Life after Mayor and beyond…

Hilary Goodinge, ex-Mayor of Wareham, tells us what her new life challenges are now.

Being Mayor was a privilege, a great honour and a wonderful opportunity to serve Wareham.  I enjoyed every minute! When I first became a Councillor I was so impressed by how much hard work goes on in different departments. The Town Clerk, Vanessa Ricketts, and her team face a daily challenge, especially now, to keep the town functioning for all of us. So much happens to keep services afloat! When I finished my year of office, I resumed my Councillor status serving on committees and attending meetings by Zoom.

Church Warden for Lady St Mary Church and Wareham Parish

On 1st October I became Church Warden for Lady St Mary Church and Wareham Parish and once again found out how much hard work goes on behind the scenes. You may think the Church operates only on Sunday for a few hours, but like the Council there is a great team working literally around the clock to provide a service for our community. The Church is the beating heart at the centre of Wareham.

Did you know there is a Blessing Fund to support struggling families and folk who are facing a practical or economic emergency? There are also lay pastoral assistants dedicated to visiting patients in hospital, fetching shopping and such. So apart from spiritual support there are practical demonstrations of love and neighbourliness. There is also of course a collection for the local Food Bank and you can drop items off at the Parish Hall on opening times 10am to 1pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

The Church works with children out in our schools and in fact the whole community is embraced: there are prayer groups, Home Study groups, an adult choir and children’s Angel Voices Choir, Bellringers, handbellringers, flower arrangers, and Zoom services happening throughout the week including a Youth Club and toddler group when possible. In addition men can join the Men’s breakfast group or, beyond the Church, work in a practical sense with The Men’s Shed project, which operated before the virus and delivered the wooden bridge in the nature conservation area over by the towpath.

Our Mental Health has never been more precarious and in Wareham there are so many clubs and groups to join. There is something for everybody and for just a friendly chat I recommend to come to Not Just Sundaes for coffee and in normal times our Parish Hall provides wonderful refreshments and socialising on Saturday morning.  

For now ,until we get back to normal, for anyone seeking more individual support our cheery Rector, along with his team, is ready to respond to needs  of various kinds.. My favourite part of my role is welcoming friends and visitors to the 10.00 am service on Sunday. Why not give it a try? I look forward to greeting you. We will all be happy to see you and there are different forms of worship on offer in the parish to suit all ages and styles. We are already looking forward to a Service of Light and the crib service as well as our Carol services. More information will follow.

Art auction for St Martin on the Walls

On a different note something exciting is happening at our St Martin on the Walls Church – that architectural gem in our midst. We are celebrating 1000 years since the founding of the Church!

Due to the virus our intended celebration has been put on hold, but we are meanwhile awaiting confirmation we can go ahead with a sculpture, by a local sculptor in local stone, which will feature St Martin helping the beggar and be sited on the outside of the Church near the entrance.

In order to help pay for it, there will be an online Art Auction (with many local artists participating) taking place between 30th November and 6th December, called Art4Action2. A third of what’s raised in the auction will be split equally between the St Martin’s Church Building Fund (including the planned commemorative sculpture) and the Dorset Community Fund (towards a local homeless charity). This is a community project organised by Wareham Tower Chimes magazine, that a number of us are assisting with.

The postponed public event to celebrate the millennium anniversary we hope will happen next year. So much to look forward to! In the meantime let us all keep safe and protect our community.

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