It is with regret that we announce that the annual Service of Remembrance, traditionally held at the Cenotaph in Shepton Mallet, on Remembrance Sunday has to be cancelled, due to the ever changing restrictions of the pandemic that we are all experiencing. We had intended to host a scaled down event and the staff had been liaising with the local branch of the Royal British Legion, and in particular Andy Ransom, but sadly we must abide by the new regulations. Therefore, the wreaths will be laid, but we ask that individuals undertaken their own act of remembrance, whether that be in the privacy of their own home, or prior to Sunday at the Cenotaph by laying a poppy, or ever under the tree of remembrance in Collett Park.

We still must remember the fallen who paid the ultimate price in defending our freedoms and I, the Town Clerk, will wear my veterans badge with pride.

Three councillors resigned from the council last week. Those three councillors held positions of responsibility within the council as Chair, Vice Chair and Chair of the Human Resources Committee. We thank Edric Hobbs, Wayne Frapple and Beccy Manley for their contribution to and support of the council over the last 18 months.

There will be an extraordinary meeting to fill the vacant roles of Chair and Vice Chair. That meeting will be held on zoom on 10th November at 7pm. And details can be found on the council’s website.

The adverts for the three vacancies has been published and the public might be mindful to call for an election to fill these vacancies. If sufficient people call for an election, please be aware that no public election or poll can be conducted until after May 2021 (current coronavirus regulations), so those three vacancies would remain empty until at least that date. The alternative method is that the council, after a period of 2 weeks, calls for volunteers to come forward to fill the “Casual Vacancies” and those seats can be filled at a council meeting, most likely to be held in January 2021. As ever, details can be found on the website.

We are all fully aware that as of today for a period of 4 weeks, we are in a lock down that is intended to control the spread of the virus. We should be able to remember the drill now: Hands, Face, Space, keep your distance, abide by the rules to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. It’s important that the community checks in with each other, so please use this time to remember your friends and neighbours; you just don’t know how resilient everyone’s coping mechanisms are. We, as a council, still have the 0800 061 4089 phone for anyone to call. We can put you through to the right people, or just be that friendly voice at the end of the phone. And remember, there is no such thing as a silly question!

Finally, those of you who have not yet been able to explore The Shepton Bird Trail – the art project we commissioned in partnership with the Art Bank and the Somerset Wildlife Trust – will be able to view the artworks on our Facebook page in the coming weeks (otherwise take a stroll through town as part of your daily exercise and incorporate it with a visit to the Cenotaph for your own personal Act of Remembrance). The seven birds were all made by local artists using natural or recycled materials. This project is a fine example of the kind of collaborative, community-focused project we hope to be more regularly involved with. In fact, this week was the first meeting of our new committee ‘People and Promotion’ which will be focusing on topics such as community projects; arts, culture and heritage; tourism and events. Our councillors recognise the importance of investing in our town’s biggest asset: it’s people. This committee will be working hard to deliver on the ‘People’ and ‘Promotion’ elements of our new town plan and our councillors will be looking to work in partnership with local groups and organisations already doing remarkable work in our town. Remember, we are here to take forward things for the community and we want to hear from groups who want to work with the council.