Our school visits have been memorable

Fareham mayor Mike Ford and his wife Anne
Fareham mayor Mike Ford and his wife Anne
Fellow student Bethany Toon, 17, with Bruce Wetherill, 25, at St Vincent College, Gosport  Picture: Neil Marshall (171028-16)

Bruce a step closer to his army dream

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Fareham’s mayor Councillor Mike Ford talks about visits to schools around the borough with the mayoress, his wife, Anne

The answer to the latter question is easy – there has not been one single engagement that we have not thoroughly enjoyed.

To the first question, we have been privileged to visit some wonderful and glitzy events in our six months in office but the ones that really stand out have been visits to schools and colleges.

At most infant, primary and junior schools we are welcomed by the pupils and often given a tour of the school by them. Without exception, these and the many other students that we come into contact with, have been polite, welcoming, friendly and indeed, a credit to their school and families.

Our first involvement with schools was at a leavers’ service in July, for the children of Ranvilles, Redlands and Wallisdean schools that were moving up to ‘senior’ schools. A lovely service indeed.

Since then, we have visited both Locks Heath junior and primary schools to open on both occasions, superb new extensions incorporating state-of-the-art new classrooms. Another lovely event was a civic awards presentation at Park Gate School.

From a personal perspective, two school visits stand out. In the summer we opened the Sarisbury Infants Strawberry Fayre, where two of our granddaughters attend and our daughter is a governor, a real home from home afternoon. It was here that one of the pupils presented us with a bag full of about 40 cards that were made by the pupils to welcome us. Most of them asked a particular question about our year as mayor and mayoress and these necessitated us visiting the school a week or so later to meet with the pupils to answer their questions.

The other visit was to Hook-with-Warsash Primary, where all three of our children attended, two of whom were taught by the current headteacher Sara Willoughby. Our visit to each classroom here attracted many questions, the most popular being: ‘How much are those chains worth?’ Ah, budding entrepreneurs. The school also presented a wonderful Remembrance Day tribute.

At senior school level, visits to Fareham Academy’s art exhibition and open evening were special occasions, not only for the awards but the opportunity for many students to showcase their singing and dancing talents.

We hope that in the next six months, we will have the opportunity to visit many more of Fareham’s excellent schools.