Our annual summer celebration, Collett Park Day, will again showcase much of the best of our community spirit. The town council staff have worked extremely hard with a dedicated events management team to make Collett Day a success, and at the time of writing, the weather on Saturday is predicted to be sunny and dry.
Sheptonions and visitors to the town will get the chance to enjoy displays by our talented youngsters and community groups with a range of performances in the central ring. The day starts at 10am and finishes at 5pm. Wandering performers will be providing entertainment, and there will be the usual mixture of lively community stalls and bespoke traders.
This year we are only holding the single daytime traditional fair. This was after the Town Council had agreed to conduct a scrutiny report on the wider multi-event Collett festivities of the last 5 years. Following the delivery of a detailed paper by Jon Hardy late in 2018, it was agreed that there was not enough lead time to organise a more extensive weekend of entertainment to be ready for June this year.
The council has agreed that future Collett celebrations must comply with the high standards of safety of past events. To settle the long term future of this annual celebration, the Town Council will make a decision on the shape and format for the years ahead immediately following this weekend’s event. This will provide the organising team the opportunity to attract extended commitments from sponsors, performers and exhibitors, and make the Collett festivities secure for at least the next 4 years.
On 16th June, we have the latest Sunday market, themed as a “Dad’s Day Out”.  The Town Council is again supporting entertainment with a Rockabilly band.  We are promised some amazing old fashioned cars, and there will be the usual mixture of stalls and shops open, and a great chance to enjoy Shepton’s special Sunday atmosphere.
Next we become the centre of the music world when the Glastonbury Festival again magically reappears after a 2 year gap. At the end of this month, hundreds of thousands of revellers will stream in from all over the U.K. and further afield.  Michael and Emily Eavis’s “Pilton Party” would not be possible without the volunteers and community groups who offer their marshalling services from the surrounding area. For those lucky enough to have a ticket and the chance to see Kylie Minogue and The Cure, I hope the weather is kind and that the festival is safe and successful.
Later in the summer, Shepton will be a part of the “West Country Food Adventure”. This regional event runs from the 13th to the 28th July. The plans for Shepton include a café and food trawl in the town centre, and a cider event in the Anglo Trading Estate.  Next month’s Sunday Market will also play a central role. I’m sure we will hear much more about these events in the coming weeks.
All the new recently elected councillors from Shepton on Mendip District Council, including myself, have committed to extending and hopefully completing the “Strawberry Line” footpath and cycleway, to connect our town to its neighbours including the City of Wells.  We have just had the 4 day Bath and West Show right on our doorstep with thousand of visitors enjoying a varied day out. Access from the town to the showground is only via busy roads. It is reminder of the importance of the need to create continuous, pedestrian and cycle paths in our area, including a direct safe off-road link between Shepton and the Bath and West facility.
Finally it was a pleasure to welcome people to the recent annual town meeting where we heard Megan Goodwin extolling the success of the newly launched junior parkrun. It was great to see that our grant of £1000 has encouraged impressive numbers of youngsters to participate in this 2000m junior event every Sunday at 9am. There were also informative presentations from the Twinning Association and the Lantern Festival. It always astonishes me that there are so many community groups and volunteers willing to offer up their time to make Shepton a great place to live in.
Chris Inchley, Chair, Shepton Mallet Town Council