May 2023: News from Metro Mayor Dan Norris

IF you’re reading this, you are likely at home, rather than work, as this May has extra bank holidays. Hurray! And if someone is nagging you to mow the lawn on your day off, tell them the Metro Mayor says you don’t have to. More on that later!

The West of England has a long heritage of May Day celebrations, dating back to pagan times.

Many have echoes in customs such as dancing round the maypole. However, this bank holiday was first brought in as a way of marking International Workers Day in 1978.

The Spring bank holiday is back to its usual slot on the last Monday of May and this year, there’s that extra day off to celebrate King Charles’s Coronation too.

Whether you’re a republican or royalist, this is certainly a moment in history.

I’ve been finding out about our region’s association with coronations. Did you know that on May 11, 973 AD, Bath Abbey was the site of the coronation of Edgar, the ‘First King of All England’?

The service used for Edgar’s coronation was compiled by Dunstan, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the same service is being used by King Charles III.

Bath Abbey is well worth a visit, as are so many attractions across our amazing region.

I run an Explore Local campaign, and as part of this, I get to visit many fantastic museums, green spaces and other attractions. As the Spring weather improves and everyone looks to the great outdoors, I’d urge you to explore our brilliant region.

I promised to get back to mowing (well, not mowing, to be precise). Because the other thing I’m marking this month is No Mow May. A month off from cutting the lawn for the very best of causes – our bees!

Our bees need our help because they are fighting some big enemies: pesticides, habitat destruction and climate change. But they are so vital. Bees pollinate flowers and crops. In fact, one in three mouthfuls we eat depends on our pollinator pals.

One way to give bees a break is to liberate your lawn and free the wildflowers in your grassy areas so they can grow wild and provide a feast for pollinators.

Many people are doing that, as are organisations who I’ve been encouraging to enter my annual Bee Bold Awards to showcase the region’s very best “bee buddies”. I love to see the entries – it really gets me buzzing!

Finally, I’m well aware bank holidays don’t mean a break for all, especially people in emergency service roles like nurses, police or firefighters, so a special shout out to them, and particularly to bus drivers as I work hard to recruit more.

Keep safe – and I hope you have a great May.