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Mayor's Blog - Cllr George Petrie 2016 -17:
Mayor's Appeal:
The Mayor's Appeal is in support of the 1st Blaina Scouts, Squadron 275 ATC and the Rainbow project at Coed-y-Garn Primary School.

June 2016:
I attended the Town Council's 4th Annual Primary Schools Talent Showcase on Wednesday 15th June at Ystruth Primary School. I would like to thank  all of the children, PTA and staff of Ysgol Bro Helyg, Blaen-y-Cwm, Coed-y-Garn and Ystruth Primary School for their help in making the night such a success. I would also like to give a huge thanks to Mrs Liz Harris, the headmistress of Ystruth Primary School for kindly allowing us to use the school hall for the event, also a huge thanks to guest artist Jordan Jones for his outstanding performance. Its remarkable how much talent we have within Nantyglo & Blaina and all acts did themselves and their school's proud!
Councillor Kerry-Anne Watkins (Deputy Mayor) deputised for me and attended the Armed Forces day on Sunday 26th June at Bedwellty House & Park, Tredegar.

July 2016
On the 1st of July I attended the Battle of the Somme at Central Park war memorial in Blaina. The war memorial looked as though it could do with some tidying so myself, along with my fellow Councillor's Anita Banks, James Anstee(Leader) and John Watkins(Deputy Leader) decided to roll up our sleeves on the Saturday after the event and do some weeding to tidy it up. 
I would like to thank my Chaplain, Reverend Roy Watson for my invitation to the Songs of Praise at St Peter's Church on July 25th 2016. Myself and Steph attended the service, where we literally sang for our fish and chip supper! We both thoroughly enjoyed the evening and are very grateful for the invitation.


Mayor's Blog - Cllr John Watkins 2015 - 16:
Mayor's Appeal:
The Mayor's Appeal is in support of the Fostering Network and Gwent Domestic Abuse Service

May 2015:

I was delighted that my first duty as Town Mayor was in my own ward! I was invited by Ebbw Fach Creative Club to attend their Annual Art Exhibition in St Peter's Church, Blaina on Wednesday 27th May 2015. I am delighted by just how much talent is in our local area and the quality of the work was outstanding. Many thanks to the organisers for giving their time so freely.

June 2015:

I attended the AGM of Blaenau Gwent District Scouts at the Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale on June 3rd. It was a pleasure to see cadets from the local areas being presented with thier achievement badges and also higher presentations of Duke of Edinburgh Award and The Queens Award. I had chat with Blaina's own Scout Leader, Chris Harrison, we both agreed that the Scouts movement has a lot to offer children in terms of motivation and encouragement.

I am looking forward to putting my best foot forward on Friday 12th June, along with fellow foster carers and foster children to raise some funds for FosterNetwork. The walkers will start from three points - The Willow Tree in Brynmawr, Cwm & Tredegar and finish up in The Family Resource Centre in Ebbw Vale. The hardy fundraisers will be wearing orange clothing, so look out for me in my Day-Glo orange jacket (a car booty bargain) and curly orange wig. Whilst KerryAnne isnt "walking the walk" she has certainly been "talking the talk" by drumming up lots of pledges of sponsorship money for me. If you would like to sponsor me, please contact Nantyglo & Blaina Town Council.

Just back from the Town Council's fantastic 3rd Annual Primary Schools Talent Showcase! Thanks to ALL the children who took part from the Primary Schools of Ystruth, Blaen-y-Cwm, Ysgol Bro-Helyg and Coed-y-Garn. Many thanks also to Blaina Beginners Band who made their debut appearance at the Showcase.
You all did your schools and parents proud and it just shows what amazing talent we have in Nantyglo & Blaina.
Thanks also to guest artist Amy Robins who gave a wonderful performance of Emeile Sande's "The Clown".
Special thanks to Wales oldest cinema,  our very own Market Hall Cinema for the donation of a family ticket for the Mayor's Appeal raffle. Many thanks must also go to Des Ward, Beryl Ward and Kerys Bees for all their help and hard work.
On the night the raffle raised £90+. A brilliant night all round and I am relieved that my first stint of being MC for the event went really well.
Nantyglo & Blaina certainly do have TALENT.

I had a great day on Friday 12th completing my sponsorship walk to raise some cash for FosterNetwork via my Mayor's Appeal. I was joined by Deputy Mayor for Blaenau Gwent, Barrie Sutton, other foster carers and some members of the Foster Care Team at Social Services Ebbw Vale. I would like to thank everyone who was kind enough to sponsor me and I am delighted to report £215 raised to date. You couldnt miss me in my bright orange coat and wig, but at least it kept the rain off.

Myself and KerryAnne were both pleased to be invited along to the unveiling of a new statue in Terence Gardens, Brynmawr on the evening of Wednesday 17th June. The event's MC was BBC broadcaster and presenter Roy Noble. Roy kept the crowd amused with his witty one liners and anecdotes. Musical entertainment was provided by Beaufort Male choir who sang a varied set, including a few old war time songs. The boys were in fine voice and many passers-by  stopped to also enjoy thier wonderful performance. The crowds were also fortunate enough to listen to two other fantastic vocal performances by the very talented Amy Robbins and 12 year old Laura Huckbody. Two beautiful voices, and both girls carried on with thier performances despite a few technical hitches.
Roy invited artist Penny Chandler to unveil her new work of art, a statue entitled "Nymph" which had been placed to over look the water feature in the Gardens. Despite a slight drizzle, and hordes of knats dive bombing the audience, everyone thoroughly enjoyed themseleves and it was good to see what a superb job has been done in the Gardens. It is a lovely place that the whole community can use. I also enjoyed catching up with other members of the "Chain Gang", Deputy Borough Mayor Barrie Sutton, Town Mayor Nigel Boyd and Town Mayoress Julie Boyd. 

