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Congratulations and a warm welcome to the new Mayor of Felixstowe.



Councillor Mark Jepson was elected as the Mayor of Felixstowe for 2020-21 at the Annual Meeting of Felixstowe Town Council held on 20th May. On the same evening Councillor Sharon Harkin was appointed as the Deputy Mayor.

Addressing the Council for the first time as Mayor, Cllr Jepson said: “I am incredibly proud to have become the Mayor of Felixstowe, taking over from Cllr Nick Barber who has done a fantastic job for the second time in three years; I want to thank him for his support and guidance while I was his Deputy.

I am also delighted that Cllr Sharon Harkin was elected as Deputy Mayor, Sharon has a real sense of community and will be a great asset to me and the Town Council as we play our part in helping Felixstowe out of the lockdown.”

Referring to the coronavirus pandemic and looking forward to the future, the Mayor said: “As a Town Council we need to develop ideas and strategies with our town centre and seafront businesses to help to encourage people to safely visit the town and support our economy. I am confident we will receive great support from the District Council, as well as Visit Felixstowe and the Chamber of Commerce. 

“The forthcoming bank holiday weekend will potentially see more people back on the beach than we have witnessed so far this year,  Of course people will be expected to behave responsibly  as the majority have done respecting the need for social distancing at all times. However, we can expect visitor numbers to steadily increase as the lockdown eases and the weather continues to improve. This is of course welcome but along with that comes new challenges to maintain social distancing, especially when more of our tourism and retail businesses are allowed to reopen.

“To progress this and as Chair of the Town Council’s Community Emergency Group I will be meeting with the relevant stakeholders to start this process. We are a can-do Council and we will make sure our community continues to be appropriately supported in the months ahead.”

Turning to his charitable aims for the year, Cllr Jepson announced that he had chosen Felixstowe Citizens’ Advice and the Felixstowe Carnival Association as the two local charities he would be supporting. The Mayor spoke of their significant contribution to the town and said: “I am aware how hard Graham Page and his team of volunteers at Citizens’ Advice have been working to support families and individuals during this current pandemic, I know they have dealt with some fairly harrowing cases and on behalf of Felixstowe I would like to thank them for their dedication.

“I appreciate the Carnival will not be taking place this year but so much hard work and cost had already gone into this year’s event, hopefully this will pave the way to support their efforts so far and then make next year’s event even better. The Carnival attracts lots of people down to the front and providing it will be safe to do so we can celebrate in style next July!”

With so many important events having to be cancelled, the Mayor asked that focus should be given to helping the retail shops and tourist trade to open safely and encourage people back to Felixstowe.

The Council meeting, which took place online via Zoom with over 30 members of the public watching on, was also treated to a surprise guest. The Mayor of Wesel, Felixstowe’s German twin-town, Ulrike Westcamp, joined the meeting to pay tribute to Cllr Nick Barber on the conclusion of his term as Mayor and echoed the cautious optimism about emerging from lockdown. Like Felixstowe, Wesel had to cancel plans for a weekend summer festival but was now looking forward to future opportunities.

In closing his address, Mayor Mark Jepson introduced his wife, Julie, as the Mayoress: “Although initially nervous about taking on the role, Julie really enjoyed being Deputy Mayoress last year and I couldn’t wish to have anyone better alongside for the forthcoming year. As I said in my acceptance speech the success of my year will be gauged on the health and well-being of my family, friends and the community as a whole.”

The Mayor can be contacted via email to

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Art, Music, Books & Theatre

142 Opens in June!



Dear fellow artists and art enthusiasts,

We hope this message finds you well, that your family is safe, and that recent months have been kind to you. We are pleased to announce the gallery will be reopening in June, with social distancing measures in place.

The 142 Team recently had a meeting (at a distance, photographic evidence above!) to discuss future plans for the gallery and spoke of our personal experiences during lockdown. 

Lockdown has allowed us to reflect on our artistic endeavours, connect with nature, to embrace a slower pace, cycle, create music, bake, and binge on boxsets! But jokes aside, we are all very grateful to the hard work, dedication and support from the NHS and all the key workers. Without them, these last few months would have been a lot tougher for us all.

