Monday began at the Guildhall with a welcome to handbell-ringers and an American visitor Karen Buckwalter, who is a musical director and arranger. They enjoyed the Guildhall and a piece of cake kindly donated by St Paul’s Hostel from our recent visit.
Afterwards I paid a quick trip to the riverside to welcome Diabetes UK, who were staging a Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow. They are successful in looking at people’s body mass index and arranging referrals to local GPs where necessary.
At lunchtime I enjoyed a visit to the cricket ground to meet the Rotary Club of Worcester at the cricket ground. I was made an honorary member and heard of their fundraising plans.
We had a terrific evening on Tuesday at The Commandery seeing Shakespeare’s As You Like It – luckily without any inclement weather. We had a wine and finger buffet, then an excellent production where all actors performed so well. This really is Worcester at its best!
Wednesday brought another tour of the Guildhall and the Mayor’s Parlour, this time with American students on Summer School at the University. Not only were they impressed with the Guildhall and tourist attractions in the city, but many have plans to stay in Worcester for The Queen’s visit and also take a trip to the Olympics.
I joined the Bishop of Worcester on Thursday for the opening of our city’s first food bank. This is another initiative sponsored by All Saints Church who have been successful in engaging with many other volunteers, not just to help out but also to donate groceries. The existence of the food bank is in many ways a sad comment on the difficult times we are i
It was fascinating to attend the press conference to unveil the rediscovered papers from Winston Churchill’s visit to Worcester. This was a really interesting insight into the attempts by my predecessors to arrange for a visit to the City by Churchill and the eventual ceremony to award him the Freedom of the City.
We were joined by John and Ruth Bennett, who had treasured memories of Churchill staying at Lower Wick.
Later I joined the local branch of national charity Sight Concern for their Jail’n'Bait event outside the Guildhall – this challenged four contestants to raise £500 to be “released”.
We had a visit from Nunnery Wood Primary School on Friday. The youngsters enjoyed a debate in the Council Chamber on whether or not the wearing of school uniform was necessary. By a narrow margin those in favour won the debate. Afterwards I gave them a quick tour of the Guildhall, including the cells.
In the afternoon I enjoyed a visit to the cricket ground to see a T20 match with Warwickshire. Thanks to Peter John, editor of Worcester News, for the hospitality.
On Saturday I joined a photocall with The Rotary Club of Worcester who were fundraising with a parade of sandwich-boards, led by a band, throughout the busy city centre. This was one of their many fundraising events and I wish them well.
We had an enjoyable trip to the Bewdley annual Civic Service to support the Mayor of Bewdley, Councillor John Latham, and his partner on Sunday June 10. The weather was fine, allowing us to process to St Anne’s Church from the historic Guildhall.
I met with one of my charities, Maggs Day Centre on Mnday. We agreed a programme of events and I will highlight activities as they occur.
Later in the day I had tea with Georgia Smith of VisitWorcester and Duncan Starkey, Managing Director of Worcester City Council, to congratulate VisitWorcester on the successful Olympic Torch event.
An early morning meeting with my Chaplain Canon John Everest on Tuesday was followed by a meeting of The Trustees of The Bishop Lloyd Charity Lunchtime at The Lenchford, where I met old colleagues from Worcester Twenties Club.
In the afternoon I attended the annual general meeting of the Friends of Worcestershire Royal Infirmary and enjoyed a garden tour of Tutnall House in Claines – thanks to Eluned Smith. What excellent work and fundraising by this charity who are always extremely generous in supporting the WRI.
I hosted a joint visit of Spanish children and junior pupils from St George’s Primary School on Wednesday. They enjoyed a tour of the Guildhall, the cells and loved the opportunity to wear my mayoral chain and robes. This was part of an exchange visit with pupils from Toledo in Spain, which has been on-going for over six years.
I had an enjoyable visit to my other charity, St Paul’s Hostel, on Thursday. Jill and I were able to meet staff and some residents. We heard of the success of the “dry house” in St John’s and the importance of extensive support services run by St Paul’s throughout the county. We were very pleased to receive a lovely iced cake, which will be enjoyed by future visitors to the Mayor’s Parlour.
