I held my first ‘tea with the Mayor’ this new year to introduce my charities to each other, the team and to my ideas for fundraising for the next year.

Seventeen people sat around the Mayor’s Parlour table sharing tea, cake and thoughts. Fundraising ideas include firewalking, town centre sliding and an antiques-style ‘Call My Bluff’ plus a senior prom next year.

Andy and I have been quite busy visiting recently and during the last few weeks I was invited to attend the annual Inner Wheel lunch at Hornsbury Mill.

These ladies meet socially monthly and raise money for charity as well as enjoying each other’s company. I spoke to them about my role as Mayor and some of the history of the chain etc – Mark, the mace bearer, and I also went to Chard Methodist Church to explain the history to the ladies there.

We also visited St Mary’s Church to watch Barb Jungr in concert – Barb interprets songs by Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and she was most animated in her singing.

The church is a great place for concerts and all proceeds went to the church roof fund. In a more usual use of local churches I was also very pleased to attend the Civic Service of the Mayor of Ilminster, Emma Jane, who writes this column alternate weeks to me.

The Lords Larder lunch at St Mary’s Church Rooms was a chance to meet some of the volunteers who help this fantastic service for local people. We were treated to a three-course lunch home-made by Allsorts Kitchen and served by volunteers. It was good to spend a few hours eating and talking, a tonic in itself.

I also visited Chard Catholic Hall to meet some of the people from the Carers Support Group, one of my charities this year. They all told me how fantastic it was to get out for just a couple of hours and talk to other people who knew the situation they were in and help each other.

My last engagement recently was to attend the official opening of the Haymaker in Wadeford and help parish chairman Gerry Sayers cut the ribbon. It seemed the whole village was out in the sunshine to support new landlords Reg and Michelle and enjoy the bouncy castle and barbecue that formed part of the day’s celebrations I think recently I have realised what an important role food and socialising play in making a happy life – most of the events here have focused around food and give people a common subject to start conversation, not easy for all of us in our community.

My waistline has taken a hit these last few weeks – I might need some healthy invitations.