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Mayor’s Blog – June

So far in my journey as Mayor I have been fortunate enough to meet so many people and attend events. I attended Dorset Art Week exhibitions in the Old Town Hall which showcased so much talent, the artwork produced at the exhibitions was pleasing to the eye and healing for the soul.

As well as this Weymouth’s cultural life consists of more than visual art. We have an amazing musical traditions too. So, as Mayor I have been delighted to attend hugely entertaining concerts from the Choral Society, a richly varied programme, and the Wessex Musical theatre production of “Sister Act”. It is not only such lavish performances that make Weymouth such a musical treasure store. We also have a rich sub culture of pub bands. On many nights of the week there is a thrilling choice of live bands in several pubs. I think this is one of the most vibrant parts of our town’s cultural life and should be celebrated as a major tourist draw.   

Visit England held it’s annual awards ceremony on Wednesday 5th June at the Nothe Fort. The venue itself won a national honour as the best small visitor attraction and is a testimony to the hard work done by the dedicated staff and volunteers. At the ceremony several fine buildings were recognised, some new, some restored. Also, the campaigners against the Incinerator at Portland Port were recognised, an ongoing battle not yet finally won or lost. The new government will make the final decision now the public inquiry is over so lets hope they decide to protect our fabulous Jurassic coast from this foul intruder.  

Between June 17th-23rd, it was Refugee Week and a football competition was held at Redlands. There were teams of Afghanis from Chickerell camp, several from the barge, a Ukranian team and also a local mental health forum. It’s great that this sporting event brought people to unite in friendly competition.  

Weymouth has marked important historical events since I started this role back in May.  We have had the D-Day 80th anniversary on Thursday 6th June. This started with the Salvation Army holding a concert on the promenade before the main events. On the Thursday I was able to join many others for a joint service on Portland in the morning which was incredibly touching. The Council then organised events at the Nothe Gardens and Fort. There was an outdoor screen which showcased ‘The Longest Day’ film which was about the landings at Normandy as well, there were free fish and chips supplied by Bennett’s, a local chippy. Inside the Fort we saw the focus shift to exhibitions and live music from the Bovington Military Wive’s Chior, the Dolphin Marching Band and The Decadettes. Later in the evening I had the privilege of reading the International Tribute as the beacon was lit, which joined many others across the country.

Sea Cadets
Residents enjoying the outdoor screen at the Nothe Gardens
Beacon Lighting

The Council’s Armed Forces Weekend made a return between Friday 21st and Monday 24th June. We were lucky enough to have military vehicle displays throughout the weekend with Armour and Embarkation on Friday evening and Dorset Military Association on Saturday and in the parade on the Sunday. The town welcomed the incredible annual Veteran’s Parade and was inspired by Poppy Butcher and goes from strength to strength. It was great to see her on the parade in a jeep. Weymouth seafront is such an excellent backdrop for the marching bands and veterans as they passed the crowds, the atmosphere was great throughout the weekend. Thank you to anyone who participated in the service and parade and to those who came and supported. I am happy to share the dates for next years Armed Forces weekend will be on Saturday 21st – 23rd June 2025!

Parade procession
Flag Raising Ceremony, Council Offices
Sunday Service

It has been delightful to attend these events this month and I am excited to see what’s coming up in July.

Cllr Jon Orrell, Mayor of Weymouth