Welcome to my new column which shines a spotlight on the role of the Mayor as well as taking a deeper dive into the people and communities I have met over the past month.
The role of the Mayor is to support and promote events across the town. Sometimes this will be a community function and sometimes an international event of great economic and reputational importance. They are all of equal importance. I attended a garden open party in a nursing home where I was able to spend time reminiscing with older residents about the ‘good old times’ of Weymouth. I also joined the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset as he presented the Queen’s Award for Excellence in Volunteering to the Veterans Hub, in Wyke Regis. The hub was celebrating it’s 5th birthday. There is such a long military and naval heritage it is wonderful to have such a supportive facility here in Weymouth for our veterans.
Volleyball Classic at Weymouth Beach
I was delighted to attend this fantastic event held on Weymouth’s golden sands. Did you know that Weymouth Volleyball Club introduced beach volleyball to this country? Forty years ago they hosted the first tournament in the UK, with Peter Bennett and Graeme Sawyer. The sport has grown from strength to strength and now has an international reputation. Only two events achieved Grand Slam status this year of which Weymouth is one. There are over 1,000 ranked players both men and women and the competitors know that Weymouth is the most important to win each year but only the very best get to take part after the qualifiers. Although the players were mostly from GB this year others joined us from across the world, including America, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, Bulgaria, Latvia and Hungary.
Andy Jones the CEO of UKBT says: “The players love coming to Weymouth, the beach is fantastic, the crowds are knowledgeable, they and their families can stay close to the site and use the local restaurants and the organisers are the best. Pete and Graeme are so well regarded they were part of the team that organised the event at the 2012 London Olympics in Horse Guards Parade.”
As well as the Volleyball Classic, Weymouth hosts other star contests across the summer attracting more players to the town. Over 200 local people have taken part in competitions and coaching sessions so far this year. Weymouth Town Council along with We Are Weymouth support the events with more sponsors always welcome. Find out more at UKBT (volleyballengland.org)
It was wonderful to visit Hope House, a new joint venture between The Lantern Trust and various NHS mental health and support services. A great use of this beautiful redundant building in the grounds of St John’s Church. The creation of the new NHS research facility on Radipole Lane will be terrific too.
Evergreen Suite at Westhaven Hospital
One of my favourite visits was to the opening of the new Evergreen Suite at Westhaven Hospital. It’s a purpose-built provision for end-of-life care in the heart of our community, where families can stay together and support each other as they say a final goodbye to a loved one. This suite is supported by the Friends of Weymouth and Portland Hospitals and is one of my chosen charities for the year.
I’ll be back next month with my second column letting you know about what I got up to in August. In the meantime, please visit the Mayor of Weymouth Facebook page and give it a like.
Or for more information on my role or if you would like to invite me to attend your event then please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor of Weymouth, Cllr Kate Wheller