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Newsletter Feb 2023

Welcome to the February edition of Chipping Norton Town Council’s Newsletter. Our first item is a moving tribute to Chipping Norton’s much loved Deputy Mayor, Councillor Rachel Foakes, who tragically passed away in November 2022. Rachel will be sorely missed by us all, and our hearts and thoughts are with her family at this devastating time. Indeed, these newsletters exist because of Rachel, and will always continue to be a legacy of her commitment to community engagement and fostering a modern, transparent, and friendly Council. We also fondly remember Michael Fletcher, who was The Town Clerk for many years and a dearly valued member of the Chipping Norton Community as a whole.

Councillor Rachel Foakes 1969-2022

photo of Cllr Rachel Foakes

The Mayor and Chipping Norton’s community shared a deep sadness at the news of the sudden death in November, aged 53, of Rachel Foakes. She was a valued Town Councillor and Deputy Mayor, as well as an inspirational, caring, practical, much-loved daughter, mother, wife, neighbour, advocate, writer and friend to very many. Rachel, husband Andrew and their family moved to Chipping Norton in 2016 (something Rachel ‘just made happen’) partly to be with a caring community and schools that could do the best for her children – Grace, Frank and Anna, who suffered from debilitating epilepsy. Rachel had a busy professional, home and lately community life, but also fought passionately for the best for her family and others, particularly those needing similar special help.

After early life near Watford, Rachel studied modern history in Oxford, living life to the full and making many lifelong friends. From her childhood, writing was a passion. She edited Cherwell, the University newspaper, and took up writing professionally, under her name Rachel Bladon, becoming a prolific and talented writer of educational books, including most recently working as Series Editor for OUP’s successful Oxford Bookworms series. One legacy is hundreds of books and thousands of new enthusiastic readers. A varied career also saw her working in publishing in Hong Kong for three years where her husband Andrew was teaching in an international school. She loved living in Hong Kong and had many friends from her time and travels there. Tributes from her many friends called her kind, caring, deeply committed, taking on all (sometimes too many) challenges and ‘just getting on with it’. She knew for herself what was right – and believed in making the most of life. She made friends wherever she went. In Chippy, when Covid hit, she started a ‘help your neighbour’ scheme in The Leys (a road she loved to call home) with a friend, volunteered as a vaccinator – and latterly has been teaching English to local Ukrainian families.

In 2021, a neighbour (and an article in the Chippy News!) gave her the idea of joining the Town Council, as she said, ‘to make our beautiful town an even better place to live and work’. Mayor Sandra Coleman found her an energetic friend and ally saying ‘she was a committed, kind and dedicated Council member. I loved working with Rachel because she had a real knack of identifying what needed to be done – and finding a way to facilitate change, taking others with her. She was keen on strong communication, introduced our regular Council Newsletter and set up Saturday surgeries for local residents to meet Councillors. Rachel was also helping lead on making the Town pedestrian-friendly and pesticide-free. I will always remember Rachel’s smile, her ability to ask the right questions (and ensure she got an answer!), her honesty and willingness to get on with the task in hand. I was honoured to have her as my Deputy Mayor.’

Rachel loved the outdoors, was an energetic tennis player, a recent enthusiastic sailor, loved walking around town chatting, and in the countryside with beloved dog Otto. She will be missed by so many. As her Uncle Bob, the celebrant at her funeral, said: ‘Rachel did friendship beautifully – always kind, gentle and wise, offering support and advice. She was selfless, thoughtful, compassionate, warm hearted and gave so much to everyone – never complaining or putting herself first…she was unstoppable!’ In December, friends and family celebrated Rachel’s life, fittingly, at Chippy’s centre in the Town Hall. Donations in Rachel’s memory towards Epilepsy Research UK can be made via Sole & Co or at rachelfoakes.muchloved.com. Andrew, Anna, Grace and Frank thank everyone for their words, cards, messages and support. Rachel’s love remains with all of them, her friends, her home and her community.

By the Chipping Norton News, with thanks to Andrew Foakes and Sandra Coleman

Remembering Michael Fletcher 1944-2022

Chipping Norton Town lost one of its most respected sons, when former Chipping Norton Town Clerk, Michael Fletcher, passed away just before Christmas 2022.

Michael was born and bred in the town and started his working life in the Guildhall,  working with the then Chipping Norton Borough Council. He moved on to work at the newly arrived Parker Knoll furniture factory, where he spent 25 years, finishing as Personnel Manager.

 By now Chipping Norton had a Town Council and Michael was the Town Clerk when I really came to know him,  as I was elected on to the Chipping Norton Town Council over 23 years ago.

Michael served five Town Mayors, including myself. I remember him as a steady hand on the rudder guiding the Town Council and for me, as a Town Mayor he was the fount of all local knowledge and of matters of protocol. He was to stay supporting the Town Council in the part-time role of Deputy Town Clerk until 2016.

 Michael had a ready smile and a good listening ear. He served this Community of Chipping Norton in many other ways outside his role of Town Clerk – through his role at the Methodist Church and his involvement with the League of Friends, the Volunteer Fire Brigade Trust and as a Chipping Norton School Governor. Truly he did manifest those seven principles of Public Life – Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership. Thank  you Michael.

