A Dickens of a Christmas…

‘Dickens of a Christmas’ at Oakham Castle on 22nd December had everything – activities for children,  the Chater Choir singing carols, people in costume and delicious edibles! Fun for all. Our wonderful Castle is of course the best preserved Norman great hall in the country, with its vast horseshoes donated by visiting aristocracy over the centuries.

Christmas is a-coming….

… and the carols are coming thick and fast!  Leicestershire Chorale  gave a highly polished performance at All Saints’ Church,  Pickwell:

We had mulled wine after a lovely service of lessons & carols yesterday at my own church of  St Andrew’s, Whissendine – singing carols together makes for a real feeling of peace & goodwill.

And this evening talent, tuition & tenacity were on show from Catmose College & Harington School  – a hugely entertaining Christmas concert. What a range of wonderful performances.  It is sometimes difficult to remember when you hear confident young people speaking, singing or performing that they are still at school. Congratulations to all!  Rutland’s schools are outstanding.

 

 

Soggy Santas run for charity…

80 rather soggy Santas (of all ages) faced rainy weather yesterday to raise funds in Rotary’s first Santa Fun Run at the Rutland Show. Fun was had and funds raised for Rotary charities & Langham Primary school, Mind, Alder Hey,  Empingham Toddlers group, Pancreatic Cancer Action and The Donkey Sanctuary.  Great effort!

Chelsea Pensioner visits Rutland

December’s Veterans Breakfast Club at The Grainstore in Oakham was particularly special. Brian Cummings MBE, Chelsea Pensioner, joined us all – and he found a comrade with whom he had served.  He delighted all with his wit and stories.

He visited Oakham Museum yesterday afternoon to give a fascinating & amusing talk for Oakham Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Club on life as a Chelsea Pensioner.  Deputy Lieutenant Jane Clayton-Jones represented the Lieutenancy, air cadets in attendance.

In the evening I was delighted to host a small dinner for him at the Fox and Hounds in Exton.  We heard about about life at The Chelsea Hospital.  It was such a surprise & honour to be given a shield emblematic of the Chelsea Hospital (photo below). A very informative & amusing evening – Rutland will miss Brian, come back soon!

 

Knightings at the Knight School…

Making a difference takes many forms. Knight School teaches youngsters to be good citizens, show respect for themselves & others & the environment. One hour a week for 6 weeks makes big difference. Congratulations to the youngsters and to all the volunteers who make it work. The ceremony was held at  Oakham Castle.

British Empire Medal

An unsung Rutland hero now has well deserved recognition! On behalf of Her Majesty The Queen I presented Mrs Sheila Saunders with British Empire Medal for her service to Ketton & Barrowden where she was the driving force behind opening a community shop. It was a great honour for me to present the BEM.

Fair Trade at Oakham Castle

I had a great excuse for shopping at Oakham Castle on 24th November. The Fair Trade fair sells interesting well priced products and the producers get a fair return. Rutland is a fair trade county, which means we help some of the most vulnerable in the developing world. I was pleased to open the fair and I  enjoyed getting some Christmas shopping done!

Sale of ceramic poppies

Over 2,000 people visited Oakham Castle in just over an hour to buy ceramic poppies from the amazing Armistice Centenary celebration display there.  All the poppies were being sold in support of the Royal British Legion. Congratulations to all for this engaging Rutland project.

Visit to Peterborough Cathedral

Is Peterborough cathedral one of the most beautiful but least known buildings in the country? It is Rutland’s diocesan cathedral but many don’t realise that.  Queen Catherine of Aragon is buried here.  There is always a fresh pomegranate on her grave;  presumably the work of a secret society? I was given a remarkable roof tour, well worth doing.

Major incident exercise

On 19th November the fire service held a major incident exercise with Anglian Water to prepare should there be a chemical escape. I watched as an initially minor ‘incident’ escalated to a major one, then there were a couple of people to rescue from an area ‘contaminated’ with chlorine…  All went impressively smoothly. Thanks to on call firefighters & water personnel. Great job!