What a wonderful week! The hard work and thought that went into the exciting and first-ever People’s Banquet made it a runaway success. It was my way, on behalf of the City of Worcester, to thank ordinary working people and volunteers for the good work they do for others, and who would otherwise possibly go unrecognised or appreciated.
It was my opportunity to reach out to the people of Worcester and give them something back.
There is a lot of talk about encouraging young people and small businesses, I did both by inviting along Will Thompson-Brant, Creative Director of Bohemia Entertainment, an exciting new young musical talent to do the live entertainment. Well done Will – what a superb performance.
It was a real pleasure to launch St. Martin’s Church’s £90,000 appeal to get the rewiring done. Given this daunting task, it was amazing that people were wearing “SMILE” badges. With that spirit, I am sure they will deservedly meet their target.
My visit to our University was, as always, a fascinating insight into our bright present and future. With its state-of-the-art resources and flexible approach, the University now attracts global companies to commission research. And most of the courses are geared specifically to enabling the students to get jobs afterwards.
The Be My Guest programme of inviting into the Parlour schoolchildren and students for a tour, tea, and chat to evoke some interest in civic affairs, is proceeding apace with visits last week from Stanley Road, Fairfield, and St. Clements Primary schools, particularly relevant in this Local Democracy Week. And aren’t kids fun. On my visit to Hollymount School, I was introduced to a queue of children as The Mayor when one little six year old looked up and asked “Mayor of what?”
Another memorable weekend, starting with a thought-provoking and lively performance of Voices of War at the Swan Theatre about the First World War and war in general; and finishing with the Mayor of Kidderminster’s Civic Service on a crisp autumnal morning.
Being invested as an Honorary Member of the Rotary Club at the County Cricket Club on Monday was a fantastic way to start the week. Rotarians work tirelessly to raise money for good causes locally and throughout the world.
As an avid lover of books, it gave me particular pleasure to present the medals at The Summer Reading Challenge 2014 Awards Ceremony in St. John’s Library on Saturday, and at Warndon Library in the Fairfield Centre on Wednesday. It is heartening to see so many children reading six books over the summer holidays and meet all the parents who have encouraged and supported them in doing so. Reading books is an essential skill we must always cherish and preserve.
Attending the Chamber Music @ Worcester Opening Concert in St. Oswald’s Chapel on Saturday evening was so civilized that it reminded me of my Oxford days. And thank you, Shulah of the Astaria String Quartet, because, no, I didn’t know there were so many differences between a violin and a viola!
I was delighted to open the Worcester Hearing Show in The Guildhall on Friday after which we had a fascinating explanation of what an extraordinary organ the ear is, and I saw the amazing range of devices to deal with hearing problems. Although hearing loss is often age-related, I did express my concern for the younger generation given the dangerously high volume at which they have become accustomed when listening to and playing their music.
I was proud to attend the Worcestershire Battalion of the Boys’ Brigade Annual Founders Day Parade Service in Sansome Walk Baptist Church on Sunday and to see so many young people doing something constructive in their spare time and receiving the Queen’s Badge, the highest award available.
I was relieved to attend the Worcestershire County Harvest Festival in the Cathedral on Sunday as I was beginning to fear that our traditional harvest festivals were dying out. It was a great event with real farmers and real food. We must continue with this tradition, especially for children, so they don’t grow up thinking all our food is grown in tins or cling film.
Northwick Manor Primary school this week launched my exciting “Be My Guest” programme whereby I am inviting into the Parlour schoolchildren and students for a tour, tea, and chat to stimulate interest in civic affairs. The pupils were delightful – polite and inquisitive – especially when one little girl said she thought I was the nicest person she had ever met! (Honest.)
A Mayor has to be flexible and able to take on a wide range of duties. This was put to the test when I opened the Family Fun Day and Dog Show at Worcester Woods Country Park and was asked to judge two dog show events. Fortunately, I was given the very enjoyable task of judging the “cutest puppy” round which was surprisingly difficult, as they were all so cute.
As the most historic office holder in the County, the Mayor of Worcester does have duties towards other authorities in the region and so it was with great pleasure that I attended the Bromsgrove District Council’s Annual Civic Service, followed by a cream tea. I have never seen so many, or such large pots of clotted cream which must have been measured by the pint. I didn’t even try to resist as I had had a very early start and that was the first food of the day.
I love Americans because they’re always so optimistic and enthusiastic about life. So it was with great pleasure that I hosted the President, staff and students from Worcester State University. They were intrigued to see the American flag in the Parlour, which had been flown over the Capitol building in Washington DC in 2001 to honour the people of Worcester, England.
I was so pleased to spend time on Friday attending one coffee morning in The Guildhall and another in St. John’s Youth & Community Centre in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. What an incredible job they do, vital for so many people. They’re just such nice people.
The Worcester Male Voice Choir Annual Concert in College Hall would have been superb on its own, but it was combined with the Mousehole Male Voice Choir producing a virtuoso performance of an extraordinary 120 voices. The renditions of You’ll Never Walk Alone, Impossible Dream, and The Lord’s Prayer were heart-wrenchingly moving.
Sunday produced another first for Worcester, this time a celebration in the Cathedral of our county’s NHS staff as part of their Staff Appreciation Week. No wonder the place was packed out, such is the depth of affection for the nation’s most cherished and trusted institution. Rightly, anyone who messes with it does so at their peril. And how lucky we are to have as our Mayoress, Sue Amos, who is a serving nurse at the Royal Hospital.
This week’s events had a strong sporting theme which, given my level of fitness and shape, is very flattering and even reassuring.
It was encouraging to see so much young sporting talent on display at the City Sports Awards 2014.
It was a real honour to have opened the Special Olympics West Midlands 7-a side Football Tournament at the University Campus on Saturday. Welcoming the various teams in the rain certainly did not dampen my or anyone else’s ardour or the sense of anticipation and excitement. You could see the look of pride on the players’ faces. What a great bunch of kids. And let’s not forget the coaches and others involved in organising such a huge event. I did make the point that sport is as much for enjoying as for winning!
Given the national interest in the Worcester 10K run, I was over the moon to have started the races with the claxon early on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning and then present the awards. Worcester has arrived. It was chosen to be the first City to host such an event and we did it superbly well. Everyone there was a winner, no doubt about it.
On arriving at the Swan Theatre for a massively successful performance of the Annual Variety Show on Friday, I was forthrightly advised by a lady that the evening would be “a bloody good laugh.” That is exactly what is needed after a long day and, indeed, that is exactly what I got. What a fantastic way to end a day – who needs therapy?
When I opened the 60th Anniversary event for the Worcester & District Model Engineers Club in Diglis on Saturday, I could have spent the rest of the afternoon there. It is incredible that the volunteers make all the engines themselves which can carry up to 15 people around the track. It was so much fun, I managed to hitch a second ride. It was an idyllic traditional English event, with a view of the Cathedral across the field and being offered tea made in the old fashioned way, and biscuits. Worcester – get along to the Model Engineers’ next event for a truly memorable trip out.
- 21/10/2014 19:15The Mayor will attend a WODS performance of Mack and Mabel
- 22/10/2014 08:45The Mayor will attend a school assembly and present certificates to 5 children who have won a Bridge
- 22/10/2014 10:55The Mayor will officially open Archway Academy
- 22/10/2014 14:30The Mayor will officially open the new Sport England Play Space at Oasis Academy