A meeting of Worcester Rotary on Monday brought good news, as we were able to finalize the accounts for last month’s charity banquet. I’m delighted to report that over £7,000 was raised towards the Rotary charities and my own Mayoral causes, St Paul’s Hostel and Maggs Day Centre. It was a great effort and we are extremely grateful to all our friends who supported the event. A special thanks to Worcester Operatic and Dramatic Society’s Youth Section (WODYS), who launched the evening with such a fine performance.
Later that day, I joined a civic party led by the chairman of Worcestershire County Council, Cllr Rob Adams, to visit The Hive. Despite being a regular user I found there are place in this landmark building that I hadn’t seen before, so it was an interesting visit. Congratulations to all those who have been involved in this truly remarkable project.
One of the duties of the Mayor is to chair the meeting of the full Council, and on Tuesday I was pleased to welcome over 40 members of Worcester Swimming Club who there for the debate about a new swimming pool for the city. It was a final Council for me as its chair and was the scene of a lively debate on the introduction of the “bedroom tax”
On Wednesday evening, in my role as President, I chaired the annual general meeting of Worcester Twinning Association, and presided over the election of the association’s officers. It was a well attended meeting and it was interesting to hear about celebrations for the 25th anniversary of our twinning with Kleve in Germany. Next year there is a visit to Worcester, Massachusets, and a return visit for Kleve residents.
Speaking of our American namesake, on Thursday I welcomed Carl Herrin, Pro Vice Chancellor of Worcester University in Massachusets, to the Guildhall.
Later that day, I welcomed two groups of visitors from Worcester Industrial Archaeology and the History Association to see the Guildhall treasures. I was pleased that we were able to display some of our historic Charters, which caused a great deal of interest. Carl Jukes, city conservation officer, came along and was able to provide a great deal of detail about the current buildings.
I was pleased to join members of the Onside charity at the Guildhall on Friday to launch their new Get Connected campaign. Onside is dedicated to help vulnerable, disadvantages and isolated people, and this new campaign is all about encouraging people to make contact with and support their neighbours. I hope as many people as possible in Worcester will take the pledge to Get Connected.
Finally, I’d like to remind you of two upcoming events in aid of my charities – performance of The Pirates Of Penzance on April 27, courtesy of Great Witley Opeartic Society (GWOS) and on April 30 a lecture on Medicine in Worcestershire by Dr John Harcup.
Tickets for both are available on 01905 722001.
Last Sunday Jill and I attended the civic service of the Mayor of Redditch, Cllr Alan and Mrs Nina Mason, at the Parish Church of St Stephens. Afterwards we met local community representatives in the Town Hall.
On Monday it was the opening of the new nursery play area at Fort Royal School, courtesy of a grant from the Ganet Foundation. It really was great to see the children enjoying themselves outside in the winter sun, thanks to fundraiser Margaret Jones and Head Teacher Jane Long.
The following day we joined staff and children at Perdiswell Primary School for their “Mad Science Day”. As part of the activities, I was able to join members of the Worcester Amateur Radio Association in talking to another “ham” in Preston. Jill and I enjoyed visiting all the classes and seeing the children so fully engaged in the event. Thanks go to Mrs Bryan, Science Co-ordinator, and the Head Teacher.
For the next three days I was struck by a nasty stomach bug so cancelled my visit to The Rotary Club of Worcester South. I was grateful for the support of the Deputy Mayor, Pat Agar, who attended Wood Norton Hall on Friday for a Charity Banquet held by the Chairman of Wychavon, Cllr Richard Morris.
Mayoress Jill Berry stepped in to welcome a group of visually impaired students from New College on Wednesday, who visited the Guildhall. She deputised again on Thursday at the Bishop Perowne C of E College’s 50th anniversary celebrations. It was an evening of music and dance, performed by students past and present. She commented on the high standard and enjoyed the evening very much.
By Saturday I had made sufficient recovery to officially open and attend the Lions 105M District’s 38th Annual Convention at The Pear Tree Inn. Worcester was the host Branch and I was pleased to welcome delegates from throughout the Midlands, including District Governor Paul Anstice and International Director Benedict Ancar, who lives in Romania. Thanks go to Angie Wytcherley of the Lions Worcester Branch.
Finally, may I take the opportunity to publicise our next fundraiser, which will be a vibrant Gilbert & Sullivan performance of the much loved Pirates of Penzance. The performance will take place at the Guildhall on the evening of April 27; don’t miss it! Tickets are available for £10 from the Mayor’s Secretary, Susan O’Kane – tel 01905 722001.
