This week’s diary is written by the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Steve Mackay.
Friday started with me opening the Worcester Festival of Business. Many local enterprises left their offices to use stands to promote their services. Good to see Worcester City Council advertising how it can provide funding for business ‘start ups’ and growth funding.
That same morning I visited the Church of Latter Day Saints in St Peters. If anyone is thinking of researching their family tree, the Church has a wonderful resource there and would be very pleased to help you – and it’s free.
That evening we attended the annual Hereford and Worcester Fire Service Awards, where fire fighters received awards for long service and good conduct. These are important awards, reflecting their commitment to the public. An award was also given to Mr Phil Hall of Malvern, whose act of heroism in entering a burning home saved the lives of a disabled man and his pet.
On Saturday evening we attended Pershore Abbey where Sue and John Fletcher celebrated what would have been their son Paul’s 40th birthday, had he survived. The congregation were treated to the music of the Morriston Orpheus Choir, together with a soloist Huw Euron. Paul’s niece Megan also sang beautifully to the congregation. All proceeds from the event went to St. Richard’s Hospice.
Of course the event of the week in Worcester was the 10K run attended by celebrities Steve Cram, Jennie Meadows and Louise Minchin of the BBC. A fantastic morning with some 2,600 runners taking part (not including the under 16’s). The events included wheelchair competitors and a Run, Bike, Run event. A fantastic day for Worcester– we must keep this going year on year. So many happy people – congratulations must go to the organisers for such a well presented occasion.
I finished my week by attending the AGM of Headway Worcester, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of those suffering from brain injury. I was privileged to give awards to some very dedicated staff and volunteers.
Last Friday morning our four mace-bearers, our sword-bearer, the mayoress and I joined the principal of the Heart of Worcestershire College and other academic leaders in procession to the Cathedral. This annual event precedes the splendid graduation ceremony.
It was wonderful to see so many proud young people being presented with their hard-earned degrees and diplomas.
In the evening we visited the studio of Caro Burberry, a local sculptor whose work is critically acclaimed both at home and abroad. There were many fine examples of her work on display, which were much admired.
On Saturday we attended a charity riverboat cruise from Stourport-on-Severn, at the mayor’s invitation. This helped raise money for Midlands Air Ambulance, which is one of my own mayoral charities.
In the evening, we travelled to Wolverhampton to watch the final of the Nuneaton and District Junior Swimming League. Teams of swimmers aged 8 to 12 compete to win the prizes. This year, Worcester Swimming Club’s junior team were not only in division one, but made it to the final. Congratulations to them all for their effort and for bringing home a couple of trophies. I’m sure they will do even better in future with the advantage of training at Worcester’s new swimming pool, which will open in the New Year.
Charlotte Whitehead, Callum Strickland and Tom Banks rescued a man in trouble in the River Severn in Worcester on 3 July. I welcomed these Pershore High School students to the parlour and presented them with Bravery Awards on behalf of our city. Their parents and school are rightly proud of them.
Later, I attended a meeting of City Parish Relief in Need Charity, where I am a trustee. My week ended with a visit of French students on an exchange visit with Edward Oldcorne RC College.
The presentation of the annual community sports awards at the University Arena rounded off our week.
Plenty of variety this week! Unveiling statues, flag flying, commemorating a fire and a battle, attending a carnival, receiving a charity donation and planning future events.
Works of art are always a bit like marmite – loved or disliked – and our new Cornmarket statues will be no different. They certainly add interest to the area and everyone who spoke to me at the unveiling ceremony liked them. The level of detail is amazing and it is good that the people represented were chosen by local people.
We travelled to the London last week to be received by the Lord Mayor who thanked Worcester people for £230 13s 9d given to their citizens after the Great Fire in 1666. Worcester was a much smaller place then, so it is remarkable that we were able to provide the equivalent of over £100,000 in today’s money. The fire made 65,000 people homeless, but Worcester’s generosity helped to rebuild the place. What a contrast today to visit the Lord Mayor’s magnificent Mansion House home, opposite the Bank of England. This area now has the greatest concentration of wealth in this country.
I was proud to raise the Red Ensign over our Guildhall on Merchant Navy Day (3rdSeptember). This date also marks the start of the Second World War when thousands of merchant seamen died on ships sunk by enemy submarines. It is important to remember their sacrifice.
Later, we attended Stourport Carnival where large crowds enjoyed the floats and entertainment despite the rain. What a pity that our own carnival was cancelled.
In the evening, we processed to the Commandery and Fort Royal Hill for a service to commemorate the 365th anniversary of the Battle of Worcester.
Back in the parlour I thanked Individual Tailoring for their generous donation from a raffle for my charities. We also met the charities to plan future events, about which I’ll say more later.
August is traditionally a quieter month for the mayor and mayoress, but Lynn and I have had a fairly busy week.
We attended a consultation about tourism and were pleased to learn that many local people, organisations and businesses want to see Worcester attract more visitors. There were plenty of ideas and I think that councillors from all parties will try to develop them.
Having visited St Richard’s Hospice some weeks ago, I was delighted to welcome some of their patients for tea and coffee and a tour of the Guildhall. It was good to hear my visitors’ recollections of what our city was like when they were younger.
On Friday evening, Lynn accompanied me to The Horn and Trumpet in Angel Place. A charity karaoke night and raffle raised money for Crohns disease and colitis. The event was supported by Santander Bank which generously doubled the cash raised. These conditions cause their many sufferers regular discomfort, inconvenience and sometimes embarrassment because the intestine becomes inflamed. Surgery and medication help to control the situation but there is not yet any cure.
We visited the Worcester Arts Workshop Open Day on Saturday and were impressed by the wide range of artistic activities on offer. Next we welcomed French visitors from Vernon in Normandy to the parlour, hosted by the Twinning Association. I was interested to learn that there was a direct connection between the Vernon family in our county and the eponymous French town.
In the evening, the Heraldry Congress was held with a banquet and exhibition at the University, and we were very happy to attend. Worcester received a prestigious heraldry award a few months ago and we were delighted that this national organisation chose to hold their event in our city.