Worcester International Festival of Young Singers has been very visible in our streets, at the Cathedral and in the Guildhall this week. It was very exciting to welcome so many acclaimed conductors and talented young singers to the city for the world’s newest choral festival.
Phil and I joined guests and staff of St Paul’s Hostel for a fund raising dinner earlier this week. St Paul’s kitchen is well known for good food and we were not disappointed. They produced a salmon and prawn mousse, a roast beef main course and a trio of desserts. Several of the staff live at the hostel and are kitchen volunteers or apprentices.
We had a number of international visitors to the parlour this week, including the Bishop of Arua in Uganda and his party, and a group of Korean trainee teachers of English. It was a real pleasure to chat with them all and show them around the Guildhall.
BBC Hereford and Worcester staged an outdoor broadcast with the theme, “Are we making the most of our riverside?” I am not sure what the final verdict was, but I do think the riverside has improved beyond recognition in recent years.
Dancefest treated us to performances by young dancers aged from pre-schoolers to teens. In the first dance, Goldilocks smashed the furniture when she broke in – the three bears were not amused. Many other dances were inspired by children’s stories or carnival. Dancefest can be found on both Twitter and Facebook.
Phil and I visited ASPIE this week – a charity which supports adults who have Aspergers Syndrome. People with Aspergers often excel – as mathematicians, musicians, accountants, and much more. Shockingly, it is currently taking 22 months to get a diagnosis of Aspergers in Worcestershire.
We spent Tuesday evening with the Guides. I had the pleasure of presenting several Guides with their Baden Powell Awards and hearing about their activities.
This week, Blessed Edward Oldcorne School celebrated their fiftieth anniversary with a special mass, presided over by Archbishop Bernard of Birmingham. Prayers were also said for Denise, wife of the Bishop of Worcester.
On Friday evening, we attended an evening of songs, traditional and modern, in aid of Acorns and Maggs. Thank you to the Chapter 8 singers for a magical evening.
St Swithun’s evensong is always a wonderful experience. The bells rang a welcome as we processed along the High Street and the Gentlemen’s Volunteer Choir sang from the gallery. Try taking your sandwiches to St Swithun’s on Friday lunchtimes if you enjoy live music with your lunch. I plan to!
The new Dines Green development got under way on Monday. There will be 51 new Worcester Community Housing homes, a youth centre, shops and a church. By next spring, the heart of Dines Green will be amazing.
Worcester Repertory Company triumphed again with Shakespeare at the Commandery. They gave us the funniest version of the Tempest I have ever seen. Congratulations to Chris Jaeger and the whole team! I certainly plan to see the Merchant of Venice at the Cathedral in October.
After a fascinating talk by Lord Faulkner on how Britain’s railways were saved, I was left wondering if Sir Humphrey of “Yes Minister” had been involved. It was a complicated and devious tale. I feel sure the book will interest both railway fans and the politically or historically inclined.
Saturday brought a change of pace – I joined the Worcestershire Chinese Association for their monthly meeting and attended a garden party with past mayors from around the county. I also found my dream kitchen at the opening of “Dream Doors,” a new family business on the Tything.
Phil and I received a warm welcome from residents and staff when we attended the Shaw Red Hill Care Home fete. We had a tour of the home and chatted with residents.
Planning for the World War 1 commemoration is gathering speed. A specially designated website will launch in autumn, so it will be easy to advertise your event or find out what is going on.
I welcomed the winners of the Rotary Club’s “Junior Youth Speaks” competitions from St Barnabas and Gorse Hill Schools to the Mayor’s Parlour. The children asked some searching history questions and informed me that the origin of the phrase, “to kick the bucket,” referred to kicking the bucket from under someone about to be hanged. This interesting nugget of information came up during a visit to the cells.
Last week, local Samaritans celebrated 40 years of supporting people experiencing a crisis in their lives. Nationally, the Samaritans have been in existence for 50 years. Congratulations to them and thank you to the volunteers, for all the hard work that you do.
It was an honour to welcome a distinguished Chinese delegation from the city of Hezhou, Worcestershire Ambassadors and their guests to a reception at the Guildhall on Monday evening.
Hezhou is a city of about five million people and expects its population to double in the next five years (London’s population is approximately 4 million, to give some idea of the scale!) The delegation was led by the Vice Mayor of Hezhou, Ms Grace Pan Ming. As a former Worcester University Business Studies student, Ms Pan Ming knows the city well. She has since gone on to a successful career in Chinese local government.
Monday also marked the start of Armed Forces Week – local reservists and veterans gathered to raise the Armed Forces Day flag over the Guildhall.
At the Worcestershire Summer School Games in Bromsgrove, the indoor rowing was particularly thrilling – and exhausting just to watch!
Phil and I were guests of the Worcester News at the Twenty20 cricket match between Worcester and Glamorgan. The covers were on and off as rain interrupted play, but the players gamely went on to produce 14 overs, as the weather lifted.
The Worcester Symphony Orchestra treated us to a programme of Mozart and Beethoven in St George’s Church on Saturday evening. Their wonderful rendition of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony made Dolby surround sound seem pale by comparison!
I also welcomed some Tanzanian guests, who are visiting the county as part of “One World Link,” and attended a production of “The Curry Bean” at RGS The Grange.
We ended the week as guests of the Rotary Club at the inauguration of their new President, Sheila Sonley – Many congratulations to her!