Nearing the end of a fabulous programme

Fareham mayor Mike Ford
Fareham mayor Mike Ford

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As I write this tenth article, we are on the mayoral homeward straight, being less than five weeks away from May 12 when we end our year and pass on the baton to our successor.

While we still have a considerable number of events to attend, our attention has turned to the final and major event of our charitable rising year, the Mayor’s Ball at Ferneham Hall.

You may recall me saying in an earlier article that we nominated two exceptional and local charities to be the beneficiaries of the funds that we raise through a pretty diverse programme of events.

The Gosport and Fareham In-Shore Rescue Service, based at Stokes Bay, and The Dave Wellman Cancer Trust run solely by its founder Tina Wellman-Hawke from her Bursledon home, will hopefully not only benefit from additional funds, but have had their profile raised.

Well, what have we done to assist our charities? Our first main event in July was a round-the-island 80-odd mile bike ride, undertaken by around 40 keen riders.

The chairman of the Isle of Wight sounded the starting horn and we all enjoyed a lovely ride around the beautiful island. Did the mayor of Fareham finish I hear you say?

Yes I did, coming in late in the afternoon with my daughter Helen who had ridden no more than 20 miles in the preceding many years!

We continued our year with a garden party, fashion show and a wonderful concert in the Warsash Victory Hall by the hugely talented Warsash Band.

This was played to a packed house.

We were thrilled that the Portsmouth Military Wives Choir entertained us at Ferneham Hall in October, along with the superb Spinnaker Brass, who played for us again before Christmas in the Holy Rood Church in Stubbington.

Two Sunday lunches at the Portchester Parish Hall either side of Christmas were really well attended and we were delighted to have as our speakers, Keith and Joyce Thomas from GAFIRS and ex Saints legend Franny Benali.

We returned to our musical theme with a fabulous concert in our local church St Mary’s in Warsash (where Anne and I were married) performed by Soiprano Maria-Brigid Ryan and pianist and organist Chris Milburn.

So here we are nearing the end, but what a fabulous programme of events.

We have hugely enjoyed them and our charities will benefit from them. It’s a win win situation!