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Author: Mayor Stephen Hodgson

Mayor’s Week: 18 – 24 September 2021

Mayor’s Week: 18 – 24 September 2021

On Wednesday the mayoress and I went to Claines Lane to meet the Under 15 Youth section Cup winning team from last season on the pitch at half time. It was my first visit to City’s new home. Thank you to the directors of the club, including Colin Layland, who showed us their new facilities before the game, which was well attended with a big win to boost.

Friday night was one of the highlights of the mayoral year; my Inaugural Banquet was moved from late Spring to September to reflect the welcome easing of Covid restrictions. The Guildhall Assembly room looked splendid with floral table decorations provided by the Worcester Floral Arrangement Society. The flowers were on a purple theme to reflect my two nominated charities, Aspie and the Stroke Association, with table names dedicated to famous people who either had Asperger’s or were stroke survivors.

I would like to thank my two main speakers, Mr Neil Bucktin and the Lord Faulkner of Worcester, who spoke about the many positive aspects of our city.

On Sunday the mayoress and I were at the Commandery for the ‘Pearl Blades & Painted Silks’ book launch. Leena Batchelor described how she had been inspired by her childhood to publish the book. Several speakers read poems – including Faith Taylor from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire’s Young Poet Laureate for 2021.

A meeting of the Council took place on Tuesday, which as mayor I chair. The Deputy Mayor and I announced the details of the 400th Charter celebrations that will take place during the weekend of 2nd October. On display for the first time were the two Wentworth Pewter bowls, replacing the ones lost in the English Civil war, and the Edward Hurdman blue plaque which will be installed next to All Saints Church. After the meeting a special photograph was taken of all the Councillors, civic officers, and senior management of the City Council.

On Wednesday I popped into New Road where the Grassroots Cricket Awards were being presented.  I met Ian Martin, Head of Disability Cricket at the England & Wales Cricket Board, who told us of exciting new plans for the sport at the University.

Finally on Thursday I helped the Soroptimists, a volunteer movement which aims to to transform the lives of women and girls, to plant two trees at Fort Royal Park to celebrate 100 years of the organisation.

Mayor’d Week – 10 – 17 September 2021

Mayor’d Week – 10 – 17 September 2021

Last Thursday the Mayoress and I attended the Kinship Carers 10th Anniversary professionals event, which was hosted in the Guildhall by Clare Whittaker from Harrison Clark Rickerbys solictors. We were introduced to Enza Smith MBE, the CEO of the Worcester based charity.

On Friday the Heart of Worcester College Graduation Ceremony took place in Worcester Cathedral. My wife Councillor Lucy Hodgson is a former governor of the college, and we were welcomed by Mr Neill Bucktin, Chair of the Corporation, Mr Stuart Laverick, Principal & Chief Executive, and Nicki Williams, the Vice Principal and Chief Executive of the Heart of Worcester College. Congratulations and the best of luck for the future for all those who graduated.

Later in the afternoon I made my official visit the Worcester Life Stories and Titanic exhibitions. Thank you to Phillipa Tinsley and her colleagues for showing the Mayoress and I around. I have been to the Titanic museums in Belfast and Southampton, so to see this exhibition in Worcester was a thrill.

On Saturday I joined the Heritage Open Day that was held at the Guildhall. Members of the public could see parts of the Guildhall not normally open, including the Parlour.  Rob McCarthy, the Mayor’s officer, Frank Southam the Sword Bearer and Mark Harding, a macebearer, were also on hand to welcome visitors.

In the evening I was at the splendid Stanbrook Abbey Hotel for the Children of Worcestershire Cancer Fund Charity Ball. The event was organised by Dawn Forbes, Children and Young People Oncology Nurse Specialist who also received a prestigious award at the event. The mayoress and I were seated next to Dr Baylon Kamalarajan, Lead Clinician, who made the news worldwide a few months ago when he and colleague Emma Mander donned tutus to perform a ballet routine to a young girl patient!

On the Sunday the Annual Worcestershire Freemasons Cathedral and Memorial Service took place. The service was attended by Freemasons from across the county and was presided over by the Provincial Grand Master, Robert Vaughan. The Masonic Charities have helped many people and organisations during the current Covid pandemic.

