Chairman’s Autumn Blog

Over the last few months;

After a lovely warm start to September and good weather for Carnival, we have definitely moved into autumn; the nights are drawing in, and mince pies are appearing on supermarket shelves. Before we start the inevitable run-up to Christmas I would like to mention some of the noteworthy events of a busy summer:

  • Initial discussions with regards to Service Devolution and Asset Transfer from Wiltshire Council to Pewsey Parish Council took place on June 4th.
  • On June 8th we welcomed Robert Pilon, a Canadian singer and Musical Theatre star, who performed a special concert in Pewsey Vale School hall. I was privileged to be involved in organising this event, along with Carol Parsons and what a truly memorable evening it was. Robert interwove the fascinating story of tracing his grandfather back to the Pewsey Vale with a selection of sacred and secular music, including many well known songs from the shows he has performed in. Robert underwrote the concert and he, his musicians, and backing singers all gave their time for free, so that monies raised from ticket sales could be shared between his nominated charities, resulting in  Pewsey Carnival £2000, Wiltshire Air Ambulance £500  and the Swindon Salvation Army £656. The PTA of Pewsey Vale school provided a bar, which I understand raised a considerable sum for their funds too.
  • On June 13th I was honoured to visit the Scout Hut and present activity badges to many of the Beaver scouts. Although this is something I have done several times before, I am always impressed by the dedication and determination of our young people, and their achievements.
  • At the Cabinet Meeting on July 2nd, Wiltshire Council gave their support to the details of the Service Devolution and Asset Transfer for Pewsey.
  • Like many other Pewsey residents, my wife and I enjoyed a very hot August Bank Holiday puzzling over the Carnival Scarecrow Trail. We were impressed by the number and standard of the scarecrows despite being frustrated by our inability to solve the cryptic clues!
  • On September 4th I had the privilege and honour to welcome the Right Reverend Andrew Rumsey, Bishop of Ramsbury, to consecrate the extension to our Cemetery. A good number of our local clergy, Parish Councillors and Parishioners also participated in this special, but rarely performed service (in fact it was a “first” for all involved). Afterwards, we were invited back to St John’s Parish Church for some much-appreciated tea and cake, courtesy of the Mother’s Union.
  • The next day something totally different; an evening Community meeting to explain the effects and changes of the proposed Service Devolution and Asset Transfer. Whilst not very well attended, we were pleased with the constructive questions raised and repeated our intentions that, whilst the precept for 2020/2021 would have to be increased, the Parish Council will do its utmost to keep the increase as low as possible. The overall benefit of taking on responsibilities for Litter, Grass Cutting, Hedges and Play Areas Etc; will give us more control going forward. We have also obtained the Freehold of existing Wiltshire Council Play Areas, Green Community spaces and the car parks at Bouverie Hall and Hallgate.  Discussions are ongoing, and nothing is signed as yet. We remain committed to a transparent process, and updates will be made public via our web site, on social media and in the Messenger as things progress.  
  • Although personal letters have gone out to them all, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank our “Litter Ambassador” volunteers for their sterling work in helping to keep our village tidy. Please support them by disposing of any litter appropriately, and taking it home with you whenever possible. 
  • Carnival fortnight seemed to come and go very quickly, with many varied and enjoyable events, the highlight being the illuminated procession on September 21st. The quality of floats seemed particularly high this year, and all involved are to be congratulated. Pewsey is a vibrant village and the Carnival represents an important opportunity for everyone to feel part of their community. The Parish Council remain dedicated to supporting the Carnival and its committee as and when we can.

Curly Haskell


30th September 2019