I have had two main feelings about this week’s engagements, namely being privileged, and one of humility by having attended two very important events and meeting other people who have worked so selflessly and tirelessly for those who are disadvantaged in some major way.
I was genuinely honoured to have started Worcester’s Race for Life at the Racecourse on Sunday, not just because I got to use a claxon for the first time (and let it rip for too long) but because I saw so many volunteers – of all ages –start the course and then presented many of them with a medal on their return. And to the young volunteers who took “selfies” with me, thank you for setting such a good example. I am very proud of you. As I said in my opening speech, “Let’s kill cancer.”
On the previous day, I attended the Summer Concert and Celebration Day at New College (used to be called the Blind College). I was so impressed by the high quality of the art work produced that I am arranging for an exhibition of some of it to go on display in the Guildhall, so people can see what dedication and perseverance can achieve.
These two events alone should make us all stop and think – and realise that our own everyday concerns and worries pale into insignificance compared to somebody with cancer or a serious inability to see anything.
I am pleased to confirm that the Mayor’s charity will be making a donation to the Worcester Cathedral Charitable Fund, which makes grants to the poor and needy.
For the second time in a month, I had the pleasure of attending the Licensing and Installation of a new vicar in the city, this time for the Rev’d George Davis for Holy Trinity & St Matthew (Ronkswood). It is wonderful to see new youth and enthusiasm coming into our ecclesiastical life. And again, what a beautiful hot and sunny evening. Let’s hope there are more events like these to come!
In response to a lot of people asking if The Mayor always has to be a Councillor, I can confirm that the answer is yes, they do. So, looking after your constituents is in addition to any Mayoral duties. For example, in the past week or so, I have managed to get the bus stop outside the Farmers Boy on Tolladine Road moved a bit further down the road to solve a very dangerous traffic problem; and I had a very successful meeting with the regional managers of the local KFC on site to reduce the litter problems around the store and beyond. So, it’s business as usual.
I am delighted to confirm that one of my charities is Forces Support, which provides practical help and support for the families of service personnel who have been killed or come back severely injured. They do both garden and inside work, and operate closely with the Widows Association and SAFA. They have a warehouse shop in Sherriff Street which accepts donations of furniture and house clearance items. They also employ some youngsters who would otherwise not be in work. So, please help them make a difference.
One of the nice things about being Mayor is that you can encourage and support people who want to do something for Worcester. So, it is a real pleasure that I am supporting a sculptor who wants to do a life size bronze statue of Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, whom we all know as Woodbine Willy, a true Worcester hero.
Remarkably, we are experiencing some proper summer weather – at least up to now – so that will make my weekend engagements especially fun, opening the Summer Concert and Celebration Day at New College and starting off the Worcester Race for Life (supporting the battle against cancer) at Worcester Racecourse. Worcester is certainly blessed with so many people who are prepared to give up their time and efforts for others for these very worthy causes.
This past week I was privileged to have attended the Licensing and Installation of Rev’d Jo Musson as Priest in Charge of St. George with St. Mary Magdalene, surely one of the most beautiful churches in Worcester.
Then a most unusual but fascinating visit to our University for the opening of the Air Spectrum Environmental’s analytical odour laboratory, which is an odour threshold testing facility to forecast, detect and control air pollution. This is one of only four in the whole of the UK, so full credit to Worcester.
The 25th Birthday Honours for BBC Hereford & Worcester saw seven fantastic people win titles for bravery, volunteer work, and service to others. It was a very humbling experience to see such worthy people receive their awards.
My ardent love of books (real ones you can touch and hold, not the other sort) was titillated when I opened the fourth Worcestershire Literary Festival and witnessed the excitement of the selection of the county’s new Poet Laureate. I also heard some fantastic prize-winning readings from young people. This is certainly expanding to be one of the great events of the year, with a huge diversity of activities arranged for the following week. Many congratulations to the organisers and participants who have made this such a success.
It was a lovely summer’s morning when I launched the Rotary Club’s Board March through the City Centre to raise money for charity. I really do take my hat off to the Rotary Club who are continually doing so much selfless work benefitting so many people.
I was honoured and pleased to officiate at the Worcester Ramblers’ Group 25th Year Anniversary Celebration and learn about the tremendous amount of good work they do, in particular, footpath repair and maintenance. It was somewhat ironic that, whilst I was congratulating the walkers for the example they set to the rest of us and encouraging more people to join, it really should have been the ramblers encouraging me to get a healthier lifestyle! But then, as I’ve often said, if I were fit enough to do exercise, I wouldn’t bother!
Did you know that all the pollen count forecasts on BBC television weather forecasts come solely from our University in Worcester? Again, something to be proud of.
This was a really mixed week. It started off with a very civilized afternoon tea in the Parlour with a small group of people one of whom now lives in Australia, so it was fitting to visit the cells to where a number of prisoners had been transported.
I was impressed by the Royal Grammar School’s Graduation Ceremony in the Cathedral where the school demonstrated some impressive young talent, but a little sad at the thought that all this hope and enthusiasm may shortly collide with the reality of the harsh big wide world outside.
My visit to St. Richard’s Hospice at Wildwood made me stop and realize just how lucky we are that there are so many wonderful and selfless people around who, in this case, devote themselves to looking after the terminally ill. Professionals and volunteers – I salute you all. It puts all our own problems and concerns into perspective.
Back on familiar territory at the Fairfield Centre Open Day to celebrate Adult Learner’s Week, I was reminded of the vast diversity of our community in Worcester. It was gratifying that so many adults are prepared to make a real effort, often in difficult circumstances, to pursue their keenness to learn.They are an example to us all, especially when too many people today seem to have lost interest in life’s wonders.
Whilst certainly maintaining all the good traditions, I have spent some time undertaking a radical review of various functions of the Mayoralty, in particular the Inaugural Banquet and the Mayor’s Charity Dinner, in order to modernize these key events and make them both more exciting and relevant for ordinary people. I’ve also been discussing the organization of our World War One anniversary celebrations.
An amusing incident occurred when the Guildhall Manager suddenly implored me not to sit on a particular chair in the Parlour. Whilst accepting that I may be a tad overweight, I was reassured when he told me that this prohibition applied to everybody and not just me!
A little know fact is that, as Mayor, I still have the power to raise an army. Anybody like to join?