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Category: 2011-2012 Mayor Dr David Tibbutt

Mayor’s Week, 16 – 22 April 2012

Mayor’s Week, 16 – 22 April 2012

Tuesday 17th: My PA, Susan O’Kane, met the church warden, Mrs. Caroline Mayfield, at Whittington Church to plan the Mayoral Thanksgiving Service on Saturday, May 5th.

Wednesday 18th: It was a special pleasure this morning to welcome ten children from Gorse Hill Community Primary School to the Parlour. This was a treat for them as a reward for being the finalists in a recent “Junior Youth Speaks Competition”. Their keenness to learn about our local history was very gratifying. They were well behaved, confident and a credit to themselves, their parents, their school and their community.

A local Ladies’ Luncheon Club came for tea in the parlour and a tour this afternoon. Judging from their delight at what they see it has become more and more clear to me that still few know just what there is to see in the Guildhall.

The first Annual Mayor of Worcester’s Lecture, in association with the Civic Society (President Professor Michael Clarke CBE), was presented on 22nd. April 1999 by Sir William Lawrence, Chairman of the Heart of England Tourist Board, with the title “A Vision for Worcester, a Place to Visit and a Place to Live”. This evening over 100 people came to the Guildhall and heard an excellent and thought provoking lecture by Gavin Stamp entitled “Britain’s Lost Cities”. Gavin is a well known historian and Channel 5 TV Presenter. He demonstrated the fact that, although there was much destruction during the Second World War, there was also huge amounts of damage and demolition that took place before and after the war. We have lost so much. Although Worcester did not suffer significantly from bombing there has certainly been a great loss of wonderful historic buildings in the name of progress. I quote from “Wikitravel”: “The city was heavily renovated during the ‘60’s and ‘70’s and not very sympathetically. Numerous old roads and courtyards were demolished. The last Cathedral Lychgate in England was demolished along with Sir Edward Elgar’s shop to make way for a charmless hotel and a multi-storey car park. This is known locally as “The Rape of Worcester””. I hope, and believe, we have learnt from those days.

Thursday 19th: College Luis Ortiz Saint Dizier in France has a partnership arrangement with Hagley High School. Forty nine 13 – 14 year olds from the College are on a linguistic visit. Part of their visit included a trip to Worcester to see the Guildhall especially. As always they were impressed by our history and also to learn that we have links with two French towns namely Vernon and Le Vésinet.

Friday 20th: An early meeting in the Parlour with representatives of the armed forces, police and others to discuss the plans for the parade through the City on Wednesday 27th. June prior to Armed Forces Day on Saturday 30th. June. Watch this space: it will be spectacular.

“Café 43”, in the Upper Tything, have joined with the Royal Grammar School to arrange a competition to design pictures for table place mats. There were many very colourful entries and the three winners (Danielle Greening, Natasha Bratton and Keira Brady) came along to “Café 43” so that I could present the prizes. Well done girls.

At the end of the morning I entertained 16 visitors from Bangladesh. They are here (14th. April – 26th. May) from the Ministry of Public Administration of the Government of Bangladesh studying a number of projects from waste management to health clinic arrangements.

It was an additional special pleasure this afternoon to welcome twelve children from St. Barnabas’ Church of England Primary School to the Parlour. As for the children from Gorse Hill Primary School on Wednesday this was a treat for them as a reward for being the finalists in the “Junior Youth Speaks Competition”. They were yet another group of children who are a credit to our City.

Worcester really is ahead of the game for planning the marking of the Centenary, in 2014, of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The mayoral committee met in the parlour to gather progress. Another space to watch.

The magnificent French Suite in the Chateau Impney was the venue for the Annual Civic Charity Ball of Councillor Mike Barratt (Mayor of Droitwich Spa) and Mayoress, Mrs. Lynda Barratt. A great evening raising a lot of money for St. Richard’s Hospice and MacMillan Cancer Support.

Chateau Impney
Chateau Impney (Photo from Wikipedia)

Now that was a busy day!!

