Mayor’s Week: 11 – 18 July 2019

Mayor’s Week: 11 – 18 July 2019

There is little danger of me being dazzled by white space in my diary.  This was yet another events-filled week that saw emotions seesaw from deepest sorrow to utmost joy.

Sorrow, inevitably, at the Srebrenica Memorial event at the Guildhall, to mark the darkest hour of the Bosnian conflict twenty four years ago.  I had to gather my composure that evening as Severn Arts was celebrating its first year as a charity, at the Art House in Castle Street.   I enjoyed chatting with Sir Julian Lloyd-Webber as if I knew what I was talking about!

Local charities play a huge part in the role of Mayor, and when that involves handing over cash to help local children thrive in an ever more challenging world, my time is even more willingly given.  Such was the case on Thursday and Friday at the annual meetings of the Bishop Lloyd Charity and the Hooper Trust, where I handed over grants of between £1,500 and £3,500 to specially gifted children.

Next day I attended another event tinged with sorrow: the Home and Dry Water Safety initiative which was held at the Arena in the wake of an increasing number of river deaths.  Once again my spirits were uplifted within hours by the astounding artwork of pupils at St Josephs RC Primary school, on the theme of ‘One World’.

I was also enchanted with an invitation to view a rehearsal of WODYS’ next high-energy production ‘Back To The 80s,’ which runs at the Swan Theatre from 30th July to 3rd August.  Brilliant?  As ever.

And in a weekend with barely a minute’s ‘me-time’, I opened the Horizon Summer fete at the Midland Road community centre; attended Medway Community Centre’s ‘All Sorts of Performing Arts’ showcase; went to two weddings in Birmingham and the mayor of Redditch’s Magical Midsummer Evening – even though he couldn’t attend as he’d broken his hip.  Next up was St Swithun’s Festival at St Martins Church where I cut the cake and was permitted to make a wish…  England winning the Cricket World Cup.  And guess what?  It came true!

Mayor’s Week: 5 – 11 July 2019

Mayor’s Week: 5 – 11 July 2019

Ah… the highs and lows of being Mayor!

The week has been something of an emotional roller-coaster – on the one hand, sheer joy in seeing the work of some of our brightest young students, on the other having to bid a sad and final farewell to one of the shining lights on the City Council.  That was last Wednesday when St George’s RC church was full to capacity for the funeral of Cllr. Stuart Denlegh-Maxwell, a very good friend and a huge talent who will be missed in the Council Chamber.

What I needed was cheering-up – and that came that same afternoon.  Some quite amazing plans to upgrade the Canal from the basin all the way to Perdiswell were revealed to me by far-sighted Canals Trust and British Waterways’ planner Timothy Booker and the City Council’s Andrew Round.  Watch this space for more details!

The City is privileged to be home to a number of schools of renown.  Back-to-back events in the middle of the week – King’s Day at King’s School and RGS Grange’s Speech Day – brought home the incredible standards consistently attained by both.

I also had occasion to call in the police – no, not for any crime or misdoings, but merely to say ‘thank you’ and to point-out that I for one, and the majority of you for another, appreciate the work they do.  Chief Inspector Stephanie Brighton promised to pass that message on to her team.

Another city organisation deserving of the highest praise is Worcester Snoezelen.  It is the only local leisure therapy centre of its kind for people with learning difficulties – and its fifth Art Exhibition and Silent Auction filled me with admiration.

Summertime means carnivals and summer fayres and there’s been no shortage of either this week. Regency School’s Summer Fayre and St Peter’s Parish Festival at Power Park were only topped by the newly-revived Worcester Carnival, which I had the pleasure of opening on Saturday.

Visits and tours round the Guildhall by groups of Italian and Chinese exchange students completed this week of ups and downs: mostly ups, I’m delighted to say!

Mayor’s Week: 28 June – 4 July 2019

Mayor’s Week: 28 June – 4 July 2019

Two new words to add to the phrasebook this week: 美  (měilì) and wunderschön, Chinese and German respectively, both meaning  ‘beautiful’ – and both referring to our fabulous City.   But first to business – or more aptly, busy-ness.