On Tuesday I was able to welcome back Margaret Jones, the Grants and Fundraising Manager from the Friends of Fort Royal School, and the Collar & Tie production company to the Parlour.  They are producing a film which I feature in – complete with my mayoral robes.

On Wednesday I judged the winner of the Youth Photography competition organised by the Worcester Vigornia Rotary Club, which I also happen to be a member of. The winning entry by Isabel Lock captures the reflection of trees and the sky in a lake, and is stunning.

Mayor’s Week: 3 – 10 September 2021

Mayor’s Week: 3 – 10 September 2021

I took a break from my mayoral functions over the August Bank Holiday weekend and my wife and I enjoyed a relaxing cruise around the Scottish islands.

As soon as we returned, we were straight into mayoral duties with a visit to the home of the High Sheriff of Worcestershire Mr Richard Amphlett, just outside Tenbury Wells. It was a glorious late summer evening and many prominent people around the county were in attendance. This year’s High Sheriff’s fund is supporting mental health charities in Worcestershire.  Any donations would be very welcome – you can make one online at www.justgiving.com/campaign/high-sheriff-Worcestershire

In the evening I was fully robed up to process to Fort Royal Hill, via the Commandery, for the Drumhead service organised by the Battle of Worcester Society. This year is the 370th anniversary of the Civil War Battle that did so much to define our nation’s history.

On Saturday morning I had two mayoral functions.  The first, at the Guildhall, was a charity showcase organised by Worcester Rotary Club. I was met by club president Paul Denham, who is a former mayor of Worcester and spoke to many of the local charity representatives who were there. Afterwards the mayoress and I went to Pitchcroft to see the end of “Families on Track” – a new Worcester City Run event developed by marathon record breaker Paula Ratcliffe, who we met afterwards. Fifty-five families took part, and I was able to present prizes to some of the winners.

In the evening the mayoress and I attended the Battle of Worcester Society’s Anniversary Dinner in the Guildhall, which featured a speech from the Rt Hon Nigel Evans MP, Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, on William Lenthall, who was Speaker at the time of the English Civil War. I would like to thank Richard Shaw, Chairman of The Battle of Worcester Society for the invitations to both this and Friday’s Drumhead service.

My final role, on a busy weekend, was to start the Worcester City Run Half Marathon and other events including the 10K and Junior race. All the weekend’s outdoor activities were gifted with wonderful weather, and it is good to see people once again enjoying everything that Worcester has to offer.

Mayor’s Week: 29 August – 3 September 2021

Mayor’s Week: 29 August – 3 September 2021

Mayoral Column – written by Cllr Adrian Gregson, Deputy Mayor of Worcester

The vagaries of the weather meant that it was down to me as Deputy Mayor to open the postponed first Worcester Mela in 30 years – a mini Mela outside the Guildhall serving as a taster for a full-blown community event planned for next year.

Judging by the crowd and interest it should be great.  Mela Festival is a colourful expression of  South Asian heritage and tradition and fun. With music and dancing Bollywood-style, it has taken all week for my back to recover (see the video!)  Well done to the volunteers who brought this together, and good luck for next year’s event.

The Inland Waterways Association celebrated its 75th anniversary with a flotilla of barges on the canal at Perdiswell and it was a real pleasure to open the event on Saturday. The canal network is amazing across the country and in Worcester it is a really important part of the walking and cycling network, heritage and visitor economy.  It’s a key element in our Masterplan and is one of the elements to receive support from the Towns Fund. As with the Mela, this Waterways weekend – and indeed much of the work on keeping canals clean and safe – was run almost exclusively by volunteers.

And that theme continued at Worcester City FC where I was able to present the Under 8s side with their national trophy, won earlier in the Summer. What a fantastic achievement for the kids and their parents and the volunteers who run and coach them – as well as WCFC as a whole.  There is so much going on at Claines Lane now City are back. As can be seen from Monday’s result on the pitch they need our support; the organisation of youth, women, veterans and First Team all rely on that volunteer army as well.

This whole week has shown me close up just how committed people in the city are to their various causes and interests and how prepared they are to give time and effort to help others. Really inspiring.