I thought I might never make it to Morecambe so far away in the north-west but an opportunity to stay with my brother in Kendal for a few days finally made it possible. I made use of my bus pass to get a free ride on the top of a double decker to take me to Morecambe where I caught up with Town Clerk, Luke Trevaskis, for tea and a pain au chocolat mid-morning.
Luke’s fellow students at Level 4 had teased him about my great expectations so he put together a really special programme for this last visit of the Grand Tour. We headed out along the sea front where it was blowing a stiff breeze; the view over Morecambe Bay towards the southern lakes is breath-taking. The Winter Gardens is a striking Victorian theatre owned by a charitable trust that is working with the town council and many volunteers to bring it back to life. I was privileged to sit in on a meeting between Luke and Gavin from the council, and three members of the trust, to discuss final arrangements for a number of events around the installation of a significant artwork of Mars by Luke Jerram. It gave me time to enjoy my surroundings – the glorious, if faded, décor of the theatre.
After the meeting, back outside, Luke showed me a deserted site that was once a big swimming pool on the sea front. The council has contributed to a bid for levelling up funding to use the site for the Eden Project North. The partners are working with the Eden Project in Cornwall to create an ambitious new facility to attract visitors to the town. I was then shown a former fairground site where the town council hopes to see a conference centre alongside a range of facilities that would benefit the local community. It was good to hear about the way in which Luke and the councillors work together to pursue exciting and innovative ideas for developing the town.
The icing on the cake (literally) was ‘afternoon tea’ for lunch at the Art Deco Midland Hotel overlooking the Bay!
Luke was the 64th student I have visited this year since March. There are just three students I have missed due to Covid, absence, and a bereavement and I just can’t fit in any more journeys across the country. It has been an incredible experience leaving me with many memories of many places that I might never have seen otherwise and helping me get to know everyone very much better. I want to thank you all for making me so welcome and giving me your precious time.
Readers – if you would like to show your appreciation and, at the same time, help us to build the SLCC’s charitable fund, do please make a contribution to the Just Giving fund which closes on 30 November.
By Elisabeth Skinner MBE. Follow her progress on Twitter – @lisabethski.