I was very pleased to be invited along to the Armed Forces Day by Tredegar’s Town Mayor, Geraint Meredith. The event was held on Sunday 28th June at Bedwellty House Tredegar.
There was lots of live entertainment, plenty of things to keep the children amused and plenty of community spirit to go round!

July 2015:

Myself and KerryAnne were pleased to receive an invitation from our Chaplain, Reverend Roy Watson to the annual fish and chip supper. We attended the service, followed by the fish and chip supper in St Peters, Blaina on Monday 27th July. As usual Roy delivered a thought provoking sermon. There was lots of lively community discussion during the refreshments afterwards, and it was nice to speak to so many of my late mother’s good friends.

August 2015:

On Tuesday 11th August I attended Jeremy Corbyn’s address at the Nye Bevan Stones on Sirhowy Hill, Tredegar. Mr Corbyn delivered a very stirring speech. It was good to meet up with various other town and borough councillors from my own ward, and those from Brynmawr and Tredegar.

September 2015:

KerryAnne and I were honoured to be invited to the Civic Sunday Ceremony of Blaenau Gwent’s Mayor, Councillor Derrick Bevan. The service was held on Sunday 20th September in Cwm Salvation Army Hall, and the guests were entertained by Cwm Band, Cwm Choristers Cwm Male Choir and solo artist Kelsy Mitchell.
We enjoyed the chance to catch up with other members of "The Chain Gang", Tredegar Town Mayor Councillor Geraint Meredith and his wife Rhiannon, and also Town Mayor for Brynmawr, Councillor Nigel Boyd and his wife Councillor Julie Boyd, to discuss their chosen charities and share best practices for fund raising.

Myself and KerryAnne have become "groupies" to Cwm Male Choir. We had the pleasure of hearing the Choir again at Blaina's Methodist Chapel on Wednesday 23rd September, where they were invited to a concert celebrating 150 years of the chapel's history by our very own Reverend Roy Watson.
The Choir, ably lead by their dynamic conductor, Pauline Sharpe, sang a medley of tunes both old and new which had the audience singing along.
I was asked to say a few words, and spoke of my family’s long association with the Chapel, especially my grandmother, who was a Sunday school teacher there, and my daughter Lisa-Marie, who was baptized there. A good night was had by all, and it was lovely to see such community spirit.

It was a very humbling experience to attend the parade for The Walking Wounded at The Market Square, Brynmawr on Thursday 24th September. It was an honour and a privilege to give praise and thanks to those brave soldiers who put their lives in danger to protect ours.

On Sunday 27th September I was absolutely delighted to hold the Mayor’s Civic Sunday at Wesley Church in Nantyglo. The Civic Sunday was presided over by our Chaplain Reverend Roy Watson who gave us all food for thought with his sermon that spoke about communities working together as a whole.
Thanks to all visiting dignitaries of The Chain Gang, Town and Borough Councillors, our AM Alan Davies, and friends and family who also attended. Not forgetting thanks to Tracy Hughes and Courtney Coles our oh-so-efficient Town Clerks, who make it all appear to be effortless. I know that is far from the truth, and these ladies do a huge amount of work behind the scenes.

 October 2015

The Town Council held an Open Information Day in Salem on Saturday 3rd October. We invited local community groups along to show what they had to offer people in the local community. We had Communities First, Citizen’s Advice, representatives from Blaenau Gwent Fostering Services, and the Scouts to name but a few.
It must be said, visitor numbers were not great at all. However, information was delivered into the local community. I would like to thank my wife, KerryAnne, and Councillors George Petrie and James Anstee for joining me in hunting down people in the high street to either drag into Salem, or to hand info packs to if we couldn’t get them through the doors.
The small amount of interest from the locality was a disappointment, but we will take on board the suggestion that a Saturday morning in Blaina is very quiet, as people are elsewhere doing their shopping. 

I was delighted to take a trip to Ebbw Vale, to endorse the TUC campaign “Better Jobs for Wales” on Tuesday 6th October. This was an event that took me right back to my grass roots, as a Trade Union Conveynor, and a workplace Learning Rep in Coopers Filters, Abergavenny (now Sogefi, Tredegar). I met up with TUC Learning and Development Officer Kevin Williams who told me that this campaign highlights the fact that the Welsh Government has new powers to ensure that public investments in services directly creates more jobs, for example, getting a product completed within a valleys manufacturing environment, instead of outsourcing that product anywhere else within the UK.
The TUC set up a temporary office in Ebbw Vale, to advertise the fact they are backing better jobs for the Valleys, and to get people in to engage in the campaign by adding their views to the process.
You can view this campaign online at betterjobswales.org

My Mayors Appeal Concert, in Aid of Fostering Network and Gwent Domestic Abuse Services, held on Wednesday 15th October 2015 at Salem Chapel, Blaina.
I would like to thanks Des Ward and his Troupe for a fabulous nights entertainment at Salem. All the young singers showed exceptional talent and poise and did everyone proud. They covered traditional and contemporary songs, and set the bar very, very high with their standard of performance. I'd like to thank Councillor Anita Banks for an excellent job of being our MC for the performance. I'd like to also thank Councillor George Petrie (dept Mayor) for his help in procuring raffle prizes, and Councillor James Anstee for his help with preparation for the Concert.
Attendance, again, was not fabulous, which was such a shame, as I found it incredible just how much talent we have here in Blaenau Gwent. I'm sure in the not too distant future some of these youngsters will have their names in lights, and I will be able to say "I saw them on a tiny stage in my local town, before they became famous. Bravo The Troupe, a stella performance, thank you so much for giving up your time to help with my fund raising.