Saturday 21st: To be interviewed live can be a daunting prospect. But this morning was an enjoyable occasion on “Choice Radio” at the Richard Young Centre in the Worcestershire Royal Hospital. Tony Deakin was the Presenter and we chatted around my life and the role of mayor. My six selections of music were:

  • A Rwandan piece (“Kamalila”) that had been sent to me by friends in Rwanda.
  • “Rain drops Keep Falling on My Head”.
  • The Alleluia chorus from Handel’s “Messiah”.
  • “Somewhere over the Rainbow”.
  • Concerto No. 2 in G minor “L’estate” Presto by Vivaldi and played by Nigel Kennedy.
  • The South African National Anthem: “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica”.

You can listen to the recording on:!130&id=C1653B287B22FFCF!130

Jane and I visited the “Wustock” 2012 (Worcester Rock City) Concert held in the Christopher Whitehead Language College and at which I gave a short speech. “Wustock” is a family friendly community music festival celebrating home grown musical talent. Worcester Rock City was founded in 2009 and since then it has hosted over 100 bands. This initiative has facilitated individual bands to work together to promote the collective music movement.

What a week this is turning out to be! Another big dinner event this evening for St. George’s Day. Jane and I were invited by Major Stephen Dwyer and 214 (Worcestershire) Battery at Dancox House to attend this evening to celebrate. A great military occasion

Sunday 22nd: The Worcester District Scout Council held its St. George’s Day Service in the Cathedral and led by The Rev. Caon Alvyn Pettersen. Hundreds of scouting members and their leaders, family and friends packed the pews. The service was followed by a march past at which Worcester District Scout Commissioner Mark Strain and I took the salute outside the Guildhall. The scouting movement in Worcester is undoubtedly thriving demonstrating the best of our young people.

St Georges Day Parade

St Georges Day Parade 2St George’s Day Parade

Mayor’s Week, 9 April – 15 April 2012

Mayor’s Week, 9 April – 15 April 2012

Easter Bonnet CompeitionMonday 9th: Irving Berlin was inspired by the Easter Parade down Fifth Avenue from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and wrote:

“In your Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it,

You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade”.

It was rather a damp Bank Holiday Monday but there were still a number of entries for the Easter Hat Parade along the High Street to the Guildhall. The star of the show was the little dog with his splendid bonnet.

The Easter Bonnet is a tradition of wearing new clothes at Easter time fitting in with the renewal of the year. In the Great Depression a new hat at Easter, or even a homemade or old one, was a luxury. The English tradition of new clothes at Easter is noted in William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet where Mercutio teases Benvolio: “Did’st thou not fall out with a Tailor for wearing his new Doublet before Easter?”

Tuesday 10th: A catching up day dealing with a backlog of editing for the South Sudan Medical Journal. I always find this a pleasure and satisfying to help provide the only medical journal in that young independent country.

Wednesday 11th: Newly appointed staff of the Worcester City Council are provided with a detailed induction programme. I am always delighted to contribute with a talk about “Being Mayor” and I did today.

Staff Induction
Worcester City Council staff induction

Thursday 12th: On 28th. March Jane and I were invited to the Oxfam Shop in Mealcheapen Street to see behind the scenes. So I reciprocated today by inviting the staff to the Parlour for “tea” and a tour.

Friday 13th: The White Star Line ship the RMS Titanic set sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on 10th April 1912. On Sunday 14th April at 11.40pm., about 375 miles south of Newfoundland, a large iceberg was spotted from the look out in the crow’s nest. The ship was unable to avoid a collision and struck the iceberg with a glancing blow leading to a gash in the hull for 300 feet and below the water line. Less than three hours later at 2.20am. on 15th April the Titanic sank. There were 2,216 people on board and only 710 survived being rescued from lifeboats by RMS Carpathia.

The One Off Performance Society put on an amazing show of the musical “Titanic”. Jane and I were privileged to be invited to see this evening’s performance. It was an emotional rollercoaster knowing the outcome but not knowing how the various parts would be portrayed: collision with the iceberg, the listing of the ship, the panic and final demise and tragedy. It was composed by the American Maury Yeston and premièred in 1997.

