Looking back at mayor’s tea parties

Mike and Anne pictured with a French competitor at the Ice Swimming Championship
Mike and Anne pictured with a French competitor at the Ice Swimming Championship
The Highfield Campus at the University of Southampton, which is home to the George Thomas Building. Picture: Geograph

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I have written previously about the two wonderful local charities that we are supporting in our mayoral year, The Dave Wellman Cancer Trust and The Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service.

As we move towards the end of our term of office, I reflect on some of the events that we have held to benefit our charities and look particularly at a series of events that we have held in this past 12 months.

The Mayor’s Parlour sits on floor eight of the civic offices and it is a truly lovely venue that we are able to use to host our many visitors.

The room affords outstanding views across to Portsmouth Harbour, Portsdown Hill to the north and the Fareham High Street conservation area just below us.

On the first Thursday of each month we host a tea party in the parlour, where the public just turn up, listen to a talk for a guest speaker, then enjoy a traditional afternoon tea in the Parlour, all this for the princely sum of £4.

Our speakers have been very diverse. Our year started with a visit from two four-legged friends, Guide dogs in training, and followed on with hugely interesting and illustrated talks from the incredible Warsash-based sculptor Ian Brennan and The Safety of our Skies from the National Air Traffic Services (NATS).

The ever popular Vox Pop and Rock Choir entertained us just before Christmas and among other speakers, the new River Hamble Harbour Master Jason Scott, talked about his role.

These events have been truly lovely and give us the opportunity to talk to the many people who attend and give them the opportunity to enjoy the Parlour that we are proud to call ours for a year.

I cannot finish without telling you about one incredible event that we recently attended.

The International Ice Swimming Association brought their first national championship to Fareham in February and many hardy swimmers from both this country and internationally, took to the cold waters (a maximum water temperature of five degrees is stipulated) and swam 21 lengths of the Andark lake in Swanwick, which measures 1 km.

It is fair to say that many of them emerged ‘blue’ and had to undergo a medical before being allowed to warm up in the sauna.

To give some perspective, the venue for the last event was Murmansk, within Russia’s Arctic Circle and the next one, the icy waters of the Baltic at Tallinn. Swanwick was probably hot by comparison!