Writing the Mayor’s Notes in mid-September has required some considerable revision. Although the death of our 96 year old Monarch was not unexpected, it was momentous. Most of us, and I can just include myself, have been ‘Elizabethans’ all our lives, with an immutable and iconic Head of State representing our country with great dignity, whatever political leaders came and went. Many recall the 1986 royal visit to Montgomery, which gives such a special link to our special town. So much has changed, the British Empire gone, higher living expectations, seismic changes in communication, but the Queen remained an unswerving presence, totally committed to duty until the very last. An amazing example to us all through all the tribulations of her long reign. I am indebted to members of the community, Town Crier, Chapel and Church, and Town Council for assisting with, and participating in, the two moving albeit short-notice town events. Meanwhile, work of the Town Council proceeds. We continue to press for: required highways works to be implemented at the Forden Road building site; for proper marketing of The Cottage as a much needed hospitality business; and for a better solution for bus stops amongst other matters. Despite the heat, it was so good to see the hard work of the committees rewarded with the return of Show and Carnival. Now it’s back to school time and we warmly welcome Sarah Brian as the new Head, looking forward to continuing the ever closer collaboration between school and community begun by Anna Griggs. Thank you to everyone who has taken part in the next stage of the Community Action Plan. Consultation events will continue into the first week of October. - Jill Kibble, Mayor
The Town Council secured European Funding for digital equipment for community halls and venues this summer and now has new equipment in the Town Hall’s lower floor. This was put to immediate good use the week after installation for the screening of Her Late Majesty’s funeral, a photo slide show on market day, and the Town Council hybrid meeting. Cllr Gwil Stephenson, who had been largely responsible for the funding bid, said, “This offered a good opportunity for the community to see the new facility in use but also to raise awareness of the possibilities for community organisations and businesses to promote their events and services as well as run virtual meetings or make and show videos of their activities.” Over the coming months training sessions will be offered to organisations and businesses interested in making full use of this splendid new facility. The Council is also planning on using the equipment to display information about events during markets and coffee mornings.
A new dedicated website for Montgomery Town Hall has now been launched by the Montgomery Community Buildings Preservation Trust which manages the building. This website is where bookings for the Town Hall will be made from now on, and anyone wishing to hire the hall should please visit montgomerytownhall.uk The Montgomery Wales website’s Town Hall links will work by automatically taking you to this new dedicated site. Over the coming weeks, the Montgomery Town Hall website will evolve further. In the future, it will keep you abreast of what is going on in the Town Hall and give notice of any upcoming events.
After over 20 years operating in the Montgomery community, the Montgomery Community Care Project (MCCP) passed a closure motion at an EGM earlier this year and its Trustees have worked hard over the last few months to return its remaining funds to the community in the form of grants to local groups for projects whose aims and objectives are close to those of the MCCP charity and company. The MCCP has provided various long-running and much appreciated support and services to the community over two decades, including “Chatterbox” for the older generation, Luncheon Club catering for up to 60 over 60s, subsidised outings, assisting in the organisation of Meals on Wheels (a service no longer available in Montgomery following PCC cutbacks), and an extremely well attended IT facility and Computer Club. On two occasions MCCP were granted planning permission for a care home and reached the point of digging the foundations, but finance matters affecting partners brought both attempts to an end. The Trustees were saddened and frustrated by this for themselves and the whole community. The planned home would have brought care facilities and additional services to the town, in an outstanding example of community integration and group therapy. In 2022 the Trustees decided that with no prospect of building a care home, and no suitable applicants to take over the charity being found, it was time to cease operation. The remaining funds held by the registered charity and company were distributed by application to Montgomery groups broadly meeting MCCP’s aims and objectives. MCCP secretary Paulene Jones said, “We would like to thank the very many people in Montgomery and the surrounding area who have over a very long period supported our project, and who were as disappointed as us that we were unable to bring a much-needed Care Facility to the town. We are delighted to report that grants have now been awarded towards 10 projects in the Town which broadly meet our aims and ambitions.” Grants were awarded to: - Montgomery Dementia Friends, to help and support people with dementia in the Montgomery area; - Monty on Board, to help with the running of friendly, light-hearted board games afternoons; - Friends of Montgomery Play Park, for the provision of a play facility specifically for disabled children; - the Montgomery Crier magazine/newsletter, to help with publishing costs and providing news and information to residents of all ages; - Montgomery Welfare