Thank you to everyone who has played their part in social distancing, staying at home, following the government’s advice and staying safe. Together, we can get through this.

Reopening 142

As you will be aware, from mid-June, some retail units are allowed to reopen, as long as appropriate social distancing measures are in place. With this new governmental guideline, we have decided to reopen the gallery from Thursday 18th June 2020.

Our first exhibition since lockdown will be Lisa Berry and Jim Nind. You may have seen them in the gallery before, but since their isolation and lack of interaction with fellow artists, it will be interesting to see what artworks the pair create during their residency at 142!

More details will be announced in due course, including a layout of how the gallery will operate from 18th June 2020.

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A Family View

#SpreadHappiness #HomeLearning



The Seesaw app has kept communication open with Scarlett’s teacher, as well as providing support for the family if they are stuck on a task. Scarlett is able to feel connected with her teacher and class during lockdown which has helped with her well-being.  We love the interaction aspect of it. Particularly that we can make videos and send them to the teacher. We also like how tasks are able to be completed over the app with voice, video and completing the written work without having to worry about too much paper and confusing worksheets. We love getting feedback and my daughter loves messaging her teacher to tell her what she’s been up to. It’s important to engage with Seesaw because it helps with maintaining a routine at home. My daughter’s like to sign in and say hello to their teacher encouraging them to do some activities. It’s a great source of support for the whole family and helps us feel less alone during lockdown especially when we can’t see our own families.  It also takes pressure off me as a mum to be a super teacher as well because quality teaching is still going on with the app. It’s clear the teachers love and deeply care for the students and want them to be ok and happy.  

My part 

Since going into lockdown using Seesaw to communicate with the children has made all the difference to me as a teacher, I can still teach them and see what they are up to. It has been lovely to see all the work that my class has been doing and learn new things about them. So many are great cooks and this week they tried their hand at being PE teachers and made up their own PE lessons to video and share. I have also seen a new confidence in some of the children when they have shared videos and recordings of them completing tasks or reading books. It is lovely to see that with the support of their parents they can still progress and we can still be actively involved in their learning journey. 

Miss Hay, SET Maidstone Infants School

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Art, Music, Books & Theatre

New Skills Learnt in Lockdown

A little thought from the lovely Penny Parker.



Well lockdown has certainly given some of us time at home we hadn’t planned on and if you were like me you dived straight in with gardening, baking, cleaning everything etc. Now I guess it’s almost time to do all that again, except the baking as I’ve eaten way too much cake.

Many I’m sure had plans to learn or do something new, but did we actually do it.

I did dabble in baking cakes, scary thought for the neighbours and the fire brigade I know, as I do manage to burn most things. However they weren’t bad, looked and tasted ok ( except the garlic bread, let’s not mention that!). What wasn’t on my to do list was sewing… I hate sewing, I blame my teacher at high school who shouted at me rather a lot for my lack of skill. I usually leave sewing to my sister unless it can be glued then I’ll do it. But glueing face masks wasn’t an option.

I’d got material, odd I know for someone who doesn’t sew but it was Disney and who doesn’t like a bit of that!

I dredged up my ancient cast iron sewing machine, chuffed I hadn’t dumped it in the clear out. Swept out the cobwebs and spiders and plugged it in, well so good so far. Funny how using a sewing machine is like riding a bike, you never forget. I threaded her up, remembered my teachers screams about keeping your fingers away from the needle and off I went, slowly. It was rather like riding a steam train as it rattled about on the table making so much noise we had to turn the telly up. Never mind the ancient beast churned out almost 100 face masks for people. I lost count of the number of times the cotton snapped or the needle jammed but we made it.

Now she back in her case and back in retirement, not because I’ve stopped sewing but because I’m using a new machine!! It’s only borrowed from Recreate social enterprise who very kindly brought me some fabrics, thread and elastic from their shop but it’s helped me find a love for sewing. This machine is quiet and doesn’t shake the table, it even threads the needle, and the cotton hardly breaks. Masks are now being made so much faster and yes I’m loving it!

I’ve fallen in love with sewing… please end lockdown soon I can’t afford another hobby!!

Written by Penny Parker

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