Civic Service 2022
On Saturday 12th March 2022 the Council’s Civic Service was held at St John's Methodist Church to mark 125 years of serving the community of Willaston. The Chairman, and Councillors were pleased to be joined by The Mayor of Cheshire East Cllr Sarah Pochin, The Vice-Chairman of Wistaston Cllr Bob Squirrell and Nantwich Town Mayor Cllr Stuart Bostock.
Representatives from our Young Voices choir showing their ‘power’ at the Civic Service, St John’s church on Saturday. Great air-guitar solo! pic.twitter.com/lYvF01JW0m— Key Stage 2 Willaston PA (@Willaston_KS2) March 14, 2022
During the Service, the following speech was delivered by the Chairman:
'Since our last Service we have witnessed and experienced unprecedented changes as a result of the pandemic.
The pandemic did however renew a sense of community spirit and bring-out the best in many, with support offered through social media, Cheshire East People Helping People scheme, NHS Volunteer Responders and many others.
This church was used as a collection point for the food bank and The Acacia Suite in the village continues to be used as a vaccination centre. The care and kindness which was so evident during the pandemic, has been demonstrated once again with many people donating to the relief effort for the People of Ukraine.
Democracy is precious, it gives us all a voice and indeed a choice. Local government is the cornerstone of democracy and governance – giving local people empowerment and an opportunity to serve in the community.
In 2020 we were due to commemorate our quasquicentennial anniversary, and so today we mark this special occasion.
On the 5th March 1894 Royal Assent was given to a new Local Government Act, which from December would give provision for an elected Civil Parish, to take over much of the local authority - which was until then in the hands of the Church of England Parishes. On Monday 4th December 1894 a Parish Meeting was held at Willaston Board School, and candidates were nominated to stand for election to the new authority. Weeks later on the evening of Monday 31st December the first meeting of the Council was held, and I for one cannot think of a better way to spend New Years Eve!
By kind permission of the Cheshire Record Office, we have volume 1 of Council minutes on display today. You will see in the minutes of the first meeting there was of course the required items, election of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, appointment of a clerk, and then an item ‘to purchase a lamp for meetings’. So I can only presume that someone came, with a lamp from their home, so the councillors could actually see each other during the meeting, and to enable to clerk to take legible minutes!
Its refreshing to see at the second meeting the work of serving the community really begin with the formation of an allotment committee. And at the fourth meeting the Council resolved to transfer the powers of street lighting from the District to the Parish Council. Later meetings that year saw repairs of footpaths along Birchin Lane to the Barony and the consideration of formally adopting highways. It is good to know our predecessors were doing what they could to improve our community.
For Centuries the Township of Willaston covered an area from Blakelow to Churches Mansion, and from The Barony to Moorfields. This Council had responsibility for this vast area for over forty years until boundaries were changed.
Since 1894 the second tier of local government has changed three times, Nantwich Rural District for 78 years, Crewe and Nantwich Borough for 35 years, and Cheshire East Borough for the past 13 years. Through many local government reviews and restructuring this Council has thankfully endured.
The Council has a long list of achievements, establishing allotments, a playing field, creating the neighbourhood plan and taking on responsibility for other assets around this village for the benefit of the community. The Council plays a vital role in bringing the community together through its events such as the Remembrance Service, Carols on the Green and this year there will be four days of events to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Being a local councillor can more often than not be misunderstood by many people. Some think we are paid, others think we are a charity and generally the voluntary work we do goes without notice. But councillors do make a significant contribution to our community. This summer marks 30 years for our longest-serving councillor Shirley Brazier.
Over the past 127 years many things have changed, but one thing that remains the same is a group of twelve people, who give up their time, knowledge, skills and share their passion, for the benefit of this community.
Today we give thanks for work of the Council and we look forward to a long future of continued service to Willaston'.