My Mayoral week began with a particularly pleasant invitation to judge a speech competition at St Barnabas Primary School.
Younger contestants recited poems and older competitors gave talks on the theme, “My Favourite Modern Invention.” X – Boxes, mobile phones, karate, and even a well-known brand of make up were among the favourite inventions chosen.
By the end of the morning, I was better informed about all of these inventions, and greatly impressed by the standard of speaking and research.
Such competitions take place thanks to a partnership between local Rotarians and city schools.
On Tuesday, over 40 people became British Citizens in a ceremony at County Hall. They took an oath and received certificates of citizenship.
Citizenship Ceremonies can be quite emotional occasions – when we concluded with the National Anthem, I am sure there was not a dry eye in the room.
Congratulations to all our new citizens living in Worcestershire!
Later in the week, I witnessed the opening of bids for the next stage of planning for the new swimming pool. There is still a long way to go before the council make a decision, but we are one step nearer.
My Consort, Phil, and I ended our week with Mayor-Making in Kidderminster. Stepping down were Mayor John Aston and the Mayoress, Mrs Madeline Craddock, who had raised £12,000 for charity during the year. The new Mayor, Councillor John Campion, was formally invested and took the oath of office.
I also managed to have coffee and cake with Worcester Lions, who organise two or three coffee mornings a year at the Guildhall, raising thousands of pounds for local charities annually. I can recommend the coffee and walnut cake.
Earlier this week, I was very honoured to become Mayor of Worcester, with my husband, Phil, as consort. Last weekend, as Deputy Mayor, I attended the Young Fire Fighters’ passing out parade and a charity ball given by Mayor Ann Taft of Droitwich. The Young Fire Fighters demonstrated impressive discipline and teamwork. Their guests now know the proper way to deploy a fire hose and ladders.
We also joined the Royal British Legion for a special evensong at the cathedral to remember veterans of the Korean War, which proved a particularly moving experience.
On Monday evening, we attended the Mayor Making in Evesham and will be joining Evesham’s Mayor and Mayoress, Mark and Emma Goodge, again for their civic service this Sunday.
Worcestershire Action for Youth (WAY) held their AGM in the Medway Centre this week. They are going from strength to strength, thanks to a hard working team and the indefatigable leadership of Ian Craigan. WAY provide activities and resources for work with young people across the county in partnership with schools and charities.
At the Worcestershire Red Cross Volunteers Awards ceremony, Phil and I discovered that the Red Cross do so much more than first aid. They provide help and support for people coming out of hospital, wheelchairs and equipment, schools programmes, care in the home, first aid training and much more. We also met volunteers who have given years of service to the organisation, including one energetic lady, Helena, who was celebrating 50 years as a Red Cross volunteer.
Saturday saw the arrival of the third Worcester Motor Festival in the city centre. Memories of classic films, like the “Italian Job,” were evoked by the glamorous vintage vehicles. Racing driver Zoe Wenham was on hand with her Ginetta G50 – Zoe will be driving at Silverstone again soon. And there’s nothing quite like the romance of Worcestershire’s own Morgan cars – I learned the best way to climb in and out of a Morgan three-wheeler, which is easier than you might think.
After a very pleasant, warm and restful long bank holiday weekend, it was back to work on Tuesday with a meeting of the trustees at the Museum of Royal Worcester. This gem in Worcester’s heritage has suffered from the closure of the Porcelain factory, and visitor numbers are only slowly recovering. Can I advise an early trip, to see what is a nationally recognised collection!
Later we attended a ceremony in the Assembly Room, when local people were awarded the British Empire Medal. It was great to meet the local recipients and hear of their outstanding service to the community.
During the evening we attended the Choir School Association’s annual conference dinner in College Hall. It was interesting to meet representatives from all the choir schools and to hear of their pleasure at spending time in the city, and making local visits to tourist attractions.
