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Grand Tour by Elisabeth Skinner MBE – Week 1

Time Published 14 March 2022

“I had a really great time for day one of my Grand Tour on Thursday 10 March. I headed for North Wiltshire to meet the first three of 68 students that I aim to visit over the course of the 2022 academic year. I travelled 94 miles there and back again avoiding pheasants, potholes in the country lanes, and at least two closed roads.

I arrived in Highworth near Swindon at just after 10am and met Town Clerk, Deanne Rose, a Level 4 student. We then met up with Cllr Keith Smith and they showed me around the really attractive Georgian High Street, the church with a bit dent where a cannon ball from the Civil War took a chunk out of the wall, the market place, and the visitor centre. As a village historian I was envious of the little museum. Evidence of Town Council activity was everywhere and both Deanne and Keith showed their enthusiasm for their town.

I then made my way to Royal Wotton Bassett where I had lunch with my Co-Course Leader, Johnathan Bourne and his Level 5 student wife, Deborah. We chatted about Deborah’s job prospects and checked that work for the module on politics was going smoothly. It was then back on the M4 to meet Shelley Parker at the impossibly pretty village of Castle Combe. Shelley is studying at Level 6 and is now the SLCC’s External Affairs Officer. We ambled round the village which often features in films for obvious reasons and then chewed over Shelley’s dissertation proposal (parish council relationships with MPs) and enjoyed a cup of tea in a pub.

Friday 11th March was a fantastic celebration of Community Governance awards at Trowbridge Civic Hall.

On Monday 14 March, day two of the Grand Tour, I visited Pucklechurch, the parish where Level 6 student Daphne Dunning is clerk. Daphne showed me around the parish and we sat under a chunky oak tree on the Recreation Ground pondering emotional intelligence (which is the assignment for Management & Leadership); as always Daphne applies serious critical thinking to the concept. It was a good discussion.

This challenge is a fund raising project. I’m hoping to collect some funds using a Just Giving page for the SLCC’s educational charity designed to promote and support the training, education and professional development of employees in our sector.”

Click here if you would like to contribute to my Just Giving page. 

By Elisabeth Skinner MBE.

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