Reeve reflects on year of office at annual Bungay dinner
The annual Bungay Town Dinner, a tradition which dates back centuries, was once again held at the town’s Fisher Theatre.
Hosted by the Town Reeve Mary Sprake on December 1, it was the last major event of her year of office before announcing the identity of the new reeve - Stephen Went - at the Town Meeting last week.
The dinner was revived in 1933, after a break of 60 years, by the then reeve Dr Leonard Cane, and has been held on the Friday before the Town Meeting since then. That meeting, once known as The Town Reckoning, has been held on the first Tuesday in December for centuries.
The toast to the Town Reeve and Feoffees was proposed by Robert Tilney, gunsmith and a regular expert on the BBC Television series The Antiques Road Show, who spoke, often humorously, of his experience in that role and the people with whom he came into contact.
The Town Reeve replied, outlining the highlights of her year of office, which included raising money for the Ditchingham Men’s Shed project. She said she had enjoyed every event she had attended, and spreading the name of Bungay throughout the county. It had been a memorable year, and she particularly mentioned the superb town centre floral decorations which were a great credit to Bungay.
Following her speech Nick Cooklin, one of those moving the project forward, spoke about it and thanked Mrs Sprake for the £2,500 she had raised for it during her year of office.
John Warnes, former Town Reeve and a Feoffee of the Town Trust, proposed the toast to the guests, to which Brian Metcalfe responded. Guests included Waveney MP Peter Aldous, and Bungay mayor Mary Matthews and her husband, Chris.
The evening included the traditional singing of the song Old Bungay, with the singing led by Professor Christopher Hand, accompanied on piano by John Harris. He sung two verses of the original song, written in 1816 by David Fisher, who founded the Fisher Theatre, followed by five verses written by Chris Reeve reflecting the current Town Reeve’s year. Everyone joined in the chorus.