Jackie Preis Open Garden at Moorlands Avenue - Janette Duke August 26, 2010

Jackie Preis Open Garden at Moorlands Avenue

On Sunday 22 August I attended an Open Garden being held at the Moorlands Avenue home of Jackie Preis. I first became aware of Jackie when I met the Rectory Quilters through the Community Picnic.  Here they displayed a beautiful quilt, donated by a friend of Jackies, to be raffled in aid of The Christina Noble Foundation which Jackie has supported for a number of years.

The Foundation supports children who are socially and medically deprived and a lot of their work takes place in Vietnam and Mongolia.  As Jackie explained to me a lot of these children have been deprived from birth of even the most basic requirements such as vitamins which results in severe handicaps.  The foundation raises money to provide medical care and improved facilities for children who suffer deprivation and live in poverty.

Despite the weather being wet and windy Jackie threw open her home and made everyone very welcome.  There was a fabulous selection of homemade cakes and preserves and over £1,000 was raised for the foundation.  Jill O’Sullivan from the Rectory Quilters has very kindly agreed to tap this fountain of local cake making talent and support the coffee morning which I am holding in the weekly market in New Milton on Wednesday 22 September between 10am and 12 noon as part of the McMillan Cancer coffee morning event.

Town Mayor opens new Morrisons store in Station... - Janette Duke August 19, 2010

Town Mayor opens new Morrisons store in Station Road

On Monday of last week (9th August) I had the very pleasant task of officiating at the opening of the new Morrisons store in New Milton. 

Once again the community of New Milton turned out to show their support for this very welcome addition to our High Street.  It was particularly pleasing that along with the Town Clerk, whom I had asked to escort me,  a number of our Town Councillors also turned out to support this opening and take the opportunity to meet with Morrisons representatives as well as members of the public.

I think that we were all impressed with the new store, it appeared user friendly and bright and welcoming.  Not only that but I understand that approximately 80% of those  now employed at the store had formerly been unemployed.  Not only good for them personally but also for us as a Town. 

After a tour round the store and some photographs a group of us were invited to enjoy coffee and pastries upstairs away from the crush of people eager to see what Morrisons had to offer.  I was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and also a cheque for £250 towards the Mayor’s Community Fund – both of which were very much appreciated.

I visited the store on the Tuesday evening and spoke with the Assistant Manager, Russell, who said that the footfall on the first day had exceeded their expectations.  They had expected in the region of 1500 people and over 3000 had come through the door.  Takings had also been much better than hoped.

I am sure that we all wish Morrisons every success.  They have certainly had an extremely positive impact on the north end of the High Street.  Not only that but the reports from those living near the store have reported that they did everything they could to minimise disruption during the refurbishment process – well done them !

New Milton Round Table kidnaps Mayor - Janette Duke August 12, 2010

New Milton Round Table kidnaps Mayor

On Saturday 24 July I was invited to attend the annual fete at the Rectory of St Mary Magdalene Church in the town.  It was a wonderful event with over 500 people attending and I understand from Rev. Andrew Bailey that over £3,000 was raised on the day.  It was another event which was extremely well supported by our community and, once again, the sun shone on the good !  ( Keep up the praying please Andrew you have a 100% strike rate at the moment !)
All was going well as I enjoyed a refreshing glass of Pimms and purchased some delicious home-made marmalade.  I had been asked to draw the raffle and had just got two tickets out (neither of them mine !) when a commotion heralded (literally) a marauding band of Knights of the Round Table pushing a bed.  I was then ‘kidnapped’ and paraded along the main road to the House Martin, much to the amusement of passing motorists where I was released.
I exacted prompt retribution by having Ian McMillan, the Chairman of New Milton Round Table, placed in the stocks and throwing wet sponges at him.  It must have improved my eye as I went from there to Walhampton Golf Club where I won the Anniversary Cup !
Why were a group of Knights pushing a bed you ask,  well it was all part of a fund-raising bed push and the lads had started on Lymington Quay that morning and come to New Milton via Pennington, Everton, Keyhaven, Milford on Sea and on to New Milton. 

What a great bunch of lads !
See the video:

Community Picnic – 27th June 2010 - Janette Duke August 5, 2010

Community Picnic – 27th June 2010


I look back on the Community Picnic held on Sunday June 27th as a great success and a clear indication that there is a great will within our community to work together for the benefit of all.  The response from clubs and organisations was truly amazing with over 50 different groups taking part in the event.

My steering committee and I thought that we had all of the bases covered following 3 months of hard work organising the event.  We asked the Churches to organise the weather and the prayers of all of us were answered when we experienced the hottest day of the year to date.

The ‘rec’ was a hive of activity from before 9am when Charles Cole’s funfair rides arrived along with Tony’s Hog Roast and the Rodeo Bull Ride.  The chaps from New Milton Rugby Club ably assisted by the Lions, Rotary and Round Table members soon had the tents in place and ATech and Double D Builders supplied generators to ensure we had power where needed.  From then it was a steady stream of cars and people all bringing their own special displays and items of interest to share with the community.

Sadly, two members of the Steering Committee could not be present on the day.  Ros Bowles due to a broken leg sustained falling off a horse (I think that she was secretly getting some practice in for the Rodeo Bull !) and Valya Schooling who, due to a change in travel arrangements was out of the country.  Steve Clarke did a magnificent job directing everyone to their spot and producing order from apparent chaos.  My partner, Patrick, assisted him – who needs weightwatchers boys in that heat !  I am also very grateful to Steve Tuddenham for his invaluable assistance throughout the planning process and during the afternoon.

I still cannot believe that so many people managed to squeeze onto the ‘rec’ and out of the apparent chaos we ended up with a very colourful and vibrant display of what our community is all about.  Centre stage were the Hoburne Holidays team of childrens’ entertainers.  What a fabulous job they did entertaining the little ones, mind you, from what I saw there were a number of adults who were every bit as enthralled with the magic show as the children !

I am not sure what I did all day but I know that I was very busy doing it and was extremely tired for about a week afterwards.  I do know that I met some wonderful and inspiring people during the day and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to a lot of people for helping to make this event a success.  Hopefully this will lead to more Community Days in the future.


The one thing that we didn’t expect was that England would be playing football on the Sunday afternoon – the plan was that they would be playing on the Saturday evening.  If  Fabio had got the same level of commitment and dedication from his team as Team New Milton displayed they would have definitely won the World Cup.

All in all the day was a huge success and with the money taken on the day, of which the sale of plants donated by Double H Nurseries contributed a significant sum as did the raffle, and also the granting of funds by Cllrs Mel Kendal, Paul Woods,  Steve  Davies, Alan Rice and John Ward we have over £900 in the Mayor’s Community Fund.  I cannot say at this stage how the fund will be allocated but be assured that it will be used for the benefit of our community as a whole.  I am hoping to significantly add to it in February when we hold a Mayor’s Ball ………watch this space !

View the gallery of pictures