity of St Mary’s. I found the whole event very motivating, you can run or walk, bring your dog, one parent was running with their child in a push chair!

The aim of the event is to encourage people to come together and take exercise, it is the taking part that is important and there were some very fast runners, some not so fast and a few that were quite happy to walk and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.

The first person back told me he was completing his 50th Park Run and his first was at St. Mary’s four years ago so it was a pleasure to award him his number one finisher token.

St Mary’s Park Run

To me the whole event seemed to be great fun, lots of motivation and support from the organisers, volunteers and even other runners. Everyone seemed really pleased to be taking part regardless of their ability or where they finished. The message is you can take from it what you want but taking part and enjoying yourselves is the main aim.

I am seriously contemplating having a go myself and having seen the event at first hand I would not be troubled if I was the last one back (not a surprise considering my knees), quite honestly it doesn’t matter. However if you are competitive then there are some strong runners to test you so basically something for everyone.

Please come along and see for yourselves, all ages and abilities welcome! It is easy to sign up on line if you fancy having a go, just search for “Parkrun sign up” and enter “St Mary’s” as your home parkrun.

Afterwards many take the opportunity to grab a post parkrun coffee in the Rockburn Bouldering Centre, Priory Ln, Bridport, DT6 3RW – please feel free to join them! For further information click here

Saint Vaast La Hougue Twinning visit

This year it was the turn of Bridport to host the Twinning event and, although suffering ferry delays, most of our guests finally arrived in Bridport in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The Twinning Association between Bridport and St Vaast la Hougue has enjoyed many years of exchange visits with ever deepening friendships on both sides, and I am sure this, the 38th exchange visit made even stronger the bond between our two towns.

For those that are unaware the aim of the Twinning Association is to:

  • Promote and foster friendship and understanding between the peoples of our two towns and the surrounding areas.
  • Encourage visits by individuals and groups to and from the linked towns.
  • Develop personal contacts and by so doing broaden the mutual understanding of the social, cultural, educational, recreational, civic and commercial activities of the linked towns.

Last year many of those present on Saturday were able to witness last year the amazing overnight transformation of St Vaast and the Blessing of the Sea ceremony.

The Blessing of the Sea weekend is I am told, truly spectacular, but speaking to those who took part in that and other previous exchange visits it is the warmth with which they are welcomed and the long term friendships made that they talk about most.

A Civic reception was arranged for them in our Town Hall for Saturday and at 12.00 our Town Crier officially announced the arrival of the Saint Vastaisis with a mesmerising display of his grasp of French although I have the feeling he made up a couple of the words!

Saint Vaast La Hougue Twinning visit

Those attending the reception were greeted with a glass of elderflower cordial or cider so I resisted the lure of the elderflower and enjoyed some Northern France style cider.

Before the speeches began I was delighted to receive a photograph album, beautifully created, that contained a record of the visit to Saint Vaast last year.

This was followed by a gift of the new version of the St. Vaast Flag. In return I had the pleasure of presenting a framed series of pictures of the local area.

Saint Vaast La Hougue Twinning visit
Saint Vaast La Hougue Twinning visit

After my welcome speech we were then treated to a series of speeches and responses, some in English, some in French and others in a mixture of the two (guilty).

Saint Vaast La Hougue Twinning visit
Saint Vaast La Hougue Twinning visit
Saint Vaast La Hougue Twinning visit

Next stop the moved on to the W.I. Hall where we enjoyed a lovely buffet lunch.

The two twinning associations obviously work hard to make the visits worthwhile and it is wonderful to see the long lasting relationships that exist between the hosts and their guests and I am convinced the two towns will become closer as the years go by and friendships will deepen even more.

If you are interested in becoming involved with the Twinning Association then you can get further information by contacting the Chairman, Jonathan Dines at:

Or for membership contact the Secretary Linda Bullock at:

Their website is full of information about previous visits and the history of both towns, well worth investigating and can be viewed at : www.bridport-and-saint-vaast-twinning-

Yeovil Civic Service

On Sunday we represented Bridport at the Civic Service in Yeovil held to celebrate the election of Andy Kendall as Mayor of Yeovil.

Yeovil Civic Service

We were treated to an enjoyable church service that included a medley of songs from Les Miserables by the Octogon Choir and two songs from Grace Whatmore, a seventeen year old music student at Strode College who is without doubt an extremely talented young lady.

After the service we had the opportunity to talk to other Mayors and Mayoresses while enjoying a buffet lunch kindly provided by the new Mayor and his Council. A very enjoyable Sunday afternoon and I look forward to reciprocate by hosting my own Civic Day in Bridport on September 20th.

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