Dignitaries from across Lincolnshire and further afield, gathered in West Lindsey to attend an official civic service. The service for West Lindsey District Council’s Chairman, Cllr Steve England, took place at St Mary’s Church, Welton.
Among the guests who came to the event were the Chairman of Lincolnshire County Council, Cllr Tony Bridges, the Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones, Leader of West Lindsey District Council Cllr Giles McNeill, fellow Councillors and senior management.
Cllr Steve England who was elected as Chairman of West Lindsey District Council in May 2019. Each year the post is offered for election to members of the district council and each year the Chairman hosts a civic service The Chairman thanked everyone for joining him on this special day. He said:
“I was delighted to welcome guests to our lovely village of Welton, to the beautiful church but also to West Lindsey. A large part of my role as Chairman is to showcase our beautiful district and my civic service was an opportunity to do so.
“When Kathryn and I moved here 9 years ago – neither of us could envisaged me being stood here as Chairman of West Lindsey District Council. Nor could I have realised what an honour and a privilege, it is to hold the position.
“Without the support, encouragement and wise advice of my wife Kathryn, (who is the Chairman’s lady) I wouldn’t be here in the first place. She is by my side as she has been for more than half a century.”
The Civic Service was conducted by the Chairman’s Chaplain, Reverend Adam Watson and readings were given by Cllr Giles McNeill and Ian Knowles, Director of Resources
The Chairman gave a small speech and talked about the charity he is supporting this year, FiSH (Food in School Holidays). He said:
“My local church has been supporting the FiSH project, which they hope will soon be able to support people in the village of Welton.
“As you know there are many children in our community who are entitled to free school meals. Sometimes this meal is the only substantial meal a child may have each day. But what happens during school holidays? Families find themselves providing additional meals and sometimes this is very difficult; it is not uncommon for children to go hungry.
“When I was informed that in 2018 in neighbouring Dunholme, the families of 18 primary schoolchildren were supported in the summer by the scheme and by Easter 2019, it had supported the families of 29 children, it made me want to do something to help. These figures represents more than a fifty percent increase and I am told it is likely to rise again.”
The scheme works with schools and provides vouchers that can be redeemed for food and toiletries at local shops during school holidays. The church collects the vouchers each week and reimburses the shops. Churches in Nettleham, Reepham, Cherry Willingham, and Washingborough have also begun FiSH projects.
The proceeds of the collection at the church service will go towards the Chairman’s charity at the end of the civic year.
Cllr England thanked everyone for attending and gave special thanks to The Cabra Singers, who performed at Welton Village Hall where guests were invited to an Afternoon Tea reception.