Bridgwater Mayor an “Example for Young People”

Madieran President Albuquerque and Bridgwater Mayor Rodrigues with Bridgwater-Portuguese resident Ana Luisa.

Bridgwater’s new 28 year old,Portuguese born Mayor Diogo Rodrigues continues to hit the headlines and bring some great publicity for our town at the same time. First it was a much covered Mayor Making ceremony, attended by the Portuguese Consul and which was filmed by Portuguese TV ,by the BBC and extensively in international newspapers, then it was a visit to the Czech Republic touring factories and  family centres, taking part in conferences and meeting councillors and young people. This week it’s an invitation to London to meet the President of Madiera, the Portuguese island where Diogo was born.

The meeting was held at the Casa Madeira Restaurant in Vauxhall, London where a lunch was held to celebrate his election as Mayor of Bridgwater.

The President of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, said “The Mayor of Bridgwater, Diogo Rodrigues, is an example for other Portuguese youth to participate in public life and reach ‘the centre of decision making of political life’. He is an example for young people who want to play a role in public life and to secure a role for our community in the decision making places, and the council is a great place to start because of the principle of closeness to the people”

The President and Mayor exchanged warm words before the President invited himself to visit Bridgwater when he nexts visits the UK next year.

Drinking Liquid History

Cafe madiera
Diogo Rodrigues at the Casa Madiera

The President gifted the Mayor a bottle of Madeira Wine, a uniquely tasteful fortified wine saying “ It is often written that Madeira wines have accompanied not just many fine meals but some of the most historic moments  in history and drinking an aged Madeira wine, as Winston Churchill once put it, is “drinking liquid history”. 

The event also brought together business and community representatives , many speaking about the hard life choices connected with the decision to live abroad ” Only through hard work during the first years and investment of our time we can create something and succeed , make things happen”
Diogo replied “This was a great day to celebrate the important contribution that Portuguese migrants make to the UK and appreciating the hard work that they do. Meeting the President was a great experience and really sends a message to young people, Portuguese and British alike, that we need and deserve a voice in politics. We CAN create a positive stir in communities here and abroad, and we CAN get recognised for our passion in wanting to do some good in our society from a younger age. And it will be a delight to welcome the President to Bridgwater next year to show him what a wonderful Town this is!”

Promoting Bridgwater

Diogo with the Portuguese students at Chilton Trinity School

Diogo has already been busy in his high powered role of promoting the town. One of his first events was meeting the students at Chilton Trinity where he encouraged them to take part in his new ‘Youth Council’ project, to be launched in September.

This week,however,  Mayor Rodrigues will be hosting two other  major events. On Thursday 31st May he is launching an initiative to set up a Tourism Forum for Bridgwater. The event will be held at the Engine Room in the High Street and anyone interested in becoming involved is welcome to turn up. The evening will start at 7pm and will also feature an exhibition by UWE students whose project ‘Thinking Big in Bridgwater’ was on display recently in Angel Place, and also a speech by Emma Rathbone the sales manager of the new Eastover  Mercure Hotel. Town Council Leader Brian Smedley will introduce the session on establishing the Tourism Forum and explain the aims and objectives.

2 june
art centre 2nd June

On Saturday 2nd June, the Mayor will be opening the Twinning Party  at the Bridgwater Arts Centre. The evening will include a Portuguese buffet, presentations from all 5 Bridgwater Twinning Groups (French, German, Czech,Maltese and Italian) plus live music from the Voice of the People choir and the Dave the Milkman Big Band. The cost of the evening if £5. Tickets on the door include entrance in a raffle and taking part in a short Internationalist quiz as well as admittance.

A Bridgwater Twinning Week exhibition is open to the public all this week at Bridgwater library. Stalls from every twin town are laid out for people to peruse and learn more about their partner towns. On Saturday 2nd June there will be a ‘Talking Library’ session to conclude the week when members of the different Twinning Groups will be present in person to talk to people directly. The idea is similar to last years ‘Human Library’ idea where instead of getting out a book, you borrow a person for a few minutes. Why not have a go?

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