The Canal and River Trust opened the Diglis Locks to the public, showing them drained and cleared of silt with new lock gates being fitted. Considering the canal network was built 200 years ago it is in remarkable condition. The brilliant craftsmanship, construction and brickwork would be enviable today – and the system still works as it was designed to!
The Canal and River Trust are doing some really great work to keep our waterways as working, open and attractive places to enjoy our leisure time; it’s worth considering joining as a friend, which you can do here: http://support.canalrivertrust.org.uk/donate-now/monthly/ or you can sign up to volunteer at https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer
Our new Fire Station, at McKenzie Way WR4 9GN, was officially opened by HRH The Duke of Gloucester. The internal design, layout and usage was largely the result of input by the Fire Fighters themselves and has resulted in a very efficient, workable and practical use of the facility. Not only is it streamlined for very fast response work, but also has a state-of-the-art training facility. The Duke enjoyed a ride in the remarkable turntable extending ladder. When deployed, the fire engine itself is lifted off the ground on hydraulic jacks, creating a level platform in all conditions. A great and reassuring facility, well equipped and manned by a dedicated and committed Team!
It was graduation week at the University. It was very gratifying to see so many young people successfully finishing their studies with such remarkable qualifications and moving off into the wider world well equipped for their working life and, no doubt, as ambassadors of both the University and our great city, Worcester. We are very lucky to have a University with such foresight and a Vice-chancellor with a good strong right arm, which he needs as he has shaken hands with several hundred graduates!
Worcester is one of the fastest growing universities in Britain, with applications remaining buoyant against a falling national picture. Worcester has seen its applications rise three times faster than the national average over the last five years: 20% compared to the national figure of 6.65 per cent. In March 2015, the university won the Guardian University Award for Buildings that Inspire through its development of the University of Worcester Arena, a state-of-the-art sport facility designed specifically to accommodate disabled and able bodied athletes. In 2013 the University won the Guardian award for its contribution to the local community after creating the Hive – the country’s first university and public library.
TS Ark Royal Navy Training Corps held their Annual Presentation Evening at KGV Community Centre; it was a delightful, very well organised evening that was a privilege to attend. On arrival we were met by a Marine Officer and were “piped” through the main door to the hall – the Mayoress and I were most impressed!
TS Ark Royal was launched on the 10th November 2009 and the first Cadet to join was Charlie Cooper, who has made her way through the ranks and has continued on to become Chief Petty Officer. Corporal Jones, not of Dad’s Army fame I’m sure; and Officer Cadet Vaughan Griffiths are still active right through from its formation, which is testimony to both Officers and staff.
It was a moving end to the evening as the Commanding Officer, Lt. Cdr Jackie Cooper, said her goodbyes as she was standing down as CO. Several of the Cadets could not hold back their tears as they had grown so fond of her. That said a tremendous amount about the way she had carried out her role over the past six years, and the following she had earned from the Cadets.
Also on the subject of youth organisations, the Hereford and Worcester Scouts held their Japan Presentation Evening at Hereford Town Hall on Friday 13 November.. The International Scouting Jamboree was held in Japan last summer and representatives from both counties had the opportunity to attend. They spoke of their experiences, showed videos and presentations were made. It was clear that the trip had created a lasting impression with them and they all had wonderful memories. The fascinating culture and the great hospitality of the Japanese people had made a great impression on them.
The Christmas Lights are up and on, brightening up our High Street. They were switched on by Georgie Gibbs, aged three! Georgie, from St John’s, Worcester, has spastic diplegic cerebral palsy and her parents are hoping to raise £60,000 so she can receive pioneering medical treatment in America.
It is hoped that by raising her profile, we can assist mum Clare and dad Carl to be able to raise enough money for Georgie to receive the treatment. To find out more, go to:- https://www.facebook.com/groups/HelpGeorgie?
Having Georgie switching the lights on made a lovely occasion wonderful, and the turnout for the event was absolutely amazing!!