Next, I paid a quick visit to the Cathedral to practice my reading for Sunday’s Civic Service, before a visit to the University’s annual summer garden party, which this year had to be held indoors because of the inclement weather.
The day ended with a meeting of The Gorse Hill Forum at KGV Community Centre. This is the strategic body that oversees the Areas of Highest Need Project.
Friday brought an early start and a visit to The Three Counties Show in Malvern. We arrived surprisingly early and were able to make the most of the spells of better weather to see some of the displays.
Jill and I attended the opening ceremony, presided over by the President Bishop Of Worcester. I made a reply on behalf of the guests, and talked of the “Countryfile effect” which I believe is leading to a greater appreciation by “us townies” of the role of modern agriculture.
I opened the second annual Worcestershire Literary Festival at The Swan Theatre later in the day. It’s an interesting programme of events which I hope are well supported.
Jill and I stayed to watch the competition to appoint the poet laureate for Worcestershire. The standard was extremely high and congratulations go to Maggie Doyle from Bromsgrove – I hope we see her in the Mayor’s Parlour in the near future.
I had just one event on Saturday, a trip to Greyfriars to see the exhibition, Everything Old Was Once New. It was interesting to see how contemporary art was displayed in a very historic setting. What a gem this National Trust building is!
I was delighted with the turnout at my Civic Service on Sunday, held in the Cathedral. Jill and I were accompanied on the procession from the Guildhall by former Mayors of Worcester, as well as chairmen and mayors from neighbouring councils.
The service was also attended by Lord Faulkner, the Honorary Recorder Judge Juckes, representatives of the police and fire services, and many local charities, clubs, schools and businesses.
My chaplain, Reverend Canon John Everest, led prayers for the city.
I enjoyed a fleeting visit to Warndon Community Centre on Sunday where Worcester Community Trust (WCT) were hosting a five-a-side football competition. Despite the inclement weather Jill and I were able to wish contestants well.
The Celebration of The Diamond Jubilee at the Cathedral was a memorable occasion later that day. We were entertained to tea and cakes, then followed an uplifting service where Her Majesty’s devotion was praised by the Bishop. The music was as usual of a high standard.
Monday brought a celebration of the Jubilee at Ronkswood. What fine weather and thanks are due to the local publican and Emma Harding of WCT who, with a team of volunteers, had organised everything so well. It was great to see so many old friends.
I had an early start on Tuesday at St Peter’s, where Abigail McFarlane (15) had organised a Diamond Jubilee Fundraising Event for Acorns and NSPCC. Well done Abbi – I am impressed with the commitment of young people who do so much these days.
Over to The Tolly Centre at midday for another Jubilee celebration. There was a good turnout from local people, reflecting the strong sense of community in Tolladine. Thanks to Sandra Kennedy of WCT and her team of volunteers for making such a success on an inclement day.
I chaired a planning meeting on Wednesday for the Armed Forces homecoming and freedom parade that will take place in Worcester on June 27. I must pay tribute to the military precision with the planning of the event. It will be a terrific turnout of Armed Forces so I hope it is well supported by the local community.
Later that day I met with Pat Brandum, Chief Executive of West Mercia Housing Group, and the evening brought the first of two evening training sessions for councillors on Planning Committee work.
On Thursday we entertained a group from Zweibrucken in south west Germany to a tour of the Guildhall. They were accompanied by representatives from Worcester Radio Amateurs Association. It was clear they enjoyed the visit, despite so much of the building being unavailable because of redecoration.
That afternoon we enjoyed a trip to visit Worcester Crossroads to meet staff and an old colleague, Roger Garland. Crossroads provides an excellent service to local people – something the Mayoress has first hand experience of from her own experiences caring for her aged parents in Abertillery.
Friday and Saturday were free of civic events so I had an opportunity to catch up with casework and gardening, as well as take a walk on the Northwick Trail alongside the River.
Saturday also brought a visit to Pershore and a visit to the Abbey for Worcestershire Philharmonic Orchestra’s 40th birthday and Jubilee celebrations. Really enjoyable!
