The ancient Town and Port of Faversham has a new Mayor

Last night Faversham invested its new Mayor in the presence of  Lord Boyce, Lord Warden of Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle, Faversham is a member of the Confederation of the Cinque Ports and many Mayors of the Cinque Ports were at the investiture last night.

It was as though Faversham had rediscovered its Port and the importance of Faversham Creek – Lord Boyce had visited the Purifier Building and seen the work of the Faversham Creek Trust.  He reminded those present of the importance of maritime Kent and of Faversham’s contribution to it.

Our new Mayor Shiel Campbell was entrusted with the Wand of Office, the emblem of straightness and integrity of rule.  In her acceptance speech, Shiel

  • committed herself to bring back mutual respect to relationships in the town.
  • to develop means by which the Town Council could be more proactive in planning and development matters
  • complemented the Faversham Creek Trust and its efforts to raise £125,000 for the Swing Bridge.

There were gasps of surprise and delight at her support for the work of the Faversham Creek Trust.

Proceedings were closed by the Mayor’s Chaplain, the Revd Simon Rowlands with a prayer for Faversham’s safety, prosperity and welcome.

Last night it felt as though the tide turned in Faversham and that the Town was no longer turning its back on the Creek.

In Shiel’s own words: 

“There are three things I would like to promote in my Mayoral year:

Firstly, to build on and extend the levels of communication and co-operation with town residents and businesses.  It is a natural progression of the digital age that we live in that information can be quickly and easily sourced via websites and I would like to see this encouraging more people to come along to the Town Council meetings and take part, in a co-operative, collaborative way.  I believe we can get much more done by working together and building bonds.  So much more is achieved with a congenial conversation over a coffee than a correspondence clash via the local papers.

Secondly,  with four proposed major housing developments affecting the town, one from each point of the compass, the time is right to have some sort of forum to discuss and shape ideas and to address the fine detail regarding space and design within each development.  To have one good strong voice to advise and negotiate with the developers at the outset and not at the end.  It may also be that we can look at the knock on impact of all this development upon: traffic, transport, parking, cycling, walking, green corridors etc and a single port of call for discussions about major infrastructure requirements like roads, schools, surgeries and so forth.  There will be more of this at the Annual Town Meeting on the 23rd May.

Thirdly: I have been attending the Ladies’ Coaching sessions at the Recreation Ground on a Wednesday morning for 11 years, I have never done anything for that long and I still have lots to learn!   So, just for a bit of fun, and to encourage a more active local business integration, I hope to set up a Tennis Tournament, to rival former Mayor Ken Neame’s Industrial Bowls Tournament. 

Finally, the Mayor’s Charity, In recognition of the amazing work that was done by this charity last year, in having the vision and drive to think outside the box and find a way to make possible what seemed impossible, then in being part a very tricky deal of match funding from several separate bodies and giving us an outstanding example of what can be done when you turn from conflict and controversy to collaboration and co-operation.  Lastly in raising the £125,000 needed to get the whole show on the road in an eyewateringly short 5 months.  I am immensely pleased to announce that the Creek Trust will be my principle charity for the year. 

This group has restored a derelict building and helped to bring the Creek back into good use, it has set up boatbuilding apprenticeships and courses for the long-term unemployed.  It has been a long hard road and feelings have run high, but much has been achieved on both sides and now is the time to put the pain behind us and make the most of what we have, working together towards a bright and vibrant creek to be enjoyed by all.  This afternoon, the Admiral of the Cinque Ports, Lord Boyce was shown around and I know he was very impressed by all that he saw.”

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