Diary - a reminder of what can be done by hard work and determination

After a rainy day yesterday, the sun came out and I once again took to my metal steed to head to Portland to open the Mayor's charity music festival. That was at 1100. I left early as it gave me a chance to pop in and see Les Ames, who was 100 last weekend and whose dear wife, Jean, is in hospital with a broken hip. Les was in great heart, being cared for by a sweet lady. We chatted for half an hour before I had to head down the hill to the Portland Community Venue to meet up with the Mayor, Cllr Sue Cocking. And what a remarkable woman she is. She and her team have worked tirelessly to buy, refurbish and then move into a former derelict infant school at Three Yards Close. She has raised more than £200,000 in order to do this, which, in itself, is a remarkable feat. With the sun shining, and many islanders gathered in the entrance, the Mayor and I opened the festival. Portland's Town Crier sang a song he'd written some time ago, and we all joined in on the chorus. Sue then took me on a guided tour and I was more and more impressed as we went from one room to another, meeting stall holders and islanders. Being a music festival, there was a lot of singing going on. One local band, called Meat Raffle, threw all of us, as no one quite connected the name with a band! Anyway, they were superb and generously waived their fee when they realised what the event was for. And on that point, the money raised is going to a island charity called Opportunities R Un Limited, which began in 2014. It supports adults with additional needs, whether they be learning, physical, mental or sensory.  Many of those adults were at the fair and clearly having a fun time. Outside, Cllr Rob Hughes, dressed in a wetsuit, was having wet sponges hurled at him as he sat in the stocks. Having been brought up in a family of five boys, water was a theme I am more than acquainted with, so had no hesitation in volunteering to go into the stocks. Sue could not resist the temptation and was soon armed with a wet sponge. Her aim, however, was a little wonky, and the sponge got me amidships, rather than on my head! She did then adjust her aim. No visit to Portland can go without chatting to Cllr Sandy West. I am very fond of her and she was, as always, involved running the raffle. She told me she will be the next Mayor. I spent a fun-filled three hours at the festival and left feeling completely inspired.