Much of the role of Mayor is concerned with raising funds for good causes, and the first to respond to my appeal to Worcester’s four major banks was HSBC’s Andy Leonard, a man with bright ideas.

Then on to the source of the first of my new words:  a tour of the Guildhall for sixteen teachers from Zhengzhou in China, here on a fact-finding mission with the University.

Sad news tempered by some happier news surrounds one of my pet organisations this week: the Rotary Club, a real fundraising giant.  My own club, Worcester South, has had to fold after 51 years due to the age of many of its members.  On the brighter side, Richard Rogers, whose inauguration as President of Worcester Rotary I attended on Monday, has welcomed many back as new members.

Then the first of several amazing events involving children: co-judging the Rotary Club ‘Junior Youth Speaks’ competition at St Barnabas School.  Illuminating!  Later the same day, off to St James Church in Welland for the Malvern Singers’ hugely uplifting summer concert ‘Life is a Song’.  I also handed over a cheque for £1,000 to the Help for Heroes charity.

On Friday an unusual occurrence – no engagements!  Except that I managed to squeeze in a wedding in Birmingham, a conference for Midlands councillors and a visit to Stanley Road School for its Starfest Big Art exhibition.

Nor will I ever cease to be amazed by the gifted children of Worcester’s New College, whose Celebration Day concert left me utterly lost for words.

Other highlight events this week were: Hidden Histories at the Hive; Chapter 8 Choir’s exquisite concert in the cathedral Chapter House in aid of Maggs Day Centre; a meeting with Alan Amos and Keith Slater about a Lottery grant for Regenerating Communities; a tour of the Guildhall for sixteen students from Principia School of Language in Stuttgart, guests of Blessed Edward Oldcorne RC College.  Wünderbar!



Mayor’s Week: 20 – 27 June 2019

Mayor’s Week: 20 – 27 June 2019

Now, if you’re thinking that being Worcester’s Mayor must be a privileged doddle, then reflect on this.  I’m six weeks in and have already completed more than a hundred official engagements.  There were twenty this week alone, not a one of which found me wishing that I was somewhere else!

Events on Wednesday included the unveiling of St Richard’s Hospice Legacy Bench outside the Guildhall (you can’t miss it, it’s a beautiful shade of blue); a fruitful meeting with Tomasz Wisniewski of the Worcestershire Polish Association and then on to The Cavalier in Kidderminster for the Mayor’s Charity Darts Tournament. You’d have been proud of me: I played a grand first round, but was out-thrown by the eventual winner, Peter Tomlinson – County Council chairman!

The next day I was honoured to relive ex-mayor Liz Smith’s memories of the Parlour and Guildhall with her family.  This was followed by the RGS Commemoration Service at the Cathedral before a dash over the river for the University’s Worcestershire Education Awards.

An update on the activities of my four charities – St. Richard’s Hospice, Worcester Wheels, Headway and the Cathedral – accounted for much of Friday morning.  Afterwards I went to a delightful coffee morning at Lyppard Hub’s Great Get Together event – proof that community spirit is alive and well. I was enchanted, too, by the work of children at Stanley Road Primary School, whose Spiritual Garden is wonderful.

On Saturday I witnessed the Rotary Club Board March and a gorgeous performance of Aladdin by All Sorts of Performing Arts at Medway Community Centre. Sunday saw me enjoying the Elgar Chorale’s Summer Serenade at St George’s Church.

Monday was a proud day; I was honoured to speak at the Armed Forces Flag Raising ceremony at the Guildhall.

Armed Forces Day Flag Raising Ceremony at The Guildhall, High Street, Worcester……
Pic Jonathan Barry 24.6.19

In the afternoon I was a guest at a rather unusual ceremony:  the unveiling of the Samaritans Crossroads telephone box at Powick.

The next day I met students from the Heart of Worcestershire College, greeted new City Council employees and watched The Grange’s Year 6 production of Peter Pan.

Phew… made it!  Amazing.  Quota complete.