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Neston Mayor's Annual Report Reflects on an Unusual Year in Office

Author: Cllr Christine Warner, Mayor of Neston 2020/21 Published: 4th May 2021 16:55

Neston's Mayor, Cllr Christine Warner, has issued the traditional end of year report, as her current term in office comes to a close.

On Friday 9th April, we learned of the death of Prince Philip. A specific protocol was triggered nationwide and Neston Town played its part. Our flag was lowered to half mast and remained at half mast until Sunday 18th April. Our website carried the news for our residents.

As Mayor of Neston I attended a memorial service at Chester Cathedral on Sunday 11th April. On Sunday 18th April Neston Parish Church held its own memorial service which was attended by the Lord-Lieutenant of Chester; our MP, Mr Justin Madders; the leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Councillor for Little Neston, Cllr. Louise Gittins; Parkgate Cllr. Martin Barker; the Mayor and consort of Ellesmere Port; Neston Town Councillors and representatives of local churches, schools and institutions. It was a dignified acknowledgement of the death of Prince Philip but also a thanksgiving for a long life well lived.

Mayor's Annual Report 2020/21

Cllr Christine Warner, Mayor of Neston 2020/21Mayor of Neston, Cllr Christine Warner, delivering Ladies Day afternoon teas in style.

As I look back over what has been a far from usual year, I would like to thank my fellow Councillors and our Council officers for their support and guidance.

During the whole time of the Covid 19 pandemic the Council has continued to serve Neston. Grants have been given to organisations that have been helping to support our vulnerable residents during this difficult time. Our staff have kept the essential routine of the Council going and we are grateful for their commitment.

We have all had to become experts at attending virtual Zoom meetings. Phrases such as 'You're on mute!' or ‘Is that a legacy hand?' have become all too familiar. 

I can confirm that here at Neston Town Council all meetings have been conducted calmly and respectfully.

Usually, one of the first Civic duties of the new Mayor is to take part in the Neston Female Society's annual parade around Neston. Not in 2020, alas. However, Neston pulled together and marked the occasion on Thursday 4th June 2020 by delivering an afternoon tea  to every member of the Female Society. No mean feat with over two hundred members! Over forty volunteers collected the teas from Neston Community and Youth Centre. Thanks go to Hip & Harmony, Paisley Grey and Elephant Collective for putting together the afternoon teas. I was lucky enough to be driven around Neston in a 1909 Paterson car to deliver some of the teas.  Altogether an unusual and memorable day.

Neston market re-opened on 12th June after almost three months of shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The market is such an important feature of Neston life. Our loyal traders had managed to keep the regular food stalls together during the first lockdown when we had to close the market and worked closely with the Council to get things back to a new normal.

This year the charities I have chosen to help are Mathews Monk, a truly local charity with a long history in Neston, and CH64 Age Matters. To raise money for these charities I made washable, re-usable facemasks which were sold on the market. During the year Neston residents and other visitors to the Market were very generous and raised £1,400 for the charities. Well done Neston.

Cllr Christine Warner, Mayor of Neston 2020/21Cllr Warner used her sewing skills to make facemasks, sold at the Market for charity.

To welcome our children back to school I sent a letter to all our schools wishing them well for the coming academic year.

On Sunday 4th October 2020 we held a virtual Church service with the Revd. Alan Dawson officiating. It was attended by The High Sheriff of Cheshire, fellow Mayors Cheshire and North Wales, Borough Councillors, Local Mayors, and Neston Town Councillors. We arranged for an Afternoon Tea to be delivered to the guests and chatted virtually by Zoom after the service.

Due to the Covid-19 restrictions the usual Remembrance parade was cancelled. I attended the wreath-laying service on Sunday 8th November and Cllr. Wastell, our Deputy Mayor, attended the brief ceremony on 11th November at 11am. Both ceremonies were at the Cenotaph in the parish church grounds. Cllr. Wastell and I consider it an honour to represent Neston at such events and were pleased to support the Neston British Legion as they navigated the unusual requirements for this year's ceremonies.

Cllr Christine Warner, Mayor of Neston 2020/21Cllr Warner observing 2 minutes' silence for Remembrance.

On Sunday 28th November, the usual Christmas Lights switch-on was a very different event. Thanks to Hip & Harmony CIC,  ‘different' turned into a spectacular on-line extravaganza.

Our Christmas market took place on Friday 4th December and, once again, our market traders and officers worked hard within the restrictions to create a festive atmosphere for shoppers.

On Good Friday, 2nd April 2021, we held our Easter market, and although we were still not able to hold our usual special activities, we gave away pots of daffodils to shoppers as they walked around the market. People were thrilled with the gift. A small gesture that brought a smile to many faces.

Our officers and traders are to be congratulated for keeping our well-loved market open despite the difficulties they have had to work with this year.

Despite this being a year like no other, I have enjoyed my time as your Mayor and would like to wish my successor a successful year as Mayor of Neston.

Cllr. Christine Warner

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Dennis L
At 11:31 on 7th May 2021, Dennis L commented:
Well done Mayor Cllr. Christine Warner. It was an unusual year full of danger due to Covid-19 and also Prince Philip's death etc. but you and our council coped very well. Thank you .

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