February 2023 Update from The Mayor

Whittlesey and Whittlesea Linked in Community

Newcomers to the town and this magazine may not be aware of the strong links that exist between our town and the township of Whittlesea in the state of Victoria, Australia. 

The ties between the two communities is believed to stretch back over 200 years when Robert Mason (a surveyor born in Whittlesey) was sent to Victoria to lend his skills alongside the Surveyor General Sir Andrew Clarke. 

Links were established between the two communities and in the dark days at the end of the Second World War, residents of Whittlesea Australia sent food parcels to weary Whittlesey soldiers returning from the battle lines. This provided a welcome treat and nutrition for their families who were living with austerity and food rationing in Britain.

Over 60 years later in 2009, forest fires swept through Victoria destroying settlements in and around Whittlesea. A relief centre was set up at Kinglake and when news of this devastation reached the UK, the Mayor of Whittlesey Town Council suggested that £1,000 should be donated to the relief fund which was readily agreed. 

A general appeal was set up in our town and the generosity of local citizens resulted in a grand total of £10,000 being raised for the relief fund.

Former Councillor, Mrs Gill Lawrence and her partner, Bob Allen, took an eight week trip to Australia to see the devastation for themselves. In recognition of the services of the community of Whittlesey UK, a key with an accompanying certificate of thanks was presented to them by the Mayor of Whittlesea, Cllr Mary Lalios. These are displayed in the chamber to this day. It is a symbolic gesture meaning that the people of Whittlesey UK are always welcome in Whittlesea, Australia.

Christmas Reception in the Council Chamber

Just prior to Christmas I was delighted to be able to hold a reception in the Council Chamber for the present Chief Executive Officer of the City of Whittlesea, Craig Lloyd, who was on a tour of Europe culminating in spending Christmas with relatives in Essex.

Invited guests included Mrs Gill Lawrence, Roger Brown (one of our Lay Ministers who makes regular visits to Whittlesea, Australia), Town Councillors and members of the Whittlesey Society. Gifts were exchanged and Craig and Roger Brown took the opportunity to record an interview with Robert Windle of Fenland Youth Radio from which it emerged that Craig is indeed a talented Country Music songwriter and singer.

Whittlesey Christmas Extravaganza

Another notable event at the end of 2022 was the Whittlesey Christmas Extravaganza which proved to be one of the best yet and received many comments of praise. However, the small committee that works so hard to put on this much loved event are on the lookout for new members to join their committee to ensure that the event continues.

If you would like to be involved, then please contact the Committee Secretary, Mrs Rosemary Marson who will be delighted to tell you more. You can contact Rosemary at rosemarymarson2004@hotmail.com

Anyone with social media skills would be especially welcome.

King’s Coronation

It is not too late for anyone who wishes to be involved in planning local celebrations for the King’s Coronation in May. Please contact our Town Clerk, Mrs Sue Piergianni at clerk@whittleseytowncouncil.gov.uk

Till next time….

Cllr David K M Mason

Mayor & Leader – Whittlesey Town Council

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