Fun Fact Friday: What Goes Into Our Events?

Most residents will be aware of the range of events that the Town Council either arranges itself, or supports when arranged by others. But even those arranged by others need considerable background work by the Town Council and particularly Amanda, our Events Co-ordinator, who runs most of the Town Councils regular events including this year’s brand new event Celebrate Buckingham Day.

This year we have run many additional bounce back events, to support the town and local businesses as they recover from covid-19 closures. These events involved many additional staff including (but not limited to) Sam, the Lace Hill Sports & Community Centre Manager (who also runs annual events based at Lace Hill), Emma the Town Centre Manager and Russell our Markets Manager. These projects included the Otter Trail, outdoor theatre performances of Alice in Wonderland and many weeks of varied Market Entertainment.

Some events are “outsourced” but still require our involvement. Others involve third-party contractors for specialist work. For example, although the Charter Fair is organised by the Showmen’s Guild, we still have to arrange the road closure (in this case, a complicated “rolling road-closure”) which requires a small army of marshals. Similarly, the Christmas Parade is run by the Christmas Parade Committee, but it is the Town Council, who have the trained personnel and requisite signage, that is responsible for the road closure. Music in the Market is run by the Buckingham Acoustic Club, and BandJam is run by the organisation of that name – but we still look after the road closures and arrange first aid, refreshment vendors, security etc.

Even the Town Council’s own events often require specialist inputs, such as the staging, lighting and sound at the Christmas Lights switch-on, the bonfire building and barriers putting out for the Bonfire & Fireworks – plus heaps of meetings, telephone calls and emails until all the ducks are in line. As you can imagine, lots of events in quick succession, like the Fringe Week, take masses of organising.

On top of all that, all of our social media and posters are designed and produced in house and displayed – and cleared away after events. For the Fringe Week an entire booklet is designed working with our newsletter designer.

We also assist with events put on by others, such as the Remembrance Parade and the Scout Parade scheduled for this year, by sorting out and marshalling the road closures.

We are often asked to consider new events. We constantly review all of them to see what improvements might be made, and this year we will continue to review them all in detail to ensure that they remain financially viable, well supported, and in keeping with our wider aspirations. After all, arranging entertainments is not a primary role of Town Councils, and we want to ensure that as many as possible enjoy the events put on at their cost.

Interested in our Autumn and Winter 2021 events? You can find out more on our events calendar.

But what do you think? We always welcome your views.

This blog post originally appeared in the Spring 2017 Buckingham Town Matters Newsletter and has been updated.

Fun Fact Friday: Regalia

The most historic item of Buckingham’s regalia is the Mace, made in the Commonwealth period under Oliver Cromwell and re-converted during the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.

It has a plain silver gilt shaft with three knobs and a spreading base. Three brackets support the head, with three compartments displaying a swan, a harp and a rose. Three feathers support a cushion bearing a crown.

The crown was awarded by King Charles II in recognition of the Borough’s support of his father Charles I. It bears the Royal Stuart Coat of Arms and is inscribed “In the 12th year of the reign of our sovereign Lord King Charles II by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland 1660”. Only eleven such crowns are thought to exist.

The Mayor’s Chain of Office, like the Mace, is of silver gilt. Presented in 1884 by the Verneys of Claydon House, it consists of 81 quatrefoil links, each enclosing a Tudor rose. The Mayor’s badge shows the Borough Arms and the Verney Coat of Arms. The chain is worn on all civic, ceremonial and other occasions where the Mayor officiates.

In 1924 no Councillor wanted to be Mayor, and a ‘fine’ was imposed on the next to refuse, Councillor Corbett Roper.  He duly paid up £10.00 in silver three-penny pieces, 43 of which, with a face value of 10s 9d old money, were made into a chain to be worn by the Mayoress or Mayor’s Consort.

The Buckingham Advertiser (April 1924) reported ‘Councillor Harrison remarked … that it seemed rather significant that the gift should be made in the first year in which there was a lady member of the Council… (Councillor Mrs Stacey)’ ‘ “One thing rather puzzles me” concluded Cllr Harrison “I am trying to think, in the event of a lady being our Mayor, who will wear this chain?”  (Laughter). The Mayor replied “Her husband.” (Renewed laughter )’.

The Mayor’s Consort Badge was provided in 2001 as an alternative to the Mayoress’s Chain. It is of gold-plated sterling silver and enamel on a ribbon collarette. There have been 8 female Mayors now, but no male consort has worn the Mayoress’s chain. As the Mayor of 1924 might have said, “Why not?”

This blog post was written by previous Councillor Mike Smith and originally appeared in the Autumn 2018 Buckingham Town Matters Newsletter.