This week we heard the very sad news that Councillor Jane Burton had passed away. Jane has been a Town Councillor for over 20 years, serving our community with consistent dedication, great wisdom and a generous spirit. She was fiercely knowledgeable about all things Devizes and was passionate that we upheld our civic traditions. In the Council Chamber, Jane was a formidable force and was not afraid to take on anyone to get her point over; however, whilst she would not always agree with a viewpoint others would over, she would always be respectful of differing opinions. She had many skills and attributes we all admired, but she had a special ability to connect with residents, to listen and advise, often over a coffee on her frequent walkabouts in town. Jane will be greatly missed by all who know her, and for those of us who had the privilege of working alongside her, she will leave a gap in our hearts that we will never fill. My thoughts and prays are with her family at this time.
Since the end of last week, we have tragically lost more birds that visit the Crammer. As advised last, we reported each bird that had died as a separate occurrence, as they died on different days; however, under the reporting procedure, DEFRA does not investigate individual death, therefore although we have had multiple death, no further investigation was being undertaken, which caused us significant concerns. The Town Council has now been in contact with DEFRA by phone and on their advice, we have re-reported the death as multiple incidents and this has triggered them to come and collect the carcases. Whilst they have informed us, they will collect the dead birds, we have not been told if and when they might be tested. We will continue to promote the advice given by DEFFA, where Avian Influenza is suspected, as a matter of good practice and as we receive new advice and updates, we will share this information with the community.
Most of the Town Council’s services will be reduced to a skeleton level between Christmas and the New Year; however, there will be a small market next week (29th) and the Shambles will be open most days after Boxing Day to spend any Christmas money you may have been lucky enough to receive.
For full details about our opening times and to find out more about refuse and recycling collections over the Christmas period, visit the news section of our website.
It has been an honour to serve the Devizes community as Town Clerk over the last year. I thank everyone who has taken the time to contact me and other members of my staff to tell us what we are doing right and equally as important, what we could do better. Whilst I can’t promise we can make all the improvements and changes that are suggested, they are important to help frame our longer-term planning, so please keep in touch.
All it leaves me to do is wish everyone in the Devizes Community a peaceful Christmas. I hope the New Year brings you the contentment that we all deserve.
Town Clerk, Simon Fisher