Last week I wrote praising carnival season at a time when temperatures were falling and we were embracing Autumn. Then, of course, we hit one of the hottest October weekends on record. I am no Nostradamus.

A few days later I found myself sweltering In Axminster at its first-ever Gate to Plate event. Last Saturday the Minster Green and the surrounding side streets were abuzz with around 70 food and drink providers and a very happy throng of local people having a look at what was on offer and buying what took their fancy.

The range was worthy of anywhere in the country, all sorts of meats and cheeses, Thai stalls and vegan stalls, cakes, hot dogs, ethnic foods from across the globe, and products from local brewers both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The Minster Green itself was sun-dappled through the trees, an idyllic vision of children and adults having a good time for the sake of it. Fun.

This is getting on for my two-hundredth piece for this newspaper, and I don’t think I’ve done one with a photo of me at an event. However, I’m making an exception this week, because I could not be more proud of two of Axminster’s civic figures who I bumped into on the day, Paul Hayward and Sarah Jackson. We had this snap taken by my daughter with just a few of the many stalls in the background.

Paul is the town clerk at Axminster, and they are also both Cabinet members at East Devon District Council (EDDC), Independents, sitting alongside LibDems and a Green in a centre-ground administration.

Over a period of time, they steadily made the case at EDDC that following the excellent example of Gate to Plate events in Honiton, Axminster had the capacity to mount one too. Our superb officers in the Economic Development team, who we ask to prime the local economic pump with small strategic investments, funded the costs for the Axminster event, drawing down on funds available from central grants.

For everything EDDC does, we need a compelling strategic reason, and this initiative fits very well with our strategy to promote Tourism, which does not just mean people coming down from

Manchester, but perhaps only across the borders from Dorset or Somerset. We have identified that East Devon’s ever-improving food and drink offer is a key driver in all of this.

With the active support and engagement of Axminster Town Council, the Chamber of Commerce and Totally Locally, EDDC funded Eat Festivals to deliver the Axminster Gate to Plate event, and I was delighted by the outcome. A huge number of people, lots of discovery, and a clear statement in the region that the town is a really significant player in the region.

While I happen to have had my photo taken with Paul and Sarah, I must not fail to mention the local Chamber of Commerce, with their ever-positive advocacy and hard work for the town. I really hope they get a huge fillip from their own success in this, and that as we move forward in the next few years the town council and the chamber can take complete ownership. I gather there were a few nay-sayers beforehand online, and I get that people will be apprehensive. But objectively this was a triumph.

I also hope that other local communities might be interested in similar events in the future, the still relatively new Cranbrook and rather older Exmouth being obvious examples. Cranbrook’s town centre is moving apace, and Exmouth has the terrific Strand area. I know that our Economy Team are keen to help.