Saturday 14th: Twenty five years ago in 1987 the Worcester Twinning Association was established and our City was twinned with Kleve in Germany. To mark this 25th anniversary Jane and I accompanied the Chairman and about twenty members of the Association to Kleve Walk beside the River Severn and the Kleve black swan. Here we attached a laurel garland to the swan just after which there was a spontaneous “fly past” of six beautiful white swans along the river.

Twinning Association

St. Swithun’s Church has origins back to 1126. It was rebuilt in 1734 – 1736 and remains a stylish and almost unaltered example of early Georgian church architecture. Most noticeable inside is the three-decker pulpit with its wonderful tester surmounted by a gilded pelican feeding her young. Beneath it is the mayor’s pew and ceremonial sword rest. In 1977 this church passed into the guardianship of the Churches Conservation Trust. For more information about this treasure see

This afternoon to celebrate Eastertide a Service of Readings and Hymns was held. With Sword Bearer, Mace Bearers and councillor colleagues Jane and I processed from the Guildhall to St. Swithun’s Church for the service taking our place in the mayor’s pew.

St Swithun's Church
St Swithuns Church

Cllr. Tony Miller, Chairman of Wychavon District Council and his Consort, Mrs. Katherine Miller held their Diamond Jubilee Charity Ball this evening at the Worcester Rugby Club, Sixways Stadium. Most enjoyable company and food and at the same time raising vital funds for “Cross Roads Care” and “Acorns Hospice”.

Mayor’s Week, 2 – 8 April 2012

Mayor’s Week, 2 – 8 April 2012

Monday 2nd: Tim Clarke, Editor of the Worcester Standard came for our monthly chat about Worcester stories.

Tuesday 3rd: We had our meeting with representatives of the Worcester Farmers’ Overseas Action Group and Leukaemia Care. In spite of the economic climate we feel we have raised a significant amount of money for these charities…watch this space for the final figure.

Wednesday 4th: Jane and I had the honour of welcoming Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, on her visit to the Youth Support Services (YSS) centre in Carden Street. The Princess became Patron in 2008. The YSS has its origins back to 1985 when it was called The Intensive Support Scheme. It is a multi-agency partnership to provide support programmes for young people aged up to 17 years old who were at risk of being sent to custody and social exclusion. It was part of the Worcestershire Diocesan Board of Social Responsibility. In 1992 the name was changed to YSS. The tour around the centre demonstrated how well a number of organisations are working together very successfully.

Princess Royal at YSS

Thursday 5th: The Rotary Clubs of Worcester have five Rotarians from Sri Lanka here on a Group Study Exchange visit. We had a most pleasant Dinner in the Graeme Hick Suite of the Worcestershire County Cricket Club this evening. The Sri Lankan visitors gave fascinating presentations about their country and what Rotary does.

Friday 6th: It has been a long time since we went to a Scouts’ Gang Show. This evening was great fun at the entertainment put on by the Explorer Scouts at the Chantry High School, Martley. They had only one week to rehearse so well done everyone.

Explorer Scouts form a section of the Scout Association in the United Kingdom for 14- to 18-year-olds. It began in 2001 replacing Venture Scouts. The aim is the provision of a flexible and active Scouting programme for adolescents emphasising personal challenge and adventure. Explorer Scouts meet as Units, are organised at the District level, participate in linkages with local Scout Groups and are able to attain the Queen’s Scout Award, which is the highest Scouting Award.

Saturday 7th: I welcomed the five Rotary Club visitors from Sri Lanka to the parlour this morning telling them something about our local history and traditions.

In May last year about ten veterans of the Worcestershire Home Guard came to the Parlour for tea and a Reunion. It was so enjoyable they wanted to do it again this year and 24 turned up. It was a great privilege talking to these men and women who did so much for their country during the Second World War.

Worcestershire Home Guard at Mayor's Parlour
Talking to the veterans about Mayoral duties.

Worcestershire Home Guard and their families
Worcestershire Home Guard and their families

Sunday 8th: Happy Easter Everyone!

Mayor’s Week, 26 March 2012 – 1 April 2012

Mayor’s Week, 26 March 2012 – 1 April 2012

Monday 26th: We have long looked forward to the redevelopment of Lowesmoor that part of the City separated by the City Walls Road. The site of the old Vinegar Works is now an “ASDA” store with the historic buildings being sensitively incorporated. Paul McFarlane was nominated as the local hero for his work with children in care. Paul and I “cut the ribbon” to open the store which quickly filled with shoppers.