We said farewell to Ruth Mullen this last week; she has been with the Council for just short of five years and was the Corporate Director for Service Delivery. I worked very closely with Ruth during her time with us, particularly when I was the Cabinet Member for a Cleaner and Greener City. Ruth was always helpful and focussed on resident and visitor needs. Under her leadership her Team grew in both confidence and strength, increasing in performance and service to our great City.
Ruth is off to West Wales where apparently she will need to be able to speak Welsh; I wish her luck with that – as although there is a lot of Welsh blood in my family, the most I could ever grasp was “Nos da”; or ‘good night’ in English! Good luck Ruth – and thank you for your tremendous contribution to Worcester.
I was present at an unusual event in the Guildhall on the 4 November, when Mr Key was awarded the British Empire Medal, on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, by the Lord Lieutenant. He is a member of the Worshipful Order of Turners, one of the oldest Livery Companies in the City of London. The Turners’ Company was already a Guild in the 12th Century. To this day the Company continues to celebrate and support the art or ‘mysterie’ of turning.
Mr Key has spent many years passing on his skills and working in a voluntary capacity to encourage others to take up and enjoy the craft. In 1987 he established the Association of Woodturners Great Britain, and was its President until 2013. He has also presided over an ongoing programme of national and international seminars and exhibitions. Because of his hard work and dedication, the Association now has over 3,500 members.
Remembrance Sunday was a very moving experience; Worcester saw the greatest turnout of people lining Cathedral Square and the streets that I’ve ever experienced. The Cathedral Service was very well planned, perfect to the last detail and executed with just one hiccup! The multi faith candles just would not light – well, one lit out of four, as the wicks of the other three proved too short to hold a flame. The sermon was very well delivered by Cannon Michael Brierley, and it was very appropriate.
Following the Service and the Wreath laying ceremony, the procession back to the Guildhall was heart warming as there were so many people who had turned out to remember and honour the fallen. It was great to see our City live up to its reputation as the “Faithfull City”.
The Mayor of Bewdley, Cllr. Mrs Calne Edginton-White, arranged an event to raise funds for her charities and it took place on a steam train! We met at Kidderminster’s Severn Valley Heritage Railway Station, boarded a lovely old train and made steam to Bridgnorth. We passed through a number of stations: Bewdley, Arley, Highley, and Hampton Loade – before terminating at Bridgnorth.
We were very lucky with the weather and, to be honest, I had forgotten just how pretty a route the line takes. We had a brief view of West Midlands Safari Park and spotted a Rhinoceros having a bath – and were treated to scones and tea as we went past.
The railway stations on route are all maintained to a very high standard and the event brought back memories of my childhood with the sound, smell and impressive presence of those powerful steam locomotives. The Heritage Railway is one of the many attractions we are blessed with in this part of the country; sometimes we just take them for granted and fail to properly enjoy them. It’s a great ride through beautiful countryside – and at this time of year there is the added benefit of the splendid autumn coloured leaves on the trees!
The sixth of eight plaques, marking the location of the medieval gates of Worcester when it was a walled city, was unveiled on the corner of Union Street and City Walls Road. These plaques will form a trail around Worcester and each plaque has an illustration of how each gate would have looked. The project cost of this work is around £5,500 and John Eden and his family have been very generous in funding a number of these. We have some incredible history, but often fail to broadcast it – so hopefully these plaques will support our ambition to be recognised as a “Heritage City”.
St Peter’s experienced a tragedy in this past week, when a magnificent circa 400 year old Oak Tree partially collapsed. A limb came crashing to the ground and fortunately no one was injured. I say tragedy, because it was one of the finest examples of an oak in St Peter’s -if not in the City. It was found to be completely rotten through the core of the trunk, and therefore the remaining part of the tree needed to be felled. Every effort is now being made to plant an appropriate sized tree to eventually replace this iconic specimen. Residents, County Councillor Marc Bayliss, the City Council and Parish are all working together to achieve this.
- 26/11/2015 10:00Tea with Perrywood School students
- 26/11/2015 16:00Opening of Victorian Christmas Fayre
- 27/11/2015 11:00Tea with students from Blessed Edward Oldcorne (Sanctuary)
- 28/11/2015 11:30Worcester Society of Artists 68th Annual Exhibition