Monday 24th: The Rotary Club of Worcester and I had our monthly meeting to continue the planning for our joint charity dinner event on Friday 10th February 2012. Watch this space!!
A non-Mayoral evening on the City Council’s Scrutiny Committee.
Tuesday 25th: Another planning meeting: a lot goes on behind the scenes in the “Mayor’s Office”. Lt. Col. Gerry Taggart, RE (Retired), Susan O’Kane my PA and “Visit Worcester” met to update ourselves on progress with arrangements for Armed Forces Day (and the few days before) next year. Yet another space to watch!!
The Lowesmoor old Vinegar Works is a Grade II listed building and has been converted into the Territorial Army’s local training centre and headquarters. Jane and I had a wonderful evening with Lt. Col. Philip Shepard-Walwyn, MBE RA, his officer colleagues and the many volunteer local soldiers. The way the building has been so well adapted for the 104th Regiment Royal Artillery volunteers is impressive. We had an opportunity to tour the whole building and talk to everyone: that included fascinating chats with some who have just returned from a tough tour in Afghanistan. I felt immensely proud of what Worcester is contributing to our Nation’s armed forces.
The Great Filling Hall of the Vinegar Works was built in the 1850’s and even opened, in 1872, its own railway line linking with Shrub Hill Station. The Company had been founded in 1830 by William Hill and Edward Evans, two chemists. It became the biggest producer of vinegar in the world achieving 9,000,000 litres each year! A less known fact is that the Company made British wines, sherry and port….and quinine to combat malaria. The works closed in 1965.
Wednesday 26th: Women, women, women everywhere: well, it was a Women’s Institute (WI) meeting! Jane (a member of the Whittington WI) and I had been invited. It was the Worcester Group of WI’s Autumn Meeting held in the Bromyard Road Methodist Church Hall and hosted by the Swan Pool WI. In fact it was great fun with a delicious “afternoon tea” (as you would expect from these ladies!) and entertainment by “Razzamatazz”.
It is not often that a book is published in Worcester with such local importance. “The Story of Worcester” is a history of our City written by Pat Hughes and Annette Leech. I had the privilege of launching this work in the Commandery to a large gathering. This book is a wonderful resource for anyone passionate about Worcester and will be invaluable to any history student.
Thursday 27th: His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent opened the new Snowdrop Community Care Centre. Jane and I were honoured to attend and welcome the Duke to Worcester. This is the second time that he has visited St. Richard’s Hospice and clearly shows a genuine interest in the service.
We are approaching our annual period of Remembrance. This afternoon I took part in opening a Worcestershire Royal British Legion “Field of Remembrance” at Worcester Rugby Club, Sixways. May seem an unusual place but being close to the entrance to the spectator stands it will enable many people to plant poppy crosses as they come to matches.
The Council of (Shadow) Governors (of which I am one of three elected members for Worcester City) of the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals’ NHS Trust met with the Board Members to discuss our approach to these rapidly changing times. There are so many important issues: the aging and healthier population has come about to a great extent because of amazing advances in medical science and care. But there are also many challenges, and they are real challenges, arising from smoking, alcohol and obesity. If we could solve these three health threats the health of the nation and NHS finances would be dramatically improved! So meet your three Worcester City Governors (as on the Hospital Trust’s web site):
“Elayne Guest has 43 years experience in the NHS and feels she could offer a great deal to the Foundation Trust. She enjoys living in Worcester and feels passionate about exceptional health services for local people. She trained as a nurse, midwife and health visitor but worked in senior management for 30 years and is fully aware of the importance of high quality care and governance issues. She currently volunteers for St Richards Hospice and Worcester Cathedral.”
“Natasha Knowles has always had an interest in the NHS. She has lived in Worcestershire for most of her life and in Worcester City for the last 10 years. Her first job was working at Kidderminster Community Health Council and this led to her interest in ensuring fair and equal access to health services for the whole community. As a Governor she will bring clear communication skills and a real interest in ensuring that the views and opinions of the FT membership are represented to the Board and other Governors.”
“Dr David Tibbutt worked in the NHS for 30 years and was a Consultant Physician at Worcester Royal Infirmary. Since retiring in 1998, he has supported medical services in Uganda, and more latterly Rwanda. His contribution to Worcester City has included membership of the Community Health Council and the Patients’ Forum for the hospitals, as well as several
Saturday 29th: It was an enormous honour for me to launch the Royal British Legion (Worcestershire) 2011 Poppy Appeal this morning. This I did from the steps of the Guildhall in the presence of the County President Air Vice Marshall R.J.Honey, CB, CBE, the County Chairman Mr. A. Hartley-Wooley, MBE, JP, County Vice Chairman Mr. D. Waldron, County Manager, Annette Summers and Ms. Teresa Scully and her two sons and a huge crowd in the High Street. This year is also very special because we celebrate the 90 years since the Royal British Legion was formed on 15th May 1921. We invited everyone to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Armed Forces, give as generously as we are able and to wear our poppies with pride.
Sunday 30th: On 31st October 1914 the Battle of Gheluvelt in Belgium was fought. The 2nd. Battalion The Worcestershire Regiment was the last available reserve of the British defence and as a result of their bravery, being out-numbered ten to one, the line was held. Today an “Act of Remembrance and Wreath-Laying Ceremony” was held in Gheluvelt Park and conducted by Canon Paul Tongue. The names of the 37 men killed in the battle were read out. Jane and I were privileged to be there with other guests including the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Mr. Ray Seale and Lord Faulkner of Worcester. I gave the final short address.
 “Shadow” because the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals’ NHS Trust does not yet have “Foundation Trust” status.