ASH2020 Chairman’s letter for Ashbourne News February Issue
ASH2020 has arrived!!! This was marked by the hundreds of parents and children who came together at the Community Centre on the afternoon of Jan 1 to hear our ASH2020 Board member Fiona Woods declare our Bicentennial year OPEN. In an afternoon of Fun, Food and Facts, delivered with the usual aplomb by the Lions Club, the Historical Society and others, we marked the start of what promises to be a year like nothing Ashbourne has yet seen in its (relatively) short lifetime.
The near-capacity crowd who came along on Jan 1 heard of the event mostly by word of mouth, through social media, or via some strategically-placed billboards. These are great channels for getting the message out, but they do not reach all the Community. It would be a pity if anyone were to miss an event that interests them because they were unaware it was on. To reduce the chances of this happening, we’re introducing a scheme called ‘Friends of ASH2020’ with immediate effect. No, we won’t be squeezing you for money, and we won’t be pressing you to volunteer (thought we’d be delighted if you helped us in any way you can). No, we just want to make sure that you are aware of what’s coming up as the program unfolds throughout the year. Simply complete the form in this issue of Ashbourne News and drop it in the ASH2020 Box in the Library. If you prefer, go on our website www.ash2020.com and you can fill in your contact details there. We’ll make sure you get regular emails to keep you posted on what’s happening. Be sure to tick the box indicating that we can send you emails; if you don’t, we’re precluded from doing so under EU law. We want nobody who wants to get involved, either as a planner, a participant or as a member of the public to feel left out, or to think for a moment that there’s no place in the festivities for them or their family.
The frequency of events will ramp up as the year progresses, as the list below illustrates. I want to make a special mention of an event that is central to the year. The Historical Society in their researches a few years back discovered that March 4, 1820 was the day on which Frederick Bourne, the Founder of Ashbourne, registered the lease for the land on which Ashbourne was built. Thus, we deemed March 4 to be Founder’s Day, on which day we will henceforth celebrate the place which many of us fondly call home, mo bhaile. The landowner was one Thomas Carter, who subsequently sold the land outright to Bourne.
Bourne named the village after a combination of his favourite tree (Ash) and his own surname. The principal street in Ashbourne is Frederick Street, so the Founder is well remembered in the present-day Town. His great-great granddaughter, Juanita Carroll from Australia, visited us last year as a guest of the Historical Society, and some of the next generation are coming over this year.
Another event with strong historical overtones takes place on February 9, when the Ward Union Hunt stage the ASH2020 Point-to-Point races. The Hunt have an association with Ashbourne that goes back to the 1850’s and for a long time were a significant employer in the then village. All are invited to this event which will be advertised on www.ash2020.com and on our Facebook page.
So, as we enter the Springtime of this very special year, I encourage one and all to enjoy what this year will bring to our Town; familiarise yourself with the ASH2020 Program, enjoy the fun, make lots of new friends and build memories that will last for years. But also learn, learn about the history of our Town, about the many activities and facilities for enjoyment and learning that exist, some of which you may not even be aware. But above all learn about your Community, who your neighbours are, what your Community can do for you and your family and what you and your family can do for your Community. This way we will have a memorable bicentennial year, which will serve as a template for continuing to build a robust and resilient Community that cherishes its disparate pasts, that efficiently manages its present and that looks with confidence and understanding towards its future.
Chairman – Ash2020 Board