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Category: 2015-2016 Mayor Roger Knight

Mayor’s Week: 15 – 21 April 2016

Mayor’s Week: 15 – 21 April 2016

St Martin’s Church, along London Road, was the venue for an afternoon of song. Worcester Male Voice Choir partnered with Choeur d’ Annebault, a Choir from Le Vésinet, France, a town with which Worcester has a friendship agreement.  The concert was very good and there’s history in this too!  A short drive from Le Vésinet is Vernon, with which Worcester has a Friendship Pact.  In August 1944, the Worcestershire regiment helped liberate the city and it was this historic event that prompted the two cities to become closer.  The town also takes part in Worcester’s annual Victorian Fayre and gave its name to Le Vésinet Promenade, near Sabrina Bridge in Worcester.

Continuing the musical “note”, (excuse the pun), the Guildhall hosted a superb event with Worcester Concert Brass playing before an audience of over 90 and the band played superbly.  They are always good and on this evening, they were at their best.  Knowing my love of all things RAF, they played the theme from the film 633 Squadron and it sounded absolutely brilliant. It was very moving and listening made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  Everybody present expressed their delight at such great entertainment. Not only was it a very good evening, we raised over £800 for the Mayor’s charities.  My thanks go out to both Worcester Male Voice and Worcester Concert Brass, for two superb events.

Also in the Guildhall, the Annual Medical Lecture took place, an event initiated by Dr. David Tibbutt when he served as Mayor.  The event actually started in the Boardroom of the old infirmary, in Castle Street, where we heard a brief explanation of the history of the room and the foundation of the BMA.  This was followed by a very interesting talk by Dr John Harcup on the life and times of Charles Hastings.  After a bite to eat and a coffee we proceeded to the Guildhall for the second part of the evening.

Dr Martin Skirrow
Dr Martin Skirrow

This year we had the honour of welcoming Dr Martin Skirrow, retired consultant medical microbiologist who worked in Worcester from 1968 to his retirement in 1990. Before this he trained in Tropical Medicine in Liverpool and worked abroad as a doctor, doing his national service as a medical officer in the RAF. He was instrumental in discovering Campylobacter, a cause of particularly nasty enteritis (diarrhoea), although he is modest about this. Although it is not really possible to attribute the discovery to a single person, he was absolutely key to the discovery.  Dr Skirrow is a charming man who delivered a very technical matter in a way that lay people could understand and enjoy.  An audience of 80-plus gave him rapturous applause and several stood and spoke in admiration of his achievements.

The Mayoress and I had the pleasure of two visits from America, both in the Mayor’s Parlour and quite different in character.  Two young ladies came over from Worcester College in Massachusetts where they are studying engineering, to see how charities work over here and how funding is achieved.  My other visitor was Brother Rex, a Franciscan Monk from the city of Auburn, Maine, who was very interested in the history of our city.

Camel at West Midlands Safari Park
Camel at West Midlands Safari Park

Amidst the numerous Mayoral engagements I did find time to support the Mayor of Bewdley’s (Councillor Calne Edginton-White) charity fundraising event at West Midlands Safari Park and what a lovely event is was too.  This was my first visit, although my wife has visited the attraction before, and I was pleasantly pleased with the experience.  I’m not sure quite what I expected, but the occasion was set both in the beautiful surroundings of Spring Grove House and the lovely countryside.  We had the opportunity to see a variety of animals in some very well managed environments and I’ve taken the liberty of including a photo in this blog.

Mayor’s Week: 8 – 14 April 2016

Mayor’s Week: 8 – 14 April 2016

Auction night at the Swan was a real fund raiser, some fifty odd items were auctioned in front of an invited audience raising over £5,000 – an amazing effort for a great cause.   Whilst mentioning this I must pay tribute to Chris Jaeger and the Team at Worcester Live; their work has assured the future of the arts in Worcester, as has the efforts of Colin Kinnear, who has proved to be a great benefactor to the arts scene here in our City.

Whilst at a Mayoral function in Pershore, I met the Deputy Mayor’s consort, Sandra, who told me that she had found an old book in her father’s garden shed that related to a former Mayor of Worcester. The Councillor in question was Emanuel Percy Thomas, known locally as “Pumpy” Thomas. He was Mayor for three years in succession during the first World War, and was one of Worcester’s great characters as well as being  a generous benefactor to Claines Church.  The book in question is a tribute to him and is beautifully scripted and decorated, listing the members of Council at that time and the positions and names of Officers.  It is an amazing find and we are currently looking to preserve the book so that it may be displayed in the Guildhall.


Fortis Living held a celebration of the regeneration of Dines Green in the area around Gresham Road – and what a good job they have made of it! The houses and new shops are of excellent design, well insulated and energy efficient.  The Chief Executive said he was very proud of the scheme, which started with Worcester Community Housing before the merger. He went on to say the company philosophy was to only build houses that they themselves would live in.  There is also a cafe close to the Community Centre which will no doubt be a great asset when they hold the Queen’s Birthday Street Party there in the summer!!