Fund, to help with providing assistance where needed; - Montgomery Education Foundation, towards help with educational needs not normally provided by the education authority; - Montgomery Community Buildings Preservation Trust, to purchase hearing loop equipment for the Town Hall; - Montgomery Bowling Club, towards coaching for juniors school and members; - Montgomery Pre-School, to help with an “adopt a Granny/Grandad” project, with children visiting sometimes lonely elderly residents and giving them comfort whilst at the same time able to to learn about the past; - St. Nicholas Church, to help with the “Tea and Talk” project, providing social contact for elderly or isolated residents, often in poor health. Alex Boyd-Jones from the Friends of Montgomery Play Park said, “We were over the moon to be awarded a grant from MCCP towards an inclusive piece of equipment.” Wendy Beaven from Montgomery Dementia Friends said, “Thanks to a generous grant from MCCP, we plan to introduce a varied programme of activities, to encourage our members to talk about their condition, discuss ways in which they may be helped, providing stimulation and an afternoon of interesting activities, as well as the much-loved music therapies already offered.” Helen Hayes from Montgomery Church said, “The Tea and Talk group are very grateful to the MCCP for their support. This generous grant will go towards making a comfortable space for the group in the north transept.” She added, “We are very sorry to hear that MCCP are winding down their charity after 20 years of service to the Montgomery community.” Paulene from MCCP said, “We wish to say a very big thank you to all our volunteers, members, and the people who have supported us through the years, they have made it all worthwhile.” Photo: Phil Jones of MCCP presents a grant to Helen Hayes of Montgomery Church for the Tea and Talk project
The Checkers in Montgomery, which was reopened in March this year by new owners Andrew and Rachel Birch, has been awarded 5 silver stars by the AA in the restaurant with rooms category - a matching set to the 5 stars it already holds from Visit Wales and a great achievement for the team. Rachel Birch said, “We are so pleased with this achievement, and a big thank you to all the staff.” Mayor Jill Kibble commented, “Great news - and in such a short time too. Well done all at the Checkers!” Chef Andrew Birch stepped out of the restaurant last Saturday to give a demonstration at the Newtown Food Festival, cooking up his signature dish of laverbread risotto and steamed plaice in the festival kitchen. Audience member Pat Griffiths commented, “Fab food demo. Definitely the best risotto and fish we have ever tasted! Amazing! Thank you!” Andrew said, “It was very exciting to be part of the local event and I hope this is something we can build upon in the future.” The Checkers restaurant is open for lunch on Thursday to Sunday and dinner on Wednesday to Saturday with booking strongly advised. Andrew and Rachel focus on using the highest quality produce, locally sourced wherever possible, and creating the best in taste with their knowledge and ingenuity. Andrew is never short of ideas and is planning handing the kitchen to a guest master chef on the last Sunday of the month as well as running cookery school events. For information and to book online go to www.checkerswales.co.uk The Checkers is also currently looking for additional restaurant and front of house staff - get in touch for details via firstname.lastname@example.org Photo: Andrew and Rachel Birch pictured outside The Checkers restaurant earlier in the year
An audience of over 200 people watched Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Montgomery Castle on Aug 17th, performed by the Illyria theatre company, who are celebrating their 30th birthday, and directed by Oliver Gray. Over twenty characters were portrayed by means of quick costume changes and the high energy of the five members of the cast, Richard Blackman, Lily Carter, Sarah Coyne, Chris Laishley and Nathan Richard Smith. The course of true love ran anything but smooth as games of fantasy, love and dreams ensued in Shakespeare’s most beguiling comedy. Five couples; three human, one fairy, and one mythical, found their relationships sorely tested, intimately probed and indecently exposed when a troupe of amateur theatricals bumbled into the forest to rehearse a play. This timeless comic masterpiece explored every colour in the spectrum of love, from arranged marriage to elopement; from infatuation to hatred; from chivalric devotion to raw sex. Add to this bawdy mix a heady brew of confusion, magic and mischief, and the result was the most perfectly frothy comedy for a summer evening. The event, supported by Montgomery Town Council and Harrison’s Solicitors, was organised by Mike Mills who said, “After the absence of live theatre in Montgomery for two years due to the pandemic, it was great to be able to stage this performance again. It’s very gratifying to see people turn up, have a picnic and enjoy one of the best outdoor performing theatrical companies in one of the most stunning locations in Powys.” Photo by G17 Photography More photos: https://www.montgomery-wales.uk/play/photo.html
