I was pleased to be a guest at the annual St Albans Civic Reception last night at Sopwell House Hotel. This is the chance for all the local dignitaries to celebrate this great city and district together with leaders of all the different civic bodies in the company of civic leaders ("the chain gang") from across Hertfordshire.
I do not know if there were any marriage proposals on the dance floor - but it was a great Leap Year occasion nevertheless.
The event used to be held at the Alban Arena, now it seems to have gravitated to Sopwell House. Mayor Kate Morris used last night to extend her really fascinating series of glimpses into St Albans heritage. In this case it was exploring the 1720's world of Edward Strong, master mason and Christopher Wren's right hand man in the construction of St Paul's . He was the former owner of New Barnes which was on the site of the current Sopwell House.
The Air Cadets acted as guard of honour, guests ranged from the High Sheriff to the Dean of St Albans. Money was being raised for the excellent St Albans Fund for the Future, which was founded by former Mayor John Peters with all-party support to provide seed money for local voluntary groups.
I was really surprised that our MP was not present. Obviously there will always be diary clashes but it seems strange that every Labour councillor and every Conservative councillor except one had a similar diary clash.
When I was a St Albans councillor, I took it as a matter of course that I attended every civic reception whether the Mayor was Conservative, Labour or Liberal. Indeed before the Liberal-SDP Alliance first became the largest party in the 1980s and changed the rules, there only were Conservative Mayors but we still went to the annual receptions.
It is simply a matter of respect for the district we serve.