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Author: Mayor Allah Ditta

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.

Mayor’s Week: 14 – 20 June 2019

Mayor’s Week: 14 – 20 June 2019

How to sum-up the week?  Chains and brains…

Where I go, the mayor’s historic chain of office goes too.  First, as a Senior VP of South Worcestershire, I visited the home of Rotary fundraising mastermind David Scott. Then I found myself in the company of leading physicists and educationalists for Professor Gary McCullough’s inaugural lecture at the University.  Sadly I had to leave early in order to make my third appointment of the day – a musical event in Birmingham, attended by a number of mayors.

More chains were on display the next day too, when I was honoured to be among 300 guests at Worcestershire High Sheriff Edward Holloway’s ‘At Home’ event at Lower Court, Suckley. Fundraising for good causes doesn’t just happen:  it needs brain power and planning, and his Charitable Fund is one of the most ambitious.

Worcester’s 150 year-old chain was once more proudly worn for the English Association of Male Voice Choirs’ annual concert in the Cathedral and, I have to say, its sheer weight kept my feet on the ground – such was the powerful impact of 200 soaring voices and three hours of magical musical enchantment.

Sunday saw a chain of a different type:  a BMW superbike handed over to the blood transfusion service by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Master Masons, at the Prescott Bike Festival.  The mayoral chain was once again brought out of its box for the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Worcester Cathedral.  There were lots of chains on show but where, oh where, was the public?  Lessons to be learned here about the power of publicity, I’m thinking.

In between all this, I received a 4.00am call with the painful news of the loss of a very good friend, Mohammed Walayat.

The week ended with a visit to Akina Homecare to celebrate its top CQC rating in the whole of UK; and presentation of an £8,000 cheque from the City Council to Footsteps –a local charity which provides support to bereaved families.

And still I found time to celebrate Fathers’ Day with my six children and 12 grandchildren.  Now that took brains!