As Outgoing Town Mayor Cllr Gavin Grant Prepares to Hand Over His Role to His Successor, He Reflects on a Busy Year of Putting Malmesbury on the Map.

“It’s been a real privilege to be the Mayor of Malmesbury and serve the people both within the town and outside in wider Wiltshire and indeed overseas.

“Thanks to the town’s generosity, we have raised a record £14,727 for my three charities during this year; HEALS of Malmesbury; Malmesbury River Valleys Trust and Malmesbury Animal Sanctuary, with an incredible £7,000 alone from my Mayoral Ball in April.”

The role of elected mayor in Malmesbury is seen as critical to democracy in the town and dates back to 1887 when elected local councils were created. Cllr Grant took office in May last year and has seen many activities and relationships take root. In all, he’s attended 110 events.

“It’s very difficult to choose highlights from such a diverse range of activities over the last 12 months, there have been so many and just a very few low points, although I do have to mention the break-in at the Abbey in December which was a shock to us all.”

Here are a few of his highlights:

*Working with Malmesbury’s twin and friendship towns including Gien in France, Niebull in Germany, Bad Hersfeld in Germany and soon to be a friendship town, Cherkasy in Ukraine. Cllr Grant is proposing that Bad Hersfeld, will also be elevated to a twin town when their Mayor visits Malmesbury on May 8, the day after Cllr Grant steps down. The community in Bad Hersfeld revere St Lullus, a monk from Malmesbury who helped bring Christianity to Germany and later in his life set up a monastery/abbey in the German town and made it his home.

* 9 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, based at Hullavington, being awarded the Freedom of Malmesbury back a year ago following the Coronation celebrations.  The Regiment’s relationship with the town has continued to strengthen with the Mayor invited to present long service medals and the regiment taking part in Remembrance Day commemorations. In June 2024, the new Mayor will visit the regiment at their home of Buckley Barracks to celebrate Buckley Day as guest of the Regiment’s new Commanding Officer, Major James Harold.

*Welcoming several new businesses to the town, including Roost Malmesbury, Barn Owl Books; Bertie B’s Home & Lifestyle; Brooks Independent Funeral Directors, Dq Nails & Beauty, Second Snuggle and The New Three Cups Inn.

* Bringing national town centre expert Graham Soult to Malmesbury to produce a report of how the Town Council, Wiltshire Council, Malmesbury Town Team and local businesses can work more collaboratively to boost business and attract more visitors, including securing funding from Wiltshire Council to improve the look of town centre areas, starting with pedestrianizing Market Lane.

*Supporting and helping to instigate the town’s inaugural Folk & Roots Festival last September and ensuring the return of the festival in September  Also getting agreement for the first large scale, professionally run Food and Drink Festival to feature local makers under the Eat Malmesbury banner on 19 October 2024.

*Driving forward the project to get CCTV installed around the town centre, Cloister Gardens and both car parks to discourage anti-social behaviour. The work is now underway to install the cameras.

*Hosting a ‘shadow’ town council meeting with the 1st Malmesbury (King Athelstan) Scouts as Councillors, debating issues they saw of importance to young people and passing resolutions which were then considered by the town council. One was around the creation of an outdoor skateboard and mountain bike park and the second to create an all-weather sports pitch.

* Introducing the idea of Mayoral Cadets and appointing the first two, Jess Evans and Matthias Fung.

Cllr Grant will remain very active in public life, as a town councillor, Wiltshire Councillor for Malmesbury and chair of HEALS of Malmesbury and Malmesbury Stands with Ukraine. He’s also stepping up to support Liberal Democrat candidate Dr Roz Savage MBE, standing as an MP for the new constituency of South Cotswolds when a General Election is called.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.