The Ripon Mayor’s column with Pauline McHardy

The staff at Long Meadows appeared to be very happy and excited about its opening
The staff at Long Meadows appeared to be very happy and excited about its opening

Sunday 24 September - I attended a service for the Freemasons who were celebrating the 300th Anniversary of Freemasonry within the United Grand Lodge of England, and the 200th Anniversary of the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding.

This very special service was held at Ripon Cathedral. Hundreds of Freemasons, Dignitaries and members of the public attended from across North Yorkshire, I must say the Masons looked wonderful in their splendid uniforms.

I was intrigued to see the ritual of the inspection of the commemorative stone which will be placed in Ripon Cathedral to mark this occasion.

It is without doubt an education when the extent of the work the Masons do, to raise and give monies to worthy causes, is revealed.

I don’t think a great many people are aware of the magnitude of their work.

We were all warmly welcomed by Dean John and it was a splendid service which was enjoyed by all that attended.

Tuesday 26 September - The Deputy Mayor Coun Charlie Powell and I opened the new dementia unit at Long Meadows which is under new management.

We were greeted by the Manager David Barrington and all the staff.

It was a lovely welcoming atmosphere. We were escorted around all the rooms and facilities which were very impressive, the rooms looked extremely comfortable.

We enjoyed spending time chatting with the staff and hearing of their views of caring for people with this dreadful disease.

The staff appeared to be very happy and excited about its opening, they were also looking forward to the work ahead of them. Charlie and I look forward to visiting them again in the near future.

Wednesday 27 September – Charlie and I were invited to the Citizens Advice Bureau event where they were celebrating opening a service in Ripon for 50 years.

They have recently moved back into premises on Duck Hill where they were before moving to Community House.

It is astonishing that CAB first started during the war years of 1939 and here we are in 2017 and they are still going strong and giving an excellent service which is provided by many volunteers.

Yet again I find myself asking, where would we be without all these special people who offer their services and help freely to various organisations.

Saturday 29 September – I was invited to attend a concert at Holy Trinity Church. The fundraising concert comprised of young peoples’ school choirs from Holy Trinity, Ripon Grammar school, St Aidan’s and also musicians from the church. Fiddle Fingers gave a wonderful performance on their string instruments as did the band from St Aidan’s school.

Philip Jennings was the Compere for the evening and it was enlightening to hear the solo singer was his daughter.

Emily Jennings is an ex student of Ripon Grammar School who went onto university to study music, she performs at many concerts and has an outstanding range to her voice.

I am sure if Sharon Osbourne heard her sing she would say “You have an amazing set of pipes Mrs”

The purpose of this concert was to raise funds for the new lighting in the church which is mesmerising as it changes to different beautiful colours that enhances the appearance of the altar and the church.

I wish them every success in this fundraising venture.