As a civic society, the Sudbury Society is usually associated with planning, buildings, traffic and suchlike but just before Christmas came the opportunity to do something a little different.
Last year a student from Sudbury Ormiston Academy, 14-year-old Caitlin Rawlinson, had, as part of her studies, been one of the first group of four students to learn first hand about local government, the duties of Sudbury Town Council and how it operates. She did this by ‘shadowing’ Town Councillor Sue Ayres, who is also a Sudbury Society Committee Member, by going to planning meetings, talking to the Mayor and so on.
“I know not all young people are involved and interested in politics as much as I am and I respect that but people could at least have an open mind about it. I want to have the chance to voice my opinions and campaign for young people’s issues in the UK Youth Parliament. I feel that men sometimes think politics are something they need to take charge off and I think this is a chance for me to prove women are just as capable,” said Caitlin.
A keen member of the Sea Scouts up to last August but now an Explorer Scout, Caitlin has been accepted into the World Scout Jamboree in 2015 in Japan, one of 36 Scouts from Suffolk, three of whom are from Sudbury. Caitlin explained, “There will be Scouts from 150 countries coming together as a celebration of peace. It will be the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima at the end of the Second World War. We will each stay with a Japanese family for some of the time.”
Caitlin had made such a good impression on Sue Ayres during her ‘shadowing’ at Sudbury Town Council that, on hearing that the Scouts needed to raise £3,300 to cover travel expenses, visas and food, Sue immediately suggested to the Sudbury Society Committee that it might make a donation. Just before Christmas, Caitlin was presented with a cheque for £250 for Suffolk Scouts by Peter Mills, Treasurer of the Sudbury Society.
In addition to going to Japan, Caitlin has also been selected to fill one of only seven places for under-16s to take part in the Tall Ships’ Race next July based on her sailing experience in the Sea Scouts.
“I’ve been brought up to make the most of every opportunity,” said Caitlin – and she certainly does!