Fortis event

Two plaques were unveiled on the platform of Shrub Hill Station, one noting the refurbishment of the Victorian Waiting room (which is well worth a visit), and the other a memorial plaque in honour of those men who served in WW1, together with pictures of six men who died in service. The plaque is unusual in that it is the only one known to display photographs and all those named were of the Great Western Railway Sheet Department in Worcester.  It was a lucky find as the original had ended up in pile of other things at York Museum and was quite badly damaged; a copy of the restored plaque will be displayed in the Guildhall as well as at Shrub Hill station.


The Worcester Brass Band concert at the Guildhall was superb; around eighty people attended and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. The music was great and the company brilliant and the sound not only filled the Assembly Room, but overflowed onto the High Street much to the enjoyment of passersby. The band, Worcester Concert Brass, gave their services completely free of charge to help raise fund for Acorns, Daisychain and Sight Concern charities, three great causes and a lovely evening to boot!  My thanks to them all for their kindness and an entertaining evening.

worcester concert brass

Bag packing in Tesco St Peter’s went well with Helen, of Free Radio, raising money for St Richards Hospice. Helen is running the London Marathon and has raised over £3,000 so far, you can support her efforts on behalf of St Richard’s here:-

Helen says, “Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page and for your donation!

Mayor’s Week: 1 – 7 April 2016

Mayor’s Week: 1 – 7 April 2016

I’ve had some interesting experiences during my year as Mayor, including one recently where Freda and I enjoyed the delights of fried “Crickets”!! There were other types too – chocolate coved crickets, powdered crickets and biscuits containing ground crickets!  Where was this I hear you asking?  Well, the occasion was “WattFest”, which was held in the Angel Centre and was a community event in celebration of Earth Hour, a worldwide movement to raise awareness of climate change.  Their commendable vision is to have “a world where people can live well without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same”. Their website is worth a visit and can be found here:

Meadow Court Care Home laid on an afternoon tea party for residents which proved to be a really lovely event. Apart from some delicious food, tea and coffee, a singer had been arranged to entertain those present and entertain she did with a brilliant performance, thoroughly enjoyed by everyone present.  It was clearly an uplifting experience for residents and visitors alike.

The following day the Mayoress and I were invited to open a new wing in the Perry Manor Care Home, close to the Hospital along Newtown Road. (This being my fourth event in care homes across the city has made me wonder if my P.A., Gill, is sending me a message!  As my Mayoral year is coming to an end, is she sending me hints of life to come, post The Guildhall?)  Back to Perry Manor, a beautifully equipped home and a friendly and inviting environment.  I remember wondering, as I drove by when the building first began to rise from its foundations, if it was to be an extension to the hospital.  However, as the building work has progressed, it has become clear that this was something different – and different it certainly is, providing a great environment for the residents.

Sadly our High Sherriff stood down on the 31 March after completing his year of Office. Sir Antony Winnington and his wife, Lady Alexandra Winnington, have been a delight and a pleasure to work with and Freda and I will miss them greatly. Through the medium of this blog I would like to express my thanks for all that they have done for Worcester during their year and also to thank them for their friendship.  They have both been great and it has been an honour to work with them.  On a positive note, our new High Sherriff is Sir Nicholas Lechmere and I greatly look forward to working with him during my remaining time in Office.

The ceremony to declare a new High Sherriff, which is the oldest position in our land, was held at Shire Hall in the Court Room. There is a High Sheriff in every county in England and Wales, and their history and tradition goes back before the Norman Conquest. The Office is the oldest Royal appointment. The modern day High Sheriff has a very different role and function to that of his ancestors, but none the less plays an important role in our society today. Further information may be obtained at

Mayor’s Week: 25 – 31 March 2016

Mayor’s Week: 25 – 31 March 2016

A new tree was planted to mark the official opening of the new houses in Coopers Close, built by Nexus and to a very high standard. Energy efficient, beautifully designed and a million miles away from the old style estates, the new residents loved them too and said that they were so pleased to be living there.  As well as providing high quality housing, the development also removed a problem site where a number of deteriorating garages were attracting anti-social behaviour on quite a large scale.  So a good effort all round and a development that Nexus should rightly be proud of.

Val Hibbutt gave a talk about glove making in the very appropriate setting of the Fownes Hotel. It was very well attended, in fact so well that addition chairs had to be found – and even with them one chap ended up standing!  Val took us through the history of glove-making here in Worcester and it was absolutely fascinating.  I hadn’t realised just how big a business it was and that there were so many premises employed in their manufacture and, indeed, so many people.  The main business was of course leather gloves, so in addition to the making of gloves there were the tanneries and leather production, making the complete operation huge.

Blessed Edward Oldcorne College did it again! Their performing Arts Evening was a great success with a variety of music and song.  Year after year they seem to find new and very talented students, which I think says something about the dedication and expertise of the teaching staff. Whilst the talent has to be there in the first place, the coaching delivers the performance.   Well done to both the performers and the production team, it was a great evening.

We were graced recently with a visit by teachers and pupils from La Vesinet, our twin town in France. Their English was superb and it was great to have the opportunity of showing them around our Guildhall and explain a little of the history of Worcester.  As always they loved three things – the chain, the sword and the cells. Whilst in the cells one young lady saw a shadowy figure and screamed! I not sure who was more frightened, her or me.  The figure? Well that was a model of a prisoner half hidden in the dim light of the cell!

We also had a visit from Cherry Orchard School and, as always, it was a delight to talk to them and show them around. We are very lucky to have such a building as the Guildhall.