Shropshire Star

High Sheriff of Shropshire pays visit to Market Drayton and unveils Jubilee bench

The High Sheriff of Shropshire made a special visit to a town in North Shropshire to speak with volunteers, community leaders and school pupils.

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High Sheriff Selina Graham pictured with John Cole who is a former pupil and now a Govenor, he donated the bench. With them are pupils: Thomas Reed, Ava Pollington and Georgina Bussue. At the back are more pupils and Head: Sally Brayne, Ian Nurser CEO of Empower Trust, Govenor: Paul Davies, Kevin Lee from the Methodist Church, Volunteer readers: Mary Guildford and Diane Crook

The Honorable Selina Graham paid a visit to Market Drayton to learn more about the work of social enterprises and community groups in-and-around the town.

Starting her visit at Fordhall Organic Farm near Tern Hill, Ms Graham was invited to meet volunteers at Market Drayton MENCAP – a volunteer-run social club which provides activities for adults with learning difficulties and their carers.

The branch in North Shropshire covers a wide area, with people attending club sessions from Market Drayton, Whitchurch, Wem and the surrounding rural areas.

Ms Graham was then escorted by Councillor Mark Whittle, mayor of Market Drayton, to the Festival Drayton Centre on Frogmore Road where she met management and volunteers at Festival Drayton Centre.

The centre has been owned and run by the community of the town since 1984 and relies on the dedication and support of its volunteers, achieving Best Regional Winner of the West Midlands Market Town Awards in 2006.

Pupils and staff at Market Drayton Junior School were also visited recently by Ms Graham as part of a special ceremony to unveil its new Platinum Jubilee commemorative bench.

The iron bench, crafted by local business I N Fabrications Ltd, was commissioned by long-standing trust governor and former town businessman, John Cole, to commemorate the Queen's 70th anniversary.

Mr Cole is a proud Draytonian, as well as the founding Chairman of M.D. Sports Association, Vice Chairman of M.D. Mencap and trustee of Shropshire Historic Churches among others.

He is the longest serving member of the Junior School’s governing body and also attended the school in 1959.

He said: “I am honoured to be a member of such a contented, flourishing and ambitious school community and am pleased to be able to repay the wonderful education I was privileged be given in some small part."

Mrs Samantha Scott, headteacher, said: “The office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political royal appointment made by the Queen, to support the services and institutions that give the county structure and cohesion, so it is fitting that the Hon. Selina Graham officiated the unveiling of a commemoration arranged by the school’s longest serving governor to mark the distinguished reign of our longest serving British monarch."

The unveiling was attended by Ian Nurser, the chief executive of Empower Trust – the multi-academy trust that the Junior School belongs to.

It was also attended by other members of the school’s governing body and volunteers who visit the school regularly to support its pupils with their educational and personal development.