Just one event on Sunday, when we attended the Mayor of Evesham’s Hello Cruise on the Avon at Evesham. Afterwards, at a venue kindly provided by the Mayor of Evesham Councillor Robert Raphael and his Mayoress Cllr Diana Raphael, we enjoyed a buffet meal. It proved to be a useful opportunity to meet other new civic heads.
Monday and Tuesday were almost clear so I got down to some gardening and car-cleaning – long overdue after the hot and dusty weather!
On Monday I also attended the opening of an exhibition of Co-operative History at The Bath Museum. Articles had been sought from local co-operators and particular thanks are due to Ken Dallow for his contribution on Worcester’s history. Local Worcester Co-operators will be able to visit on Saturday June 30 when a coach trip is being arranged.
I met up with Tim Clarke of the Worcester Standard on Tuesday for a regular briefing prior to attending an update for councillors on the South Worcestershire Development Plan in the Guildhall.
Wednesday brought my first attendance at the annual meeting of The Thomas Corbett Charity for Blind and Partially sighted, at the Guildhall.
The Mayoress and I later attended the fifth annual Learning Through Sport Day at The County Cricket Club, hosted by Professor David Green, the University’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive. It was great to witness young people from local schools enjoying activity through sport and to hear of the success of schemes to engage with young people.
We also had an update on developments at the University in particular the Arena, which is designed to meet the needs of wheelchair athletes and is now beginning to be seen as a new sight on the Worcester skyline.
In the evening, we enjoyed a performance of Cabaret at Spires Theatre in the College of Technology. What a performance! Both Jill and I enjoyed it throughout and in particular enjoyed meeting some of the performers afterwards. Congratulations to Paul Bellamy and his team in the Performing Arts Department.
On Thursday I had a meeting with Canon Stanton at the Cathedral to finalise arrangements for the Civic Service on June 17.
In the afternoon it was Planning Committee, where several major developments were approved. Congratulations to Geoff Williams on his first meeting as the new committee chairman.
In the evening we hosted a reception in the newly refurbished Guildhall Assembly Room to launch the Royal Jubilee Elgar Festival 2012. What an improvement to this gem of Worcester’s architecture, now that years of grime have been removed!
Afterwards we walked to the Cathedral to attend the opening Jubilee Concert. What a performance, with Elgar’s Cello Concerto performed so beautifully by Peter Adams. I’d like to give my congratulations to Christopher Robinson, The ESO and The Worcestershire Choir.
Friday’s attendance was at the annual Volunteers Fair under the aegis of Sally Ellison and the team at the Worcester Volunteer Bureau. There were over 30 Groups demonstrating the opportunities for volunteering in the city – no excuse for inactivity and a great opportunity to meet friends!
Saturday was remarkable. I was up early to meet David Faulkner and his family – David is running six marathons in six days to raise funds for Orangutang conservation.
Over to Specsavers to judge children’s crowns, then to judge the St John’s Traders Association Jubilee Shop Windows competition.
I was impressed with the efforts made by traders to brighten up St John’s and in particular the prizewinning entry from Newman’s Florist. Thanks to Rich Brixey and the Co-operative for the Fair Trade Hamper as first prize.
During the afternoon we were invited to attend the Jubilee party at Berkeley’s Chapel for residents of Berkeley’s and Nash’s. What a spread! Thanks to Elaine and her band of helpers.
I am a Trustee of this charity which is located in an idyllic setting, right in the centre of the City. How farsighted were some of our city fore-fathers in establishing this successful and progressive charity which does so much good in meeting the needs of people on limited incomes.
Later that evening, not totally exhausted, we enjoyed an exhilarating performance of Elgar’s Kingdom by ESO conducted by Donald Hunt with the combined voices of The Elgar Chorale and Worcester Festival Choral Society.
This was the final event of the three day festival celebrating the life and music of Edward Elgar during the weekend of his birthday. As it was June 2, Elgar’s birthday, a wreath was laid by Michael Kennedy.