Cutting the ribbon
Cutting the ribbon

ASDA Coffee Shop overlooking the shop floor
ASDA Coffee Shop overlooking the shop floor

The Worcester Technical College runs courses for people with acquired brain injuries. Debbie Morris brought a group of students to the Parlour to hear about the history of the Guildhall. I was impressed by their interest and the way in which they were not allowing disabilities to get in the way of their further education.

St. Peter the Great County Parish Council met this evening. I was asked to give a talk on “Being Mayor”. So much has happened it really is difficult to describe a representative picture of the year. However I hope, with the aid of slides, I gave a flavour of what the Mayor and Mayoress do.

Tuesday 27th: I had the opportunity to practice my dozen or so Japanese words and phrases today when 27 young Japanese visitors came to the Guildhall. They were here on an annual visit arranged by the Shizuoka Prefectural Overseas Research Association.

Japanese visitors
Japanese visitors visting the Guildhall

This organisation was set up in 1972 with the support of the Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers. The aim is to arrange excursions to foreign countries, foreign language education, international cultural exchange in Japan and promotion of international awareness with the help of the local government education ministry.

The Full City Council meeting this evening seemed to go pretty well and we managed the business in one minute short of two hours!! It could have been difficult given that we were discussing the review of the City Council’s Constitution. However we had planned a clear procedure which worked and still allowed a wide debate. Colleagues from all sides of the political spectrum respected that and for which I was grateful. This was my last Full Council to chair before Annual Council in May.

Wednesday 28th: Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain. The city’s Cathedral has been a special place to visit throughout history because of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James. Since 1985 the Old Town has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So it was especially interesting to welcome ten students on an exchange visit with the Worcester Sixth Form College.

Spanish Students
Spanish students from Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela
View of Santiago de Compostela, Pico Sagro in the background (Wikipedia)

The Oxfam shop in Mealcheapen Street held an “Open Day” to enhance the profile of the organisation and the importance of the money raised to help some of the most needy people in the world. Jane and I have a particular interest in developing countries, and especially in Africa, so we were pleased to be invited by Julie Skipp and Maureen Cooper to the shop to see behind the scenes. The way in which items for sale are processed and made ready for attractive display was impressive. There really are some great bargains to be had. For more information about Oxfam see its website:

Since taking part in productions during my school days I have continued to enjoy Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas. It was a special pleasure to attend “Pirates of Penzance” (alternatively named “The Slave of Duty”) this evening at the Swan Theatre. The Great Witley Operatic Society, directed by Roberta Morrell and Donald Hunt as the Musical Director, put on a very entertaining performance. The Society is celebrating its 60th. Anniversary. For more information see

Thursday 29th: “Tea and cakes” in the Parlour and a tour with the Mayor and Mayoress always seems to be a popular prize in a raffle draw. Mrs. Rowberry was a lucky winner at a fundraising event in December and came along with some friends this afternoon.

The Poppy Appeal each year is crucially important. Many Countywide Cadets made huge efforts to raise money. This evening the cadets who had raised the most during the 2011 appeal were rewarded at a ceremony held in the Guildhall: this was the annual Lord Lieutenants’s Cadet Award evening.

Friday 30th: The portrait of Hubert Aloysius Leicester, discovered in the store room of the City Library, has been hung in the Lower Hall of the Guildhall. He was Mayor of Worcester five times in 1904, 1905, 1913, 1914 and 1915. He was a life-long friend of Elgar, closely associated with the Worcester Festival Choral Society and the first flute and leader of the Elgar’s quintet which became known as “The Brothers Wind”.

Saturday 31st: Over the centuries from the Iron Age through to  the present day Worcester has been part of royal journeys. An exhibition (open until 14th July) has been created in the Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum that demonstrates these Royal Journeys. Jane and I were invited to the opening this morning and were really impressed. There is more information on

Royal Journeys at Worcester Museum & Art Gallery
Royal Journeys with my wife Jane and Worcester Museum & Art Gallery staff members