“I want to introduce another event,” says Mayor of Wallingford as he is elected for his second term.

Marcus Harris was re-elected for the role on Monday (9) due to his first term being spent focusing on the coronavirus pandemic.

For his second term, the councillor hopes to introduce an event celebrating the history of the town’s “curfew bell” which rings from St Mary’s Church every evening at 9pm.

READ MORE: 'It has been an honour to be Mayor of Didcot and an experience I'll never forget' 

Herald Series: (Wallingford Town Council)(Wallingford Town Council)

It is a tradition dating back to 1066 when William the Conqueror had come to Wallingford to negotiate the hand-over of the kingdom with Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, and crossed the Thames here with his army.

As gratitude for his support from the town, he changed the kingdom wide curfew of 8pm to 9pm for the town.

Mr Harris said: “It was an extra hour for residents to stay out drinking and enjoying themselves. This was a great economic boost for the town.

“So what I’m trying to do, with volunteers, is create a family picnic in mid-September in the Market Place with bands and the roads closed to celebrate it.

“Organisations could open stalls and residents could come and see what is going on in the area.

“This is all in my imagination but we could hopefully have the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire come and renew our right to stay out until 9pm.

“It’s an event for the benefit of the community and I’d love it to be annual as it’s an amazing part of history.”

Herald Series: (Wallingford Town Council)(Wallingford Town Council)

READ MORE: Wallingford's bells and the invention of curfew

As well as a new event, Mr Harris hopes to get more people involved in the council, lower tax, and repair the town hall.

“I hope to get a new property manager,” he said. “The council own a substantial amount of property and it’s my long-term aspiration to get it set up so we are completely sustained by it and we can lower tax for residents.

“This is also the last term before we go for elections next year and I want to get more people standing for council.”

He also hopes to further the Regal Centre project. The town council has wanted to replace the centre since it closed in September 2017.

He said: “A big thing was to get the project moving which we did. This year I want us to something more and solidify plans.”

READ MORE: Wallingford's £3m Regal Centre plan is 'unaffordable' if covid stops big events

Mr Harris added that it is a “huge honour” to be mayor and he is “delighted” to stay in the role.

He said: “I love Wallingford, the people and the businesses. It’s amazing to see this town pull its weight in the wider community.”


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