Over the last couple of months, the Friends of Montgomery Play Park have raised funds from a wonderful Jubilee window competition, a coffee morning at the Town Hall, and a percentage of sales proceeds from the ‘It’s All in a Title’ art exhibition. They were also over the moon to be awarded £5,161 from the MCCP (Montgomery Community Care Project) towards an inclusive piece of equipment. At the time of writing, Montgomery Town Council with support from FMPP are putting together a tender document to see contractors deliver Phase 1 of the project during early autumn. This will include earthworks, accessible paths, and a ‘keep’ on the largest mound, with various play items around the base, to include climbing and balance play. A re-worked Lottery application will be submitted in due course, to help deliver Phase 2 and a greater volume of play equipment. The group will continue to fundraise to support the delivery of the park, especially in light of increasing costs. Their next fabulous fundraiser will be a Scarecrow Competition and Trail which will take place from 28th October to 6th November - save the date and watch out for information to follow. The FMPP Localgiving page is still open and continues to receive generous donations. It is a quick and easy way to make a donation and all UK taxpayers are eligible for gift aid to be added to their donation: https://localgiving.org/charity/friends-ofmontgomery-play-park/ At their AGM on September 8th, the group will be looking for new Committee Members to take on the roles of Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. The current members will still assist with community fundraising, but are looking for fresh energy and input. Please do get in touch if you have any questions or are interested in a role: email@example.com
Montgomery Show emerged from its pandemic hibernation with a fantastic 2022 Show with all the features Montgomery residents and visitors have come to expect: a carnival procession through the town, a classic and vintage vehicle rally with a wonderful commentary, children's races, tug of war, potato in a bucket and dog show, as well as a marquee full of horticulture, cookery and craft. The fantastic Sally Gartell Academy of Dance wowed the Show with their fluid dancing even in the extreme heat. On top of all the 'usuals' this year were a full "bellow" of Town Criers from around the UK. Mya commented, “Loved every second. Good job to everyone involved and all the organisers. Look forward to next year.” Samantha added, “I loved the vintage rally. Fair play to those taking part in that heat. It was a great event.” Phil said, “These shows matter a lot to the local community. A year in the planning then over in a few hours. Well done to everyone associated with the Montgomery Show. A Herculean effort and it paid off, judging by all the smiles and lovely comments.” All the hard work is worth it when you see the community pull together and everyone has a wonderful day. The Show Committee would like to thank all those involved including the exhibitors, the 30+ stall holders, the fire brigade, St. John's Ambulance and the recycling team (Montgomery Energy Group, Guides and Rainbows). Visit the Show’s Facebook page at fb.me/MontgomeryShow Photo: Carnival Queen Samara Taylor with 2022 Show Presidents Judith and Dave Poulter
A community orchard in Montgomery has been named for one of its founders who passed away earlier this year. The orchard on the corner of Forden Road and Station Road is now “Clinton’s Community Orchard”. In May this year, Clinton Small, resident of Montgomery for 20 years, passed away. One of the projects that had been close to his heart over the last few years was the creation of a community orchard for Montgomery. Clinton identified a suitable location in 2017: a triangle of land at the bottom of town that lay in the junction between the roads to Forden and to Caerhowel. This land belonged to Powys Council, but had lain neglected for many years, reserved by the council as perhaps necessary one day to improve that junction, but unlikely to happen soon. Clinton persuaded the council that until they did need it for the junction, it would be ideal as a community orchard, and he and the MEG (Montgomery Energy Group) community gardeners were given formal permission to use it for this until they want it back. Clinton managed to get a small grant from Social Farms and Gardens, an organisation dedicated to supporting community food growing, and with this, and some additional fundraising, private donations and a group of volunteers, the first trees were planted and the area kept mown and tidy. Over the 5 years since, soft fruit trees have been added, and a picnic bench, and some generously donated raised beds. Finally, early this year, another 6 fruit trees were planted. The original trees are now bearing generous quantities of fruit, as are the soft fruit bushes. In view of Clinton's contribution to starting up the orchard and making it happen, and maintaining it almost single-handedly during covid when working groups could not convene, his friends agreed that the orchard should be named Clinton's Community Orchard in his memory. Jenny Brignell created an oak name board for the orchard that was put in place on the occasion of scattering Clinton’s ashes at the orchard. Clinton’s Community Orchard is there for everyone to enjoy and to help themselves to the produce that grows there.
On Friday July 29, a bellringing team from North Wales and Hereford successfully rang a full peal to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. This followed an unsuccessful attempt back in early June, and was the first full peal rung in the St Nicholas’ tower since 2006. Congratulations to Geoffrey Parting, Nicola Galton, Neil Bennett, Christopher Pickford, Peter Furniss and Andrew Gordon who rang 5,040 changes of Kent, Cambridge and Plain Bob in two hours and forty-eight minutes. Geoff rang at short notice as another team member had covid, and Neil stepped in at the last minute to replace a team member stuck on the M6. The peal was also a farewell compliment to Cathy and Rev Geoffrey Spencer with thanks for all they have done for North Wales ringing over the years. A short video clip was posted on the Montgomery Wales facebook page fb.me/montgomerypowys (search “peal”).