I hope that readers will allow my wife Lynn (the mayoress), daughter Lucinda (my consort) and me to take a couple of days off from mayoral duties this Easter weekend. Lucinda is getting married to her fiancé, James Kinsey, today (Saturday) so we are in for a very happy but very busy weekend! We hope they will enjoy a long and happy marriage.
On Monday afternoon, our official mayoral responsibilities return and we shall be in Fort Royal Park. Each Easter Monday for the last few years, the Friends of Fort Royal Park and Commandery Gardens have organised a wonderful free family fun day, including activities for children, food, drinks and entertainment. This year’s promises to be the best ever and I encourage you to come along. I will be judging the Easter bonnets at 4.00 pm.
Last Friday, we attended Hollymount School for their end-of-term service and celebration. Awards were presented by the Rotary Club of Worcester to many children for their achievements. Local artist Peter Carey had given four excellent paintings to the school for their new library, and I was able to talk about them to the children.
A first for this mayor happened on Saturday morning, when I was invited to officially open a wonderful new ladies’ cloakroom at Pump Street Methodist Church. We were warmly welcomed and shown round this fantastic church. Many locals had dropped in for a cuppa as the church offers rest and refreshment to those needing a break from their city-centre shopping. The mayoress was most impressed that the new loos were designed to modern dementia-friendly standards.
In the afternoon, we watched an exciting wheelchair basketball game at the University. Despite their creditable performance, Worcester Wolves lost to league champions Warwick Bears.
I wish all my readers a very Happy Easter.
A new High Sheriff for Worcestershire was sworn in at The Shire Hall last week. The ancient ceremony saw Sir Nicholas Letchmere hand over his responsibilities to Mr Stephen Betts. Although largely a ceremonial post today, the High Sheriff when created in Saxon times was a senior legal officer.
High Sheriffs are unpaid and cost nothing to public funds, but do a great deal to support crime prevention and law and order. I have enjoyed meeting Sir Nicholas during the past year and am sure that the next mayor will find Mr Betts equally agreeable.
Mr Spyros Tsangarakis recently opened Yamass, a new Greek restaurant in Broad Street, and we were his guests last Friday. The place is attractively decorated in blue and white, the typical colours found in the owner’s homeland, the island of Corfu. We were made very welcome and enjoyed the food, service and ambience of this latest addition to our city’s culinary offer. We will certainly be back.
On Saturday, my charity casino and banquet took place in The Guildhall. This most enjoyable and successful event was planned and staffed by members of the Rotary Club of Worcester. Thanks to all of them for their voluntary efforts and to all who came and contributed generously to my charities.
Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College invited us to its performing arts evening this week. My daughter Lucinda and I thoroughly enjoyed outstanding performances of music, singing, drama and dance by students. Congratulations to them all for their hard work. I hope that many will continue to perform long after they leave the college, so that others can enjoy their shows in future.
I welcomed a number of international students and adults from about a dozen different countries this week. It s wonderful that visitors from overseas choose to visit Worcester and I always make them very welcome.
Ronkswood was the venue for our visit to open new housing built by Fortis Living, on part of a site formerly occupied by the church. The new houses are fully occupied and have helped reduce our long waiting list.
Later, we were warmly welcomed by Zoe and Keith, owners of Henley McKay Kitchens in Britannia Square. They hosted a Bake Off competition for Red Nose Day and I had the very difficult job of selecting the winning cake from the final two. Congratulations to everyone involved. The event raised worthwhile funds for the BBC charity.
In the evening, Worcester Concert Brass performed “Around the World in 90 Minutes” to an enthusiastic audience in The Guildhall’s magnificent Assembly Room. This raised money for my chosen charities. Warm thanks to Chris License and his band for entertaining us so well.
Saturday was busy. We attended the 55+ Retirement Roadshow where there was lots of advice to help my generation stay healthy and happy for longer. Next I gave Councillor Matt Lamb’s family and friends a tour of The Guildhall.
In the evening, we joined the Earth Hour event at the Angel Centre, followed by the Worcester Festival Chorus Spring Concert in the Cathedral. We are indeed fortunate to have this top-class choir and our magnificent cathedral for such musical performances.
On Monday, the younger generation entertained us. Poetry readers, actors and musicians who had won their sections in the Worcester Competitive Arts Festival produced superb performances at the Royal Grammar School.
The Stars and Stripes flag flew over The Guildhall in honour of the President of the Worcester (Massachusetts) Polytechnic Institute, who visited on Tuesday. Dr Laurie Leshin is an eminent space scientist who has worked for NASA. She kindly brought a letter of greetings to our city, from her city’s mayor.
Worcester Snoezelen is a charity which provides special spaces designed to stimulate and add interest to the lives of local people with a variety of disabilities. It is not very well known beyond its users and their families, but is very deserving of our support. So the Mayoress and I were delighted to attend their fundraising Dancethon at the University.
It was good to see, yet again, students from our university giving up their time to help run this event. There was three hours of dancing, including bangra, salsa and zumba, which provided a lot of fun for everyone there. Even I, with a lifetime dancing disability, was persuaded to have a go by a young lady who was not to be refused!
Later, we were able to relax a little when we watched The Magic Flute, performed by our excellent Great Witley Operatic Society at the Swan Theatre. An improbable storyline was skillfully presented by the singers and actors, and Mozart’s music is always a joy.
The Worcester Competitive Arts Festival was held over two Saturdays at the Royal Grammar School. We were invited to the final day, and saw extremely talented actors, poets and musicians who were judged by professional adjudicators before winners were announced. Congratulations to everyone who took part.
A large group of French students from Normandy arrived at the Guildhall on Monday. They were on an exchange with Christopher Whitehead Language College. They spoke good English and enjoyed touring the Guildhall, asking several interesting questions.
On Tuesday, I presented grants to local charities from Worcester Lions at a special event in the Parlour.
The following day I spoke about my time as Mayor at a social event run by Worcester South Rotary Club. Members of both the Lions and Rotary spend lots of time fund-raising – and all of it benefits disadvantaged people.