Filed under: ceremony

Abingdon Town’s highest honour

Freedom of Abingdon
At a ceremony this evening, Lesley Legge, Marilyn Badcock, and Julie Mayhew-Archer were made Honorary Freewomen of the Town of Abingdon.
Freedom of Abingdon
Before the ceremony the Mayor of Abingdon watched dancing by the Mr Hemmings Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers
Freedom of Abingdon
and the Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers. This is only the second time they have danced together.
Freedom of Abingdon
The ceremony took the form of a council meeting on stage in the Abbey Hall.

Two people gave speeches saying why the ladies should be given the highest honour Abingdon Town has to give. Each recipient made a declaration of office, and was given a medal and scroll by the Mayor of Abingdon.
Freedom of Abingdon
Sir Hugo Brunner, Freeman of the Town, then welcomed Lesley, Marilyn, and Julie to the Freedom of Abingdon.
Freedom of Abingdon
After the ceremony people shook hands with the Freewomen.

The first Freeman of Abingdon was John Morland in 1922. The first Freewoman of Abingdon was Dr Joan Harcourt-Norris in 1988. There have been more men than women given this honour. This evening’s ceremony created the 3rd, 4th and 5th Abingdon Freewomen.

All three have served on the town council and other councils. They have all been Mayor, and been very active in community groups. Reverend Charles Miller who led the opening and the closing prayers at the ceremony said their service to the community is an example to us all.

3 Comments November 5, 2019

Swan Uppers at Abingdon Bridge


In the video above the Queen’s men, and the Vintners and Dyers teams, make a toast to the Queen at the end of the five day annual swan upping census.
Swan Uppers
The census ends at Abingdon Bridge where a crowd had been waiting in the rain.
Swan Uppers
Some people found places to shelter during the wait.
Swan Uppers
There is no set time for their arrival. It takes as long as it takes and the swan uppers arrived at about 5:30 pm. They had caught  and inspected 147 swans (if my hearing is correct) and that meant they were kept busy.
Swan Uppers
They deserved their drop of rum after all their efforts to count and maintain the swan population.

Leave a Comment July 19, 2019

12th November – Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday is the second Sunday of November and ceremonies are held throughout the country in churches, cenotaphs and war memorials.

We had a knock on the door at 8 am, a reminder that our car was parked on the route of the parade and needed moving. It was chilly out.
Remembrance Sunday
At 10:15 dignitaries paraded from the Guildhall to St Helen’s Church, and after a service inside joined the crowd of people already standing round the war memorial in the Square shortly before 11am.
Remembrance Sunday
They were joined at both services by soldiers from Dalton Barracks, who not only join the community at Abingdon but send teams to ceremonies round the region.
Remembrance Sunday
Many different uniformed groups took part. On Remembrance Sunday, Scouts are expected to attend and give the troop priority over their other Sunday sporting activities.
Remembrance Sunday
So at 11 Abingdon paused to pay its respects to those who lost their lives in conflict. The ‘Last Post’ was played by Abingdon Town Band member, Alison Rich, to mark the start of the two minute silence at 11. She then sounded the ‘Reveille’. After which The Deputy Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Felicity Dick; the Mayor of Abingdon, Councillor Jan Morter; MP for Abingdon and Oxford West, Layla Moran, the Royal British Legion and many other organisations laid wreaths of red poppies at the memorial.
Remembrance Sunday
The poppy is the symbol of the Day of Remembrance because many years ago poppies grew from the the choppy earth where troops had fallen.

Remembering is the process of ‘Bringing the past into the present’… But who now can remember what it was like to live in the trenches of WWI? Only through war poetry have those memories become part of our collective consciousness …

Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz–
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench–
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?

(lines from a poem by Siegfried Sassoon called Aftermath)
Remembrance Sunday
Finally there is a march along the High Street to the County Hall. People, who could not squeeze into the Square,cheered as the band, the troops and uniformed groups marched by.

One innovation this year, and a sign of the times after recent terrorist attacks by vehicles driven into crowds, was that a tractor, and land rover were parked at strategic points – as crash barriers.

12 Comments November 12, 2017

Annual Civic Service

Civic Service
This morning the annual civic service took place at St Helen’s Church.

An array of civic dignitaries set off from the Guildhall towards the church led by the maces of Abingdon-on-Thames and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The Mayor of Abingdon for 2017-18, Councillor Jan Morter, was accompanied by the Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea, and other dignatories including up to 18 members of Abingdon Town Council. There is an ancient connection between Kensington and the Abbey of Abingdon dating back to the 1100s. The civic connection was revived in the 1950s, and Mayors now take it in turns to attend each other’s civic service.

Leave a Comment September 10, 2017

Mayor Making – Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard
There was a changing of the Guard at the Guildhall this evening. Malcolm Hill carried the Mace into the Mayor Making Ceremony for the final time this evening – having held the Office of Honorary Macebearer since 2003.
Changing of the Guard
Nigel Luker became the new Honorary Macebearer and carried the Mace out of the Ceremony.
Changing of the Guard
Malcolm is seen here after the ceremony. He was presented with a certificate by the outgoing Mayor, Angela Lawrence.

Angela gave Mayor’s awards to the chair of governors of the three state secondary schools in Abingdon:
Lynn Fathers – Fitzharrys
Paul Brooks – John Mason
David Lever – Larkmead

Angela commented that the position of school governor is a far more demanding role these days. Governors are held to account for how their school is performing, and need to come to grips with all kinds of data.

Mayor’s Awards were also given to:
Wendy Barratt – Abingdon Breakaway Club,
Dr Tony Gillman – Abingdon, Didcot, and Wantage Talking Newspaper (DAWN)
Changing of the Guard
The incoming Mayor is Helen Pighills,
Changing of the Guard
and her deputy is Alice Badcock.

The new town council also had quite a few different faces.

2 Comments May 13, 2015

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