On Wednesday we opened the Prince’s Trust Community Project at Woodgreen Nursery in Trotshill Lane East. The students had not only raised the money, but had spent two weeks in building a concrete path and building a wood shed to help the children use the outdoor space in the summer. Congratulations to Team 172 who worked so hard!
At lunchtime I was invited to the Friendly Lunch at The Guesten by Friends of the Cathedral. We not only enjoyed a meal together, but also discussed important local matters – particularly related to traffic in the city and improving Cathedral Square!
On Thursday we entertained a former Mayoress to tea in The Parlour. We were visited by Mrs Lewis and her daughter Pat Turner, and were truly entertained with memories of the past and stories of their life in Worcester.
Later in the evening, we were invited to attend the Rotary Club of Worcester’s Severn Vocational and Community Service Awards Dinner at the Race Course. It was most interesting to meet the two award winners, and hear of their long service as volunteers.
Afterwards I spoke of my experience as Mayor and raised some of the “wicked issues” that are facing the City Council. We enjoyed a lively question and answer session, to conclude a very enjoyable evening.
On Friday we welcomed friends and representatives of voluntary organisations to our “farewell fling” in the Guildhall over lunchtime. We enjoyed meeting so many old friends and thanked them for their support after such a busy year as Mayor. I was able to announce that we had raised over £28,000 to benefit the mayoral charities.
Later in the evening we visited the Almonry in Evesham and were entertained to a meal by Councillor Robert Raphael as a farewell to the “Chains” over the last municipal year.
On Saturday the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Pat Agar, attended the Young Firefighters’ Passing Out Parade at Droitwich.
Last Sunday was dominated by St George’s Day events; first a Cathedral service, and then the annual march past the Guildhall where we took the salute. Congratulations to the Second Worcesters who took overall responsibility for the day, and the many parents and children who took part in the well-supported event.
Later we showed representatives around the Guildhall including the Assembly Room and Cells, which provided a source of real interest.
On Monday we were asked to open the recently refurbished Warmstry Court – I well remember it being built on the site of the former “City Rag Stores”! It was great to see the improved accommodation which has been created by Thomas Vale Construction.
Tuesday saw my final meeting as Chair of the World War 1 commemoration committee, where we approved a new structure to produce a more streamlined organisation.
Later we supported the Mayor of Evesham’s St George’s Day event, held at the refurbished Regal Cinema in Evesham. It is a beautiful example of Art Deco, and hosted a most enjoyable evening, courtesy of Councillor Robert Raphael.
Wednesday saw us attending the Civic Society’s annual Mayor’s lecture, “From Austerity to Prosperity”, which was given By Professor David Green, Vice Chancellor of the University of Worcester. It was a bullish presentation, calling for re-investment in infrastructure as an alternative to continued stagnation!
On Friday we entertained another prize winner with coffee in the Parlour. Later we joined MP Robin Walker for the opening of Second Chance Furnishings – a subsidiary of St Paul’s Hostel for the Homeless. We met a number of volunteers and service users, who are fully engaged in this most interesting project.
During the evening we attended a civic Charity Dinner at Hagley Hall, for the Civic Head of Bromsgove’s charities.
I joined members of the Clothiers Society for a farm tour at Top Barn Farm on Saturday. I was impressed with the link between farm and countryside, and the many local voluntary bodies who are supported by this interesting diversification from farming.
During the afternoon we made a final trip to St George’s Lane, where I attended the last football match against Chester FC. It was an afternoon of mixed emotions, and it does seem sad that no suitable local ground-sharing facility could have been arranged!
During the evening Jill and I attended our penultimate fund- raiser, with the Great Witley Operatic Society and Friends presenting the concert version of “Pirates of Penzance”. It was sensational, the packed audience enjoying a superb evening. Our thanks to so many volunteers, friends and performers in particular, who gave up their Saturday for such an enjoyable evening’s performance. Thanks to Jane Dodd who was the leading soprano, Sue Black MD and Caroline Causier, who spent so much time organising the event over the past nine months.