This week has been unprecedented for many of us with the death of our Sovereign Queen, Elizabeth II. As we have been watching history unfold in front of us, many people will be aware that the planning for the death of our monarch has been in place for many years and was called operation “London Bridge”. Whilst it provided guidance in many respects, it is also recognised that living in a digital age, where news and imagery are almost instant, many of the protocols followed when George VI died in February 1952 have changed and we as a town council have done our best to follow these and act respectfully where no guidance is given.
The decision around whether town councils should meet during a national period of mourning is left to individual authorities to make and in the case of Devizes Town Council it was agreed that it was important the Councillors formally met to make and declare their loyalty to our new King Charles III but to also to share in the nation’s grief after our Sovereign Queen, Elizabeth II died peacefully at Balmoral on Thursday 8th September after 70 years of tireless and selfless service to the Union and Commonwealth. All other business of the meeting was suspended until after the period of mourning.
Despite the monumental constitutional change to the nation that a new monarch will bring, there is also a sense for many that the pressures and issues many are facing in their daily lives are still there and in recognition of this, the Town Hall hosted a Public Living Room event this week. The Public Living Room initiative is a simple one, where people come together to talk, and share stories and concerns over a cup of tea. Many in our community live on their own, they can feel very isolated and disconnected from our society. At this event coordinated by the Devizes Centre for Independent Living, those who attended had an opportunity to talk to the Mayor, Councillors and senior officers about the importance of the public living room project and how it supports them in the challenges they face.
I am sure for most people, the purchase of their Christmas Tree is currently not very high on their to-do list, but when you are buying on 40’ tree, plans have to be made well in advance, and this week we secured the big tree for the Market Place. All we have to do now is hope that it survives the journey it has to get to us and we can stand it up straight!
I am sure we all share in the concern that low levels of anti-social behaviour are becoming more evident in our community, and whilst those engaging in it are relatively few, the impact on our community is disproportionate, and although it is not unreasonable to expect, dealing with it should be simple. Often rules most of us follow to ensure we are considerate to others in our community can be difficult to enforce if they are not followed, which can not only be frustrating for those who witness this behaviour, but also for the police who are expected to deal with it. To try and find a solution and look at how as a community we can support the police to deal with these issues, various agencies are to meet shortly to export some options.
Many of you will be aware this Sunday at 8pm, there is a one-minute National Moment of Reflection for our Sovereign Queen, Elizabeth II. Devizes Town Mayor, Councillor Peter Corbett, invites you to accompany him in the Market Place by the Market Cross, where he will say a few words before the minute’s silence. After the minute’s silence, the National Anthem will be played and this will be followed by a few words and a prayer from Rev Jonathan Poston, Rector St John with St Mary, Devizes.
The Mayor very much hopes you can join him for this national one-minute silence.
Town Clerk, Simon Fisher