Spreading harmony in Peterborough

Chris Ash with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
Chris Ash with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
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What better than to begin my column than with the visit from the Archbishop of Canterbury, writes Mayor of Peterborough Cllr Chris Ash.

Some knowing I am not particularly religious will be wondering why that has come to mind. Well the simple answer to that is I think it will help to project my theme for the year of “Peterborough in harmony”. That theme continued nicely from the theme Councillor John Fox had when he was Mayor last year, which was “Peterborough together”.

I gather the Archbishop, Justin Welby, visited the Light Project (one of my charities for this year) accompanied by Canon Ian Black. Ian is well known to many for his work in and around the centre and I know the work of the Light Project is close to his heart and we should all remember that one day it may be one of us that is down on our luck and in need of support.

Following his visit to Queensgate the Archbishop moved on to Christ the Carpenter, and the Vicar there Simon Kaye invited members of the community to pop into the church for tea and cake - excellent cakes they were too. I missed breakfast and won’t say how many different pieces I tried.

The idea was to show the various activities on offer in Dogsthorpe - the Olive Branch Community Garden came along, as did Barnardo’s, each having local group activities throughout the spring and summer .

It may not always be easy to find the right people that can help, but there are those like Ian and Simon, or indeed other places of worship or perhaps the Salvation Army or Citizens Advice, who may be able to point you in the right direction.

On Tuesday, the Lord Lieutenant gave the BEM to two worthy local people in a short ceremony in the council chamber. The British Empire Medal is awarded to people who have been prominent in working for the local community and deserve extra special recognition . I was also happy at a small reception after the ceremony to be able to answer a few questions about the items on display in the parlour . It is always a pleasure to talk to groups, so do get in touch with the Mayor’s office if you would like to arrange a visit.

We also had the city council’s Civic Awards last week to recognise the activities by local people and local groups for and on behalf of local communities.

Then there are other presentations in recognition of all sorts of work and actions. For example, we are delighted to host presentations to commemorate organ donors, have presentations to youngsters who have achieved various goals as they start out in life.

There are so many good things to tell, that I don’t have room to list them all. But knowing that there are local people from all walks of life who achieve goals is heartening and a real antidote to all the national and international bad news.

Which brings me back to where I started. So, if you are feeling a little lost, or simply want to find a group of like minded people, there is no need to feel - or be - alone.