What we did for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

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I REFER to the letter last week, expressing embarrassment and sadness for an “almost total lack of effort shown by our local council” over the Queen’s jubilee, and complaining that little is done to brighten the town at Christmas.

Mr Saunders is not clear which council he criticises, but may like to know that both town and district councils have actually put significant effort into the jubilee, and to the forthcoming Olympic Torch Relay; and we make a fair contribution to Christmas!

Lewes Town Council purchased bunting and flags and distributed this to more than 60 businesses, who displayed it very effectively over the holiday weekend, and will do so again when the Olympic torch passes through in July.

The threat of damage to historic buildings is not a matter of our “wishes” – it is a very real concern for the owners and the option to criss-cross the street is complicated by traffic considerations. At Christmas, it is the Chamber of Commerce who decorate the town, and the town council helps with a significant annual grant, on top of providing the traditional Christmas tree and lights at the War Memorial.

Let us also not forget that our staff help to make the late night shopping evenings such a success by giving up their evening to don fancy-dress, and offer mulled wine and hot chocolate in the town hall foyer.

Generally celebrating the Queen’s jubilee weekend, the town council contributed a four-figure sum towards Nevill Juvenile Bonfire Society’s beacon bonfire and to their marvellous Lewes-style firework finale. With the district council, we jointly hosted a Sussex cream tea at the town hall for more than 330 senior citizens and young people – and an exhibition in the Corn Exchange of more than 1,600 portraits of the Queen made by young pupils at schools across the district, that was visited and enjoyed by hundreds of people.

We arranged for the pealing of bells across the town, and have more projects planned during the jubilee year, such as an exhibition of photographs contrasting the jubilees of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth to be shown in the town hall foyer on national Heritage Open Day in September.

I would encourage anyone who feels as Mr Saunders does and would like to know what we do, to either visit the town hall, or telephone or contact us by e-mail; we are always happy to answer any question.

Cllr Michael Chartier, Mayor of Lewes