You may have read recently in the local press that Bakkavor has decided to support my Chairman’s Charity, the Spalding WWII Memorial, this year. I’ve written a piece here, which I hope you will find of interest, sharing with you some personal insights about me and why I am just so proud of what, with my Committee’s help, we have managed to accomplish so far.
I’m a Lincolnshire Yellowbelly, born in Moulton Seas End. I went to chapel before I went to school and I have always believed in this Country and respect and support Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
My father was a smallholder farmer and always voted Conservative. In the 1950’s farming was very hard and I used to watch my Mum and Dad work every hour they could with very little reward. When I became 15 years old, my Dad asked me if I wished to take over the farm from him. Nothing was further from my mind because I wanted to wear a uniform and see the world, not stop in my village growing cabbages. Not that there is anything wrong with growing cabbages!!
Without my parent’s knowledge I decided to join the Royal Navy and got on a train to Derby. I remember the journey as if it was yesterday. I went to the Royal Navy Recruitment offices at 96 Green Street, passed the medical and exams and then had to go home and try and convince my mum to sign the papers because I was still only 15. After a few days of my mum crying she finally gave in and that is when, in my opinion, I became the Queen’s man.
I served her majesty for 12 years in the Royal Navy and thoroughly enjoyed the lifestyle especially the sports. After the Navy, I continued with my uniform theme joining the Cleveland Police Force. I think that is when I started to get interested in politics and was very grateful to the late Margaret Thatcher who gave the police a huge pay rise.
After serving most of the police years in CID, I decided to return to Lincolnshire. I was still interested in Politics but I do believe that if there was a Royalist Party I would have joined that instead of becoming a member of the Conservative Party.
I’ve been a District Councillor for about 10 years and I have served the good people of the Moulton and Weston Ward with pride and if they will have me I hope to stand for many more years to come. The height of my political career came when the South Holland District Council Conservative Group elected me to be Vice Chairman of the Council. To wear the chain of office gave me a great deal of pride and I vowed then that I would promote the good people of South Holland as best as I could. I served as Vice Chairman for two years and because I’m a Christian enjoyed attending Civic church services all over the East Midlands always being supported by my wife, Christine. I used to watch all the other Mayors and Chairmen performing their civic duties and learned a lot about the way Civic Events function.
During this two year period as Vice Chairman, I met some very extraordinary people we all refer to as “the veterans”. These brave men and women are our modern day heroes. They wear their medals with such pride and never miss a Parade or Military Event. Several of them have very severe medical problems but they never complain, they always smile, say the right thing and could teach a few of us about looking smart on all occasions.
When you sit back and think this Country would be a very strange place without their wartime heroics and when you hear the stories about what they did it gladdens your heart.
As Vice Chairman, the veterans complained to me that there is a WWI Memorial in Ayscoughfee but no Memorial to commemorate the fallen from WWII. I told the veterans that if I was fortunate enough to be made Chairman of the South Holland District Council then my Charity for the two years I would be in office would be The WWII Memorial. After I had served my two year term as Vice Chairman, you can imagine how delighted I was to be elected as Chairman of South Holland. I like to think that my mum and dad, who have both passed, look down on me with pride.
A WWII Memorial Committee was then set up. This Committee was made up of Cllr R Grocock (Chairman), Veteran David Allmond, Veteran Keith Crawford, Veteran Ken Willows, Veteran Frank White, Researcher Cheryl Arnold, Cllr Jan Whitbourn, Accountant Ken Maggs, Businessman David Turner, Manager of Ayscoughfee Julia Knight, Head Gardener Dan Cooper and Media Liaison Christine Grocock.
We then worked very hard as a unit. We identified how much money we would require to build the memorial. (About £55,000) We designed the memorial shape and identified what materials we would have to use working hand in hand with Heritage England. We opened a bank account for the charity which is well managed by Ken Maggs from Moore Thompson. We fundraise at every opportunity and we identified whereabouts the Memorial should be erected in Ayscoughfee which is in the Peace Garden.
My term of office finishes in May 2019 and sadly I will no longer be able to wear the chain. I have told the Committee that we must have completed the task by March 2019 whilst I am still Chairman and can arrange for a Service of Dedication to the memorial. To date, we have raised about half the money. We have paid for the Drinking Fountain in Ayscoughfee to be taken down and stored. (This will be re-located and re-built as soon as possible.)
The trench work to support the Memorial is dug and filled with concrete. We are waiting delivery of the polished, curved granite slabs which are paid for and on order.
As a committee we support each other extremely well. Letters are sent out to numerous businesses asking for their support and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all the Companies, Councillors, Organisations and Members of the Public who have donated money for my charity. We are all extremely grateful.
Can you imagine how thrilled the entire WWII Committee were when they heard the news that one of our local “blue chip” companies in Spalding, namely Bakkavor, have decided that in 2018 one of their three charities they will support will be the WWII Memorial Charity.
Bakkavor have a Charity committee chaired by their Logistics Manager, Mr Terry Moore, and also sitting on that committee is Cllr Jan Whitbourn so, with the aid of letter writing, we already had a foot in the door but again their decision to support my Charity was mind blowing.
On the 8th May 2018, the majority of the WWII Committee met up with Bakkavor senior management staff in Ayscoughfee for a photoshoot. It was an ideal opportunity for me to thank them personally for their extreme generosity in choosing and supporting my Charity.
As in previous years, Bakkavor will, once again, be holding a Fun Weekend taking place at Springfield’s on Saturday, 14th July and Sunday, 15th July 2018. There will be fairground attractions, live bands and a host of fun-filled activities over the Fun Weekend event. We would love for as many local people to attend to have a great family weekend.