Armed Forces week started with the raising of the flag over the Guildhall and culminated in a magnificent parade through town on Saturday 27th June. The turnout for the march past was terrific and there were hundreds, if not thousands of people flanking the streets to see the Queens Royal Hussars parading past as they celebrated the Regimental Freedom of our City.
One Sergeant Major said that as he marched around a corner and saw the masses of people either side of the road, clapping and cheering as the Hussars approached, his feelings whelmed up and he felt a lump in his throat. This puts in perspective the value of us turning out to recognise their work, on our behalf, and to cheer them on!
Five members of the England Women’s Cricket Team took time out to visit Worcestershire Cricket Club and, together with Club Staff, thoroughly entertained 90 children from Cherry Orchard Primary School. I spoke to a lot of the children and, without exception, they thought the day was a great success. There were competitions, quizzes and of course cricket on the beautiful grounds of our famous cricket pitch – the prettiest in England!!
Tuesday saw the GB v Germany Woman Basketball International staged at the Arena. I hadn’t realised just what a fast moving and exciting game this sport offered, it really was a great evening even if we did lose – but only just – it was close!
Later this summer, our city will welcome the continent’s leading wheelchair basketball nations to the European Championships, where they will join the Great Britain teams in competing for both the prestigious title and a highly coveted qualification spot at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Held from 28th August to the 6 September at the University of Worcester Arena, this is a fantastic opportunity to see this fast-paced family sport, up close to the action. More information, including tickets, can be found at www.euro2015.uk or through the British Wheelchair Basketball Office on 01509 279900 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastly still on a sporting note, the T20 Worcester Rapids V Northamptonshire Steelbacks played at New Road in beautiful weather conditions. They ran to the wire and we lost by just two runs!!!
The “Big Sing 2015″ held at the Worcester Arena on Tuesday 16th June was a brilliantly organised extravaganza of one thousand primary school pupils, so eager and enthused by the opportunity to participate in this festival of song. It was a lovely experience and heart warming to see so many children from a variety of schools singing with actions in complete unison. I take my hat off to the organisers; the children thoroughly enjoyed it as did all those watching. I said a thousand children, but really it was two thousand as I attended the second afternoon session which followed a similar event in the morning!
St Barnabas School staged their Junior Youth Speaks event with both poetry and story. There were six finalists in each competition, two from each year, and together with the Rotary Club, we had the very difficult job of judging their performances. I thought the best overall performance was delivered by a young lady who had spent her early life in Brazil and, at home, the family language was Portuguese. Despite English being her second language she delivered her story, on the theme of “The Place She Most Wanted to Go”, in the most engaging way with excellent use of English, as well as expression and delivery.
Also on the same day my wife and I attended a Summer Fete in Latimer Court Residential Care Home. Wwe were both struck by the good design of the building, the central garden area and the vegetable/herb garden. The rooms were of the highest standard, beautifully fitted out and the premises staffed by a team of very committed and dedicated people. An excellent facility enjoyed by the residents, who are very well looked after.
The third event on this same day, Friday 19th June, was a delight as we had the honour of opening the Thai Massage Parlour, Gems, in their new location at the Trinity. A family business that deserves to succeed, several of their current clients explained to me just how different and effective the treatment is and they seemed to have quite a few long term supporters who sang their praises.
The 3rd Worcester Scouts held their open day and AGM on Saturday 20th at their head quarters in Vicar Street. Thanks to the successful application for a Lottery Grant, they have made some tremendous improvements including a new kitchen, BBQ area and an office which also serves as a well appointed Radio Amateur base.
Sunday was a big day with the LiberTea celebration of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, followed by the Mayor’s Inaugural Civic Service in the Cathedral. We were so lucky with the weather – no rain, and believe me that really is a blessing when one has to wear the robes of a Councillor, they are heavy when they’re dry and when wet, they are a nightmare! This year there were no such worries; we processed in glorious sun shine!
Turnout was good and the “Chain Gang” were very well represented, the Cathedral was full and the Dean’s sermon was engaging and, as always, so well delivered. On returning to the Guildhall there was tea, coffee and light bites not to mention the barrel of Hook Norton Ale kindly donated by Ted Marshall, landlord of the Cap ‘n Gown pub in the Upper Tything, to help lubricate the Magna Carta celebrations.
A number of organisations and businesses had their official opening in the last week or so, among them were Engage Life, based in Britannia Road; Signature Care Services in St John’s and on a somewhat different note, Subway on the corner of Friar Street. Amazingly Subway celebrated their opening with a six foot long sandwich, which they photographed from all angles and then cut up to give away to people who were lucky enough to be passing by!
The Committee led by Cllr. Joy Squires, as Chairman, deserve to be congratulated for producing the first Worcester Canal Festival on Saturday 13th June, at Lansdowne Park. Supported by a great number of local people and the Canal and River Trust, (CRT), they delivered a superb day’s entertainment despite being hit by very unfortunate weather. The day however, was excellent and I was delighted to see that CRT had commissioned a work boat, to be crewed by volunteers. It is designed to help maintain the waterside, both ensuring it is litter and graffiti free, as well as keeping the shrubbery under control. This is something I campaigned for back when I was the Cabinet Member for a Cleaner and Greener City.
I hope you made it to the Royal Three Counties Show, if you did, I’m sure you will agree it was worth the effort and if you attended on the Friday, like me, you were very lucky with the weather.
Has Worcester got talent? Well from what I’ve seen in recent weeks, we certainly have! Saturday saw the Showcase Performance of The Harlequin Stage School; some 80 dancers enchanted an enthusiastic audience at the Tudor Grange Academy ahead of their visit to Rumania for the World Championships. It was a delight to watch Team Worcester perform all their routines step perfect, how they all remember what to do next is beyond me – and it was perfectly executed across all age groups. I wish them well in the forthcoming Dance World Cup, they deserve every success!
Talent is apparent across many activities here in Worcester, this was also demonstrated by the work exhibited in the Digital Photography Exhibition held in the Commandery. Brian Bullock introduced me to the exhibitors who, following course work at the Shrub Hill Workshop centre which provides help, support and skill development for those recovering from mental health issues, (www.hacw.nhs.uk) displayed their work very well and showed some beautifully captured shots and images.
Also on the note of mental health, the launch of “Engage Life” took place on Monday 8th June, a charitable organisation that seeks to, “Empower adults with mental health issues, by providing a variety of activities that enable them to realise their full potential.” Whilst talking to their Chief Officer, Penny in their offices at 19 Britannia Road, I was astonished to learn that, for the year ending 2015, in South Worcestershire alone there were estimated to be over 25,000 people with mental health disorders. I wish Penny and her Team every success in their efforts to support those in need.
Worcester District Scout Council held its AGM this week and reported another great year of achievement with numbers growing still further. A real success story! There are over 1,000 youngsters involved across a wide range of interesting and educational activities – not least being that of Leadership and life skills. Four Chief Scouts were presented with long service awards, two for 15 years and two for 25 years. Apart from all the other good news I am delighted that my granddaughter Rachel will be going to Japan in June as a member of the Team representing Worcester and Herefordshire at the International Scouting Jamboree – and her brother, Tom, will be going to Iceland around the same time, as a young leader with Worcester District Scouts.
Friday saw the opening of the Three Counties Show, always a great event and one well worthwhile visiting. The first Show took place in Broad Street Hereford in 1797, since then the 3 Counties have come together to stage an Agricultural Show on 218 occasions. “The Show” was granted Royal Title in 2013 and The Princess Royal became Patron of ‘The Show’ in 2014
Make the effort, don’t miss it!!
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