The Whitegate Pool amenity area, enjoyed by townsfolk and visitors alike, is undergoing some radical changes. The imminent collapse of the long bridge and the cost of repairs caused a major review of the area by the Town Council and a plan created. Following an on-site consultation with Montgomery Wildlife Trust (MWT), work has begun to increase biodiversity and wildlife value by allowing in more light; managing tree cover; reducing silt run off into the pool, and creating a wide range of habitat areas. A tree surgeon has removed dead wood and pollarded willows then Cllr Lionel Weaver lost no time in putting plans into action to provide access around the whole site. Where possible, timber from the old bridge is being recycled to create new, smaller bridges. Grass is being cut less frequently, which improves soil health and increases bio-diversity, and with brash, log piles and some dead tree stumps placed strategically around the site, there is potential for a greater range of habitats. MWT carried out a specialist beetle survey recently registered a good number of species here already, and there is optimism regarding improving site ecology and the prospect of the area becoming a registered Local Wildlife Site. When completed, the area will have a minimal management regime with assistance from Montgomery Energy Group. Although the site is not currently accessible, plans are afoot for an Open Day later in the year with some expert information on hand. This green space management is at the heart of what Montgomery Town Council is trying to achieve at Whitegate Pool in line with the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 which puts a duty on all County, Town and Community Councils to maintain and enhance biodiversity and promote ecosystem resilience.
Montgomery residents took part in dementia awareness training, provided by Montgomery Dementia Friends, this week. During the session, they learned about what can help people with dementia to continue to live full lives in the community. Montgomery Dementia Friends have produced a wallet-sized ‘Hints and tips’ leaflet designed to serve as a quick reference. Businesses and services in the locality will help to distribute the leaflet. Tips on communication, including the use of body language, can be a good starting point when engaging in conversation. Hints about aspects of the environment such as background noise or poor lighting may be useful to some, and others may be interested in how to help people with dementia to make choices when in a shop or café. People with dementia can easily feel lost or have difficulty finding things, and they may find it challenging to handle money. Most fundamentally, dementia can mean that people may experience ‘reality’ differently and can easily become confused when two different realities collide. Patience and tact are called for, and all these skills can be learned. Businesses who display the leaflets have signed a pledge to say they will take part in Dementia Friends training and present a dementia-friendly face with people living with dementia. Those who have signed the pledge will be able to display a Dementia Friendly sticker in their window. According to a 2012 YouGov public survey reported by Alzheimer’s Society, 70% of people with dementia had stopped going out and doing things due to a lack of confidence. The same survey revealed that 35% of people felt uncomfortable or uncertain about having a conversation with a person with dementia. Montgomery Dementia Friends hope that their new leaflet will provide encouragement and support for people living with dementia to remain involved in the community.
More than 60 of Montgomery’s senior citizens attended the Town Hall on the 5th of January for the annual Christmas meal and entertainment. This event is organised by the Mayor and Town Council, supported by the Freemen and Freewomen of the town. Guests were treated to a three course meal, served by Town Councillors, entertainment and a raffle prize for each to take home. This year the entertainment was provided by dancers from the Sally Gartell School of Dance. The young dancers demonstrated their skills in modern and contemporary dance, and ballet. The performances were much enjoyed by all attending. Sally Gartell said, “This was an opportunity for the girls to showcase some of the new work that they have been rehearsing and I am so proud of how they all danced as this is the very first time some of the work has been performed in front of an audience.” Mayor Haydn Andrew said, “This annual event takes a lot of organising but we know it gives our older residents something to look forward to after the Christmas period.” He added, “I would like to thank my fellow councillors who helped by donating items of food and raffle prizes and in particular by helping out on the day. I would also like to thank Christine our caterer, who provided such a delicious meal.” This years' party was also supported by a donation from the Montgomery Music and Drama Group. This donation was made to the previous Mayor, Councillor Lionel Weaver, for the benefit of older people in the town; who passed it on to this year's Mayor, Haydn Andrews, as there had not been an opportunity to spend it during Mayor Weaver's tenure for the purposes for which it had been donated. Images from the Christmas Meal can be seen on the Council pages or by clicking here
The Montgomery Town Hall clock reads 23:50 on the 31st December 2019, and there's not a soul in sight. The Christmas lights twinkle through a fading mist while a soft breeze carries sleepy whispers and echoes of voices in the distance. No, wait -these are not sleepy whispers, it’s a party of revellers pouring out of houses and hotels onto Broad Street and holding hands together to bring in the New Year. Between 23:50 and 23:55, Broad Street is packed and in its centre is Jay Hall who has kindly stepped in for Town Crier Sue Blower. With bells a-ringing and official Crier hat donned, Jay organises the crowd with volunteer help to spread out in readiness for the New Year countdown. 3-2-1 and the New Year is welcomed in with the crowd singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’, corks popping, hugging and a fair amount of kissing….. Happy New Year Montgomery!
Montgomery Christmas Festival’s carol and Christmas song community event took place at the Town Hall on Saturday 14th December. This annual event has been held for a number of years at the Town Hall, but in recent years it has undergone a revamp, with the timings moving from an evening event, with mulled wine and mince pies, to an afternoon event, with a sumptuous afternoon tea on offer to participants. Sue Blower, Festival chair, who hosted the event and organised it along with the Festival committee, said, “We find the afternoon event, with tea, works better on a number of levels.” She explained, “We attract a wider audience, of all ages - the youngest one this year was only four months old - and the older residents in their eighties. Also finishing earlier means people don’t have to worry about getting home late at night if the weather is freezing - or missing Strictly!” As well as the community singing of well-known carols and Christmas songs, with piano accompaniment from Claire Weston, the audience was treated to two solos from Montgomery school pupil Rhiannon Richards, a reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Sally Orme and a story of the Fourth Wise Man, told by Nicholas Thon. Ruth Moucharafieh, who attended the afternoon’s festivities, said, “Christmas carols and afternoon tea - what a fabulous time in Montgomery Town Hall!” and Mayoress Jane Lloyd said, “Thank you all for a lovely afternoon - we really enjoyed ourselves.”