Written by Cllr Jo Graves January 2023

Christmas in Chippy

Christmas in Chippy 2022 was the largest Christmas Market event the organisers have worked on, and was made all the more delightful for those attending when we saw the snowfall, adding a wonderful winter atmosphere to the market and performances. It was a hugely successful event, where the people of Chippy and the Town Council pulled together regardless of the adverse weather conditions to create a very special day. We received great feedback from the market traders, local community attending, and from the organisers regarding the support provided from the Town Council to the event.  

A strong relationship has been developed with the organisers, which needs to be nurtured, and we will achieve this through working with the Chippy at Christmas team, asking where the Town Council can help more in 2023, and be more pro-active in supporting the event management going forward.

We offer our sincere thanks and appreciation to the amazing team of volunteers for their incredible work in facilitating an event that so many people take part in and enjoy.

The Mayor’s SustainaBALL – 4th March 2023

It’s the Mayor of Chipping Norton’s Charity Fundraiser 2023 – and its Dress Your Best – but with a sustainable twist! The SustainaBALL 2023!

The Mayor of Chipping Norton, Cllr Sandra Coleman would love to invite you to the 2023 Charity Fundraiser to help raise funds for her chosen charity, Bridewell Gardens. Bridewell Gardens work with people who are recovering from enduring mental health issues, using the working environment of gardening through horticultural therapy.

We hope to encourage our community to have a great time partying in a sustainable fashion. There is a cost of living crisis throughout the UK, and who needs to spend loads of money of new party outfits, when we could be putting that money towards our weekly shop, or our gas and electric. We are offering a 2-tiered ticket price for the event – where you can get a discounted ticket if you pledge to wear clothing from:

  • Charity Shop (Proof of Purchase Required on the door)
  • Your own wardrobe that has been worn at least once before (Photo evidence Required on the door)
  • A Hire Shop (Proof of Hire Required on the door)

The evening is all about sustainability, as we endeavor to re-use, recycle and create less waste, the evening will include:

  • Wine and Canape Reception with the Mayor of Chipping Norton
  • Cocktail style dining with sharing platters using sustainable sources from Waste2Taste
  • Dress Your Best for Less competition and parade
  • Raffle with great prizes from local and/or sustainable businesses
  • Live music and entertainment from professional performers with a sustainable edge!

Join the Mayor of Chipping Norton for the first ever sustainable Chippy Charity Fundraising Ball where you get to party for less and waste less – all whilst raising more funds for Bridewell Gardens, supporting people in our community to better mental health and employment.

More info and to book tickets here:

Council Budget for 2023-2024

The Town Council met in December 2022 to set the budget for the coming year 2023/24. Councillors were well prepared for this meeting as in-depth discussions had already taken place regarding the budget for work carried out by each committee. All councillors are very aware of the cost-of-living pressures faced by residents, and as the Council’s finances are in a healthy position, we were very pleased to agree a budget that meets the needs of the town without increasing the portion of residents’ Council Tax paid to Chipping Norton Town Council.

Cllr Sandra Coleman, Town Mayor

Become a Councillor

Chipping Norton Town Council is calling on residents who are passionate about their community to stand in the local elections on Thursday 4th May 2023.

Councillors are the champions of their community and give residents a voice on the decisions the Council makes. Becoming a councillor will allow you to make a real difference in your community by engaging with residents, local groups and businesses to find out their needs; making decisions on which projects, functions and services the council should take forward and getting involved locally to ensure the services are meeting the community’s needs.

Read more here:

Councillor Surgeries

The next Councillor surgery will be held in the Lower Hall of the Town Hall at 10am on Saturday 25th February 2023.

The Annual Town Meeting – Monday 6th March

Please do come along the the Annual Town Meeting – it is a chance for you to raise and discuss matters affecting the town, and express your views about the year ahead. More info here:

An introduction to Cllr Rizvana Poole

My name is Rizvana Poole and I am a mum of two awesome boys Noah and Harris, who attend Top and Holy Trinity Schools in Chipping Norton. We have lived here for ten years and are proud to call it home.

I am originally from Manchester, and I regularly visit my family who still live there.

A lot of people might know me from my work in the community – from the lunches at the Baptist Church, to The Chippy Larder, which I set up and continue to run from The Guildhall. I became a Town Councillor in May 2019 through a desire to support my community; to demonstrate the everyone has a voice; and that women can make a positive and valuable contribution through Local Government.

I have led on several initiatives through the council, such as applying for Youth Opportunity Funding to enable the Council to employ youth workers to support young people in the town; setting up cost-of-living support events; and leading on the town’s Covid-19 response.

I am passionate about facilitating opportunities for volunteers, and dearly enjoy working with people from across our community, and encouraging people to take up leadership roles and harness their potential.

Contact your Councillors here:

Get involved

Do you have skills or experience that might be useful in our discussions about the ECN development? Or just feel that you would like to contribute? To join the Build Chippy Better group, please contact Katherine on: deputyclerk@chippingnorton-tc.gov.uk

As part of our work in securing a Local Cycling/Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) for Chipping Norton, we’re very keen to hear from people with disabilities or mobility difficulties about the areas of the town that are particularly difficult for them to navigate. Again, please contact Katherine on: deputyclerk@chippingnorton-tc.gov.uk with your views.

Dates for your diary

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12 January 2023
Last Updated
12 October 2023