I started the week at the City Art Gallery choosing three pictures to be displayed in the Mayor’s Parlour for my year in office. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted but it turned out to be quite difficult given the range and quality of pictures available. I chose an unusual view of the Cathedral from across the river; a different view of the Malvern Hills; and a big-sky open field, the remote and empty beauty of which I found so inspiring.
The Swan Theatre continues to provide top class enjoyment with The Vicar of Dibley and the WODS production of Mack and Mabel. Given the wide-ranging and innovative nature of the entertainment, the Swan Theatre is certainly a venue for everybody, not just theatre buffs. So go along and try it.
The Guildhall was the magnificent setting for a British Empire Medal (BEM) ceremony, an ancient award for people who have given exceptional service to their local communities.
The concert in the Cathedral in celebration of Donald Hunt’s 40 years’ service involving the Elgar Chorale – the Cathedral Chamber Choir and the English Symphony Orchestra – was a truly uplifting Worcester affair. Well done Donald – a magnificent performance.
Back to the Cathedral the following day for the Shrievalty Service in honour of the High Sheriff, an office which is over 1,000 years old, whose powers are now largely vested in high court judges and magistrates.
The Suddert Kennedy (Woodbine Willie) Commemorative Service in St. Paul’s Church produced an amazing wall of enthusiasm and energy from the band and congregation. It was the first time I had experienced a full Pentecostal service and, boy, was it memorable. I was exhausted just watching it. Well done David Warren, the Minister. The superb sermon referred to something I have been warning about for a long time, namely that modern technology is creating isolation as people increasingly rely on gadgets rather than actually talking to each other; and it also adds to stress as there is pressure for everything to be instant when, in fact, few things are that important.
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.
- 25/10/2014 10:30The Mayor will attend the Royal British Legion Poppy Launch and two-minute silence
- 25/10/2014 11:15The Mayor will attend the opening of Practical Car & Van Rental
- 25/10/2014 12:00The Mayor will attend Worcester Swimming Club Open Meet and present the prizes to the winners of the
- 26/10/2014 15:00The Mayor will attend Droitwich Archery Society Annual Double Worcester as the ‘Lord Paramount’