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CHAIRMAN'S RECEPTION SPEECH

Updated: May 22, 2023

On Thursday 9th February 2023, the Chairman Maire Hammon held the annual Chairman’s reception for Councillors and staff. The speech she gave on the evening can be read below.


"Welcome everyone, and thank you for coming to the Chairman’s Reception 2023.

It has been several years since the last Chairman’s Reception and it is good that finally we can celebrate after such a long and eventful period. I first became Chairman in May 2020 when we were in the grip of the Covid pandemic. My first day as Chairman marked the first of a whole year when we conducted our council business on Zoom. There was a plethora of complications due to council laws and practical issues, but we successfully battled through a very difficult time. 2021 also saw many issues with more lockdowns and challenging problems. It also saw the sad passing of our wonderful councillor Perry Davies who tragically was taken by Covid whilst in Spain. We eventually were able to celebrate Perry’s life last October with the naming of Perry’s Bar at Burnham Park Hall when his family, friends and fellow councillors and staff met for a fantastic evening where we enjoyed his favourite local music with food and drink. Perry would have highly approved of his bar and celebration.

Many momentous events have also taken place since my Chairmanship. We enjoyed the

magnificent event of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last June, where Burnham lit a beacon to

commemorate the historic event following our celebration on the green in front of Burnham Park Hall. Sadly earlier in 2021 we saw the passing of the Queen’s husband Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, we then mourned the death of our beloved Queen Elizabeth 11 in September of last year, very soon after her Jubilee. Burnham Parish Council joined in the Mourning Period, following all Palace guidance. We also welcomed our new King Charles 111, and are looking forward to his coronation in May this year.

We also have experienced many changes of staff during my time of office, it was a very

challenging time. I have to thank Rupi, our Finance Officer, for being the first to help us out of this complicated period. She worked extremely hard in taking the helm and steering us in the right direction. She was virtually single-handed at one point. Then Halima joined and helped give us the vital office support that was greatly needed. Then in March 2022 Louise came and joined us as our new Parish Clerk, fully qualified and experienced with the vital knowledge of our history, especially in Burnham Park Hall. She has done a magnificent job in making the council and halls work together in perfect harmony. We see many smiles now and satisfied workers. I must also mention Laiba, our Assistant Clerk who started in June, who has taken on the job of planning, amongst others, with great energy and professionalism. Our new Halls Manager, Alex, started in May, and has organised many events and returned our halls back to business especially with the bar revamp with new beers, cocktails and other drinks. Also welcome to Luwanne and Neil who have moved to contracted members of staff, and thank you to all the Burnham Park Hall Staff for your excellent work and service.

I also would like to thank the Grounds Team Staff for all their hard work and dedication to the maintenance and safety of our grounds. Also I wish to congratulate Tim, Tom and Barry for their hard work in helping Burnham achieve runner-up in the Tindall Cup for the Best Kept Village Competition 2022. Burnham achieved a fantastic 193 out of 200 with almost all of our features and areas achieving top marks. Very well done to you all.

I must thank all of our councillors for their hard work in recent years, especially with their support in projects and outside bodies. Ekta did a wonderful job supporting me as Vice Chairman from 2020 to 2022, particularly through the issues we had at the time; and also a special thank you to Carol for her help and hard work since 2022 as the new Vice Chairman. I also want to welcome our new councillors Richard Flemming, Trevor Stewart, Graham Mummery and Lindsey Chatralia who all joined us this year.

Before I finish, I must thank Louise and Rupi for bringing our finances up to date with an ‘almost’ clean audit. Louise has achieved many improvements in the short time she has been with us; amongst other things financial procedures and processes introduced, standardised contracts for Parish staff, the Grounds team structure, the set up of Pitchside Cafe, the warm spaces scheme and improved Public engagement.

There are many ongoing projects with the Eco Audit, the Mobile Vehicle Activated Sign, the

Neighbourhood Plan, the New Burnham School campaign, the Queen Elizabeth Oak tree, and the Stomping Ground gate. We have many new projects on the horizon.

Burnham Parish is a modern council, larger than many towns with a population of approximately 14000 people. We also can reach back in time to the Domesday Book with a great history of being a market town with a rural background. We are proud to live here and I am very proud to be Chairman of this council. Thank you."




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