The Mayoring Ceremony on Easter Monday will follow the usual format, except that it is intended to set the Court Hall up on the Wednesday before Easter. Given the space limitations, it is quite impossible to fit everyone in, so this has to be a by invitation event. Juggling numbers is always a headache and a worry as to whether invitees will actually turn up, but that’s life in a red robe!

The Church option was simply not possible given uncertainty over when scaffolding would be removed from the organ and when cleaning would be complete. This option remains on the table for next year, as it both eases the logistic burden and has the potential to enable more people to attend.

Prior to this year’s event, there will be refreshment for visiting guests from outside the Town in the Lower Court Hall and a by-invitation reception will be held in the New Hall afterwards. At the ceremony itself, the essential elements will be the presentation of the Corporation’s Annual Report for 2018-19, followed by the swearing in of Freemen and the Mayor for the year ahead, as well as Jurats and officers of the Corporation.

Major General Moore-Bick completed a distinguished year in office at the end of March. He was a great friend to Winchelsea and, no doubt, we will see more of him. Mrs Violet Hancock is the new High Sheriff and she has been invited to the Mayoring. Her home is in Ringmer.

Pleasingly the long-promised plaque has now been positioned on the Court Hall. The one for the Pipewell Gate will follow in May and that for the New Gate in June. Although this is much later than had been planned, plans do not always go to plan and, in this case, the end product has been well worth the wait.

The five-year maintenance plan has now been agreed by the Corporation as a prioritised guide for future investment. This year’s programme includes vegetation removal on the New Gate, some wall painting in the Museum and the start of work to clean and refurbish the Town Sign. This latter item is now being costed, along with Court Hall projects to improve rain water removal and to undertake stone and woodwork repairs. We remain grateful to FOAM and to all residents for their support of these projects. Meanwhile, discussions are taking place with Icklesham Parish Council regarding care and maintenance of the Lookout site

The Corporation would wish to record its thanks to the late Graham Alexander, who left the Corporation a sum of money in his will. He did not restrict it to any purpose, but it will be a very great help towards our various projects in the year ahead.

The Corporation has endorsed the recommendation of the Museum Committee that the entry charge to visitors should increase from £1.50 to £2 for the coming season. Museum income is vital to us and this is the first increase for many years. Residents and people under 16 will continue to benefit from free entry.

This Committee handles the business of the Cinque Ports Confederation and will meet in Winchelsea on 21st May. It is attended by the fourteen mayors of the Confederation Towns, their deputies and the Town Clerk. Other attendees are the officers of the Confederation, namely the Seneschal, the Joint Solicitor and the Judge Surrogate. The business of the Committee is to approve the Accounts, agree any matters of business affecting the Confederation and to appoint the Speaker for the year ahead. The meeting will be held in St Thomas’ and will be followed by a lunch in the New Hall.

John Rodley, Mayor

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