Last week was full of contrasts. Firstly on Monday, I had meetings with the mayoral charities and with the Managing Director and Leader of the Council to discuss business matters. The charities are pleased with our attempts to highlight homelessness issues and the response to our fundraising; we’ve still got two more events scheduled for April and May!
Tuesday saw the Royal visit by HRH Duke of Gloucester, who opened the Pierson Study Centre at the University. I well remember Mr Pierson, and this was a fine way to commemorate his name through such ideal study and information services for students.
On Thursday I joined Debbie Morris and the Principal of Worcester College of Technology to present the Ability Awards to students who had suffered brain injury. It was a heart warming occasion, and a real tribute to the efforts of students who had progressed in so many ways to receive this recognition.
During the afternoon we attended the funeral of Bob Bullock at St Marys Parish Church in Kempsey. He was a former Justice of the Peace, Mayor, City and County Councillor, who had spent so much of his life in public service. He also contributed to the rescue of several prominent buildings in the City centre.
During the early evening we attended the West Midlands Ambulance Service Long Service and Excellence Awards at the Chateau Impney, Droitwich. It is pleasing to note how many public servants do their job to such an excellent standard; they well deserve this recognition.
On Friday we attended the funeral of David Inight MBE at St Stephens Church; another former Mayor and long serving City and County Councillor. David and I shared a mutual interest in the development of council housing in the City, and latterly we had regained contact with his work at the Worcester Rotary Club. He will be sorely missed, and our sympathies go to Hilary, his partner.
On Saturday evening we attended the Charity Ball of the Mayor of Gloucester, Cllr David Brown, at Kingsholme Rugby Ground Gloucester.
A particularly busy week began last Sunday, with the licensing and installation of Reverend Jo Masson at Claines Church; she also carries responsibilities at St Georges in Barbourne. It was a warm occasion, well attended by worshippers from both churches and officiated over by the Bishop of Dudley, David Walker.
Students from Stuttgart, Germany, who are staying with families of children from Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College, came for a visit to the Mayor’s Parlour in the Guildhall on Monday.
Tuesday saw another trip to the Parlour, when we presented awards for the Worcester Vigornia Rotary Club’s Young Citizen Award. The winner, Joe Lovell, had a track record of running activities for young people and working for Youth Com local Radio. I was impressed with all the finalists who have led such interesting lives, putting so much back into our community.
There were more visits to the Guildhall on Wednesday – this time from Tim Berg of the Ball State University Indiana, who is currently visiting Worcester University; then followed by a visit from Worcester New College students. Despite their visual impairment, they thoroughly enjoyed wearing the Mayoral Chain and Robes and touching the Civic Sword and maces.
Later in the evening we joined a joint meeting of the Friends of Museums Worcestershire and Friends of Worcester Cathedral, with a lecture from Dr Noel Worley on the story of Alabaster. The next meeting will continue the story, with a presentation from Kim Fox.
On Thursday we welcomed two visitors from Palestine, who stopped in briefly to talk about Fair Trade. They were on a tour of the UK during Fair Trade fortnight, and kindly presented us with a package of locally sourced fair trade products. It was great to meet a real life olive producer, and learn how the fair trade premium is used for the benefit of local communities in Palestine.
Later in the evening we enjoyed an Elgar concert at Symphony Hall Birmingham, courtesy of the directors of CBSO and friends John and Anna Yelland. The CBSO Concert was fantastic, conducted by Mike Seal and narrated by Paul Rissman; only wish we could see more of the orchestra in Worcester!
Friday was the day of our Charity Banquet at the Guildhall. Over 140 guests commenced by enjoyed songs from the musicals, presented by the Worcester Operatic and Dramatic Society’s Youth Section (WODYS). The young people set such a high standard, they really are excellent! After the meal we enjoyed various fundraising games, the judging of the fancy dress competition and an auction, courtesy of Charles Robinson. We are so grateful to our friends in the Worcester Rotary Club for their efforts, and to the large number of people and companies who donated money and prizes. It really was a great evening and the Rotary and mayoral charities will benefit from the proceeds.
On Saturday Jill and I drew the prize winning tickets in the Co-operative Group’s raffle, held at St John’s Store in aid of The Carers Trust. This is part of local fundraising for the Trust, which will continue for the rest of the year.