At his end of year Service of Celebration on Saturday 14th April 2018 the Mayor of Amesbury, Councillor Andrew Williams gave the following speech:
This year seems to have flown by,
There have been many exceptional moments and I have some very interesting and fond memories of this year.
At times it has been very frustrating, in particular with the History Centre. It has felt like picking up the pieces from misled ideas and bad advice. But I feel truly satisfied that this council has now taken the correct legal advice and improved its financial commitment to the project. It is very easy for people to sit on the sidelines and cast criticism, but you cannot move anything forward without the correct foundations in place, and this has been done.
During my term I have done many things from opening school gardens and presenting prizes, far too many to mention.
I particularly recall my trip to Belgium with a group of friends to commemorate Passchendaele, the 3rd Battle of Ypres. Myself and the Mayoress laid wreaths at the Menin Gate Memorial to remember those men, and in particular those from Amesbury, who gave their lives during WW1. The next day I laid a wreath during a ceremony at the new Passchendaele memorial, over 600 men from Wiltshire lost their lives at this battle. During this visit we met with the Deputy Mayor of Ypres and presented her with framed prints of Canadian troops marching through Amesbury and also past Stonehenge, which she found very interesting. History doesn’t always highlight the significant role that this area played during the first world war.
The Mayor’s charity I chose for this year was the Amesbury and Boscombe Down Link Scheme. This wonderful group of volunteers give up so much of their spare time helping others get around to important appointments like the hospital and doctors.
Raising money for the Link Scheme wasn’t my only aim, the other was to raise their profile, for one thing they are always in need of is extra volunteers to help with those important journeys.
My fund raising campaign started with a parachute jump with The Red Devils. This was a truly memorable occasion and a great honor to jump with part of the Army’s best. Also, we held a truly memorable Gala Dinner at Antrobus house, which was a great occasion. Thank you to everybody who supported me with these events.
About 18 months ago I started to look into the Town’s sporting facilities. It was clear from a report produced by Wiltshire Council that the town was seriously lacking in sports facilities.
A sports forum group was formed to drive things forward and to date we have made progress.
The facilities at Boscombe Down haven’t been used for some 3 years or more and funding was required to refurbish the artificial pitch. After many meetings, and with help from Wing commander Vin Thomas and representatives from the Football Association a feasibility plan was established, with the prospect of some very serious backing for the project. There has been a delay of late with various rumors regarding the site, but it is understood that we are back on track and hope to bring this project through to its fruition in the near future.
Also, with regard to Rugby, myself and Phil Monk met up with the Royal Artillery Rugby Team some 18 months ago, to see if they could assist in starting an Amesbury Rugby Club. The backing of the Army has really helped establish the club with some great coaches and players. Along the way we met somebody who really took this project to another level, Duncan Souster, who is now the Chairman of the club, and is doing a great job. This summer the club is hoping to introduce touch rugby and possibly rugby for junior levels.
In their first year the men’s team reached the final of the Dorset and Wilts shield, and narrowly lost by one point to Puddletown after extra time, a great achievement for their first year. Two weeks ago the club fielded a ladies’ team for the first time. Their opposition was Basingstoke. Amesbury won 46 – 12.
The highlight of my year as Mayor was last weekend’s event, The Freedom of The Town parade. Amesbury Council decided to give the Freedom to MOD Boscombe Down to commemorate 100 years of the RAF, and a special thanks to all those involved on that day.
I would like to say thank you to all the Councillors and staff for your support over the year, at times it has been strenuous. It is clear there are pressing needs for the future of the town, but with a willing approach I am sure we can meet the demands of this rapidly expanding town.
Finally, if you know anything about me, you will know how I am willing to try and make a difference. Certainly I have always admired people who go above and beyond and achieve greatness. In particular, one of my idols wrote:
"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it.
Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion.
Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare.
Impossible is potential.
Impossible is temporary.
Impossible is nothing."
-- Muhammad Ali.