Cllr John Jowers First Chairman's Blog

One of the first engagements I was privileged to attend on becoming Chairman was a Service of Choral Evensong attended by the Prior of England and the Islands, Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel Jarvis CBE DL KStJ in the Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Little Maplestead.  This is one of only four round churches still in use in England which was built on a site given to the Order of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, known as the Knights Hospitaller, and is still associated with the Order today

On 4 June, ahead of the 74th anniversary of D-Day, Colchester Garrison Commander Lieutenant Colonel Steve Caldwell and Cllr John Jowers unveiled a display at Colchester Library about the history of a crucial mission by Essex paratroopers during the Second World War In the early hours of 6 June 1944, the men of 9th (Essex) Parachute Battalion parachuted into Normandy. Their task was to put out of action the German gun battery at Merville, which had a commanding field of fire over the invasion beaches. Troops were widely scattered during the drop and only 150 of the battalion’s 600 men were available for the assault. Nevertheless, the attack was launched and, after heavy fighting, the guns were silenced. Only 65 men were left uninjured to move on to the unit's next objective. The Parachute Regiment was awarded a battle honour for the action, from which Merville Barracks in Colchester - home to 16 Air Assault Brigade, the British Army’s airborne rapid reaction force - takes its name

At the kind invitation of the East Anglia Regional Employer Support Group my wife, Susan, and I attended The Trooping of the Colour on Horse Guards to mark HM The Queen’s official birthday

Airborne gunners fired a Royal Salute in Colchester on 9 June to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Official Birthday With several hundred spectators watching, a battery of six guns from Colchester-based G Parachute Battery (Mercer’s Troop), 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery fired a 21-gun salute in Castle Park at noon Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Essex, Jennifer Tolhurst, was the Inspecting Officer as The Queen’s representative in the County and The Band of The Parachute Regiment performed a formal marching display before the Royal Salute (Photo: British Army)

At the Clacton Victoria County History Group’s exhibition "Discovering Dad's Army" on 23 June, Cllr Jowers jointly unveiled the information board at the Great Oakley pillbox with Mrs Bery Tite, the Local History Recorder

On 25 June the Chairman was joined by Cllr Jeff Henry, Deputy Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities and the Revd Canon Ivor Moody, our Workplace Chaplain, to raise the specially commissioned flag to mark Armed Forces week; On that day flags were raised by local authorities across the country to mark Armed Forces Day, which fell on Saturday 30 June, and were flown for the duration of the week as a reminder of the events and celebrations taking place across the country

HRH The Countess of Wessex visited Razed Roof at Harlow Playhouse on 26 June.  Razed Roof won a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services in 2017 for their work in providing local young adults with learning difficulties and disabilities with a much needed enjoyable, educational and creative experience.  HRH then unveiled a plaque to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary near Ingatestone of which she is Patron

Judging took place for the Rural Community Council of Essex Village of the Year Final on 28 June and the winners, Messing, received their award at RCCE’s AGM and Presentation Evening on 11 July.  Coggeshall were runners up, with Gosfield and Helions Bumpstead in joint third place

Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome was the venue for this year’s Armed Forces Day on 30 June with a parade by the cadets of the various arms of the military followed by the raising of the Armed Forces Day flag.  Amongst the activities held were intergenerational orienteering activities, performances by the Army Air Corps Band as well as the opportunity for visitors to learn more about the history of the Aerodrome and the First World War by the various volunteers at the Aerodrome and the Living Historians. This year’s event was supported by Colchester Garrison

On 11 September I was asked as Chairman to present awards at the first whole service ACL Learner and Staff Awards Ceremony to recognise the fantastic work of ACL learners and staff within the academic year 2017-2018. 

The Chairman presented certificates to students at the National Citizen Service Graduation held at the University of Essex on 23 September. NCS is a once in a lifetime experience for 16-17 year olds to make amazing friendships, learn skills they don’t teach you in class and create unforgettable memories. NCS runs in the spring, summer and autumn. You'll have a short time away from home and take part in a team project that will help your community Visit the NCS website to discover more about this once in a lifetime experience

Gavin Jones and Cllr John Jowers hosted the Long Service Awards on 3 October for employees celebrating their 25 years with Essex County Council

The Chairman hosted the NHS BT and St John’s Organ Donor Award Ceremony on 15 October in the Council Chamber.  This occasion was started in 2013 and the aim is to recognise in a small way the organ donors who have given life and hope to others after their passing (Photo: Color Party)

Cllr Jowers attended the Inspire2INVOLVE programme launch event on 17 October, a partnership between Emmanuel College, Cambridge and Villiers Park Educational Trust to increase opportunities for young people in Thurrock and South Essex.  In the UK today the group least likely to fulfil their potential are bright students from lower-income backgrounds. These students frequently fail to realise that potential at every stage – GCSE, A-level, progression to higher education, access to the professions, breaking through corporate glass ceilings

The Chairman led the Remembrance Day Service at 11.00am on Friday 9 November in Remembrance Square. Matthew Wadey, a bugler from KEGS Corps of Drums took part in the Service

The Lord-Lieutenant and the Chairman attended the Tabor Academy Festival of Remembrance 2018 on 9 November.  This Festival of Remembrance is officially recognised as the most prestigious secondary school remembrance service in the County of Essex and is affiliated to The Royal British Legion.  This year the Tabor Academy received the Star achievers award at The Pride of Essex Awards At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, Tabor Academy will remember them. All gave some, some gave all

Pupils taking part in the Tendring Junior Wardens’ scheme were visited by the Chairman on 12 November during a workshop about Chinese calligraphy.  Year Six students at St George’s C of E Primary School in Great Bromley learnt about the symbols and had a go at writing their own during the session led by Simone Xue

Cllr Jowers and the Lord-Lieutenant attended the YMCA Annual Awards Evening on 16 November.  These awards recognise and celebrate the empowering work of YMCA Essex and the lives that it touches

The Chairman presented the Essex Minerals and Landfill Site Awards 2018 on 23 November in the Council Chamber.  Essex County Council encourages mineral and landfill operators to protect and enhance the environment as well as minimise the impact operations have on local communities

The winners of the Active Essex Sports Awards 2018 were crowned at an inspiring awards ceremony on 5 December which celebrated sporting achievements from grassroots to professional level Double Olympic gymnastics champion, Max Whitlock, was on hand to help recognise individuals and organisations who have made outstanding contributions to sport and physical activity in Greater Essex over the past 12 months

The New Hall School Choir sang carols on 12 December at one of the last Citizenship Ceremonies before Christmas which was very much appreciated by all those present