Singing, Scones, Social Reform And A Celebration Of Shaftesbury At Civic Day 2018

You’re invited to join dozens of Shaftesbury residents who are taking part in the Town’s first Civic Day, on Thursday 21st June.

During the Shaftesbury Civic Society event, you’ll find out which club, individual or resident has been recognised for making Shaftesbury a better place to live. The inaugural Rachel Caldwell Award will be presented as part of the evening programme, in the Town Hall.

“It’s about unsung heroes,” says Civic Society Honorary Secretary, Jackie Upton King. “People who don’t grandstand but get on with the jobs they have decided to take on without any fuss but they make a real difference, really, really quietly.”

Jackie says that her fellow trustees wanted to recognise Rachel’s contribution to the town. “Rachel Caldwell was a remarkable woman who worked incredibly hard to improve the quality of life in Shaftesbury and safeguard our special town and its history and architecture. She worked tirelessly and that seemed to us to need some recognition, after she passed away. We decided to make an annual award to somebody – a person or a group – who would also work in a dedicated way to improve life in our community,” Jackie says.

Jackie Upton King

The evening award follows a packed afternoon programme of events in both the Town Hall and Gold Hill Museum, between 2pm and 5pm. The Shaftesbury Community Choir is just one of the groups going along. They will sing at the Town Hall at 2.30pm.

“We’re delighted that over 25 organisations will be attending. They range from dance groups to the Citizens Advice Bureau, youth groups to the Brownies and Guides through to the Melbury Abbas Neighbourhood Plan group,” Jackie said.

Many of the groups in the Town Hall will offer free leaflets about their activities. Club members will be ready to chat about their recent successes and how you might wish to get involved.

Each attending organisation has been asked to sum up, in one sentence, why they feel Shaftesbury is special. Similar sessions are taking place around the UK but Jackie says the Shaftesbury Civic Society wanted to make our local event really representative of this community.

“The Civic Voice organisation is organising civic days throughout the country. They are based around the subject of ‘pride of place’. It’s about stepping back and look at what we can do to help make where we live a better place,” Jackie explains.

The Civic Society is taking part in another national initiative during Civic Day. You will be offered a free cuppa and a piece of cake in Gold Hill Museum as Shaftesbury marks the EqualiTeas event. Across the UK, people will discuss the huge impact of the 1928 Representation of the People Act. It granted all citizens aged over 21 years the right to vote.

Jackie will be sharing her thoughts on this legislation, which changed British society. “I want to offer a very brief history of what has happened since 1918, the influence of the wars on that and our different ways of communicating. Our attitude to material things has changed,” Jackie says.

During her talk, Jackie intends giving us some questions to consider and discuss. “I will be asking whether we have changed our attitudes towards the right to vote. Do we now take it for granted? Have we forgotten about the power that we ought to have? What is it that makes young people disinterested? What is it that makes older people cynical and distrustful of local government? I hope to open up a discussion around those points,” says Jackie.

The afternoon events in the Gold Hill Museum also feature a talk about Shaftesbury social reformer John Rutter, by Sir John Stuttard at 3.30pm.

If you live in Semley or The Donheads then Dr Andrew Murrison, MP for South West Wiltshire, is your Member of Parliament. Andrew has written a book, Redemption, set during the English Civil War period. That was a time of major social change. Dr Murrison paints a vivid picture of Londoners gathering to witness the execution of King Charles I in his thought-provoking book.

Dr Murrison will talk about his book, following the Civic Society AGM, in the evening in Shaftesbury Town Hall.

Jackie says that she hopes local people will take part in Shaftesbury Civic Society’s Civic Day by attending the events, sharing their passion for the town, and discussing ideas for Shaftesbury’s future. “And that will give us a good clue as to the direction in which we may be able to go as a Civic Society in order to support our town and to promote it in the right way,” says Jackie.

Civic Day takes place on Thursday 21st June between 2pm and 5pm at both Shaftesbury Town Hall and Gold Hill Museum. It continues at 6.15pm at Shaftesbury Town Hall.