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Category: 2015-2016 Mayor Roger Knight

Mayor’s Week: 18 – 24 March 2016

Mayor’s Week: 18 – 24 March 2016

You will remember Joel Richards, a young man aged 19 with a great future ahead of him. He was a student at our University, a sportsman and someone who was liked by everyone he met.  He was killed along with Uncle Adrian Evans, 49, Grandfather Patrick Evans, 78, and 35 others near Sousse whilst they were on holiday in Tunisia last year. A terrible day, a day that tore into a family; as Joel’s mother said, “It’s been nine months and it feels like nine years of pain. I don’t think we’ll ever get over losing them. To go from six to three just by going on holiday.  It’s just unfair.  That’s what we struggle with.  It doesn’t feel real”.

The Duke of Gloucester, Chancellor of Worcester University, dedicated the Conference and Media Suite at the University’s Worcester Arena to Joel Richard’s memory – an area in which Joel was himself taught. The Duke unveiled a plaque in his honour, describing the murders as “an act of hate.” It was a very emotional day; most present were close to tears and Suzie Richards, Joel’s mum, spoke very movingly.  Whilst this event will preserve Joel’s memory in a place he loved and it was a lovely thing to do, it was still a sad day.

joel richards

Lord Mervyn King came to Worcester to promote the launch of his new book, titled The End of Alchemy, at a reception held in the Arena. He spoke about world finances, the Euro, countries within the single currency and the recession.  Much to my surprise, I understood everything he said!  Lord King has a way of talking and explaining things that makes even the most difficult concepts comprehensible and I gather his book is written in the same vein.  I have yet to read it, but I have bought a copy.

Roger Knight and Mervyn King 1

The Worcester Competitive Arts Festival held a final concert in the RGS Perrins Hall, and what a show that was! The performers were of mixed ages from very young to those of a more leisurely age.  From a six year old right through to the rather more mature choir called Anvil Chorus, all were great, but it was the young pianists that amazed me.  Two of them were so small their feet did not reach the peddles, but their music was superb.  A young man sung so well and with such a mature voice that I thought music would be his future and whilst it may well be, his next step will be off to Cambridge to study maths!

Mayor’s Week: 10 – 17 March 2016

Mayor’s Week: 10 – 17 March 2016

Another remarkable week! Children from New College Worcester came to the Parlour for a chat with the Mayor and a tour of the Guildhall – and what a delightful bunch they were.  Although a brave face was put on, I definitely got the impression that they were a little nervous about being in the cells and a description of conditions back in the early 1700’s just about finished them off!!  In all seriousness, they really enjoyed their visit and they were a pleasure to take around the building.  Just in case they get jealous, I better add that the teachers were very good too!

The “Shrub Hill Workshop” exhibited photographs from students at the Commandery; it was one of those occasions when I was really glad not to be a judge as the photos displayed were all very good – most quite brilliant – and I would not have wanted to choose one as best. My compliments to all the students for a superb exhibition, thank you.

photo exhibition

I had the opportunity to visit The Hive and explore the archives with Adrian Gregson, who has the grand title of Archival Policy and Collections Manager and Diocesan Archivist at Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service!  Crikey, that title must fill his business cards!  Adrian was very welcoming and showed me around the climate controlled storage facility which in itself was great – but to be able to see the original Charters awarded and sealed by our Monarchs over the centuries was amazing.  Documents and seals going back as far as 1189 AD, as well as ancient maps and other papers including Shakespeare’s marriage licence, are all safely stored there for us and future generations to enjoy.  A great facility Adrian, thank you.

The Young Enterprise Spring Fair was an interesting event. Staged in the High Street, young students were manning stalls and selling their product.  From different schools and colleges, groups were given the opportunity to form a business, complete with a board of directors and marketing scheme to promote their product or service.  A great idea, as working through the process they were able to understand a lot about business structures and how they work.  Their skills were put to the test as they worked to deliver a commercially viable offer and then sell that offer in the High Street and be judged on their originality, commercialism, organisational skills and both business and manufacturing acumen.  Even those that didn’t win a prize enjoyed it.  They all learned a great deal from the exercise, which will no doubt make their next attempt even more successful and give them valuable insight into the world of business.

The Civic Society located another Plaque – this one on a house in College Precincts which was the home of Edward Elgar from 1857 to 1934. It is now a beautifully refurbished house available for holiday lets.  The Civic Society has achieved some remarkable successes in recording important locations and events in the City’s past, for which I thank them.

Robin  Elgar (2)

The Worcester Festival Choral Society Concert held in the Cathedral has to be the event of the week. Beautiful singing and wonderful music.  Peter Nardone, Conductor, excelled and the Cathedral was filled with the incredible sound of the orchestra and singing by the Soloists and Choir combined.  The soloists Katherine Crompton, Soprano, Deborah Miles-Johnson, Mezzo-soprano and Bass soloist Timothy Dickinson were outstanding to say the least.  It was a real pleasure to be there and hear the great sound in a great building, wonderful evening!

concert poster

We returned to the Cathedral the following day for the Service of Thanksgiving for Ian Hopwood, Chairman of the County Council as he approaches the final period of his term of office. Ian has suffered some health problems in the last few months so it was good to see him enjoying a lovely and well attended service.

Mayor’s Week: 2 – 9 March 2016

Mayor’s Week: 2 – 9 March 2016

It’s been a week of litter picking and clear ups in our “Clean for the Queen” campaign, cleaning and brightening up our City as part of the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations.  Local groups of residents, schools, and organisations, supported by the City Council and the Duckworth Trust, attacked some notoriously bad areas for litter and cleaned them up.  It was good to have public activity like this, demonstrating the damage done through pollution of our environment and by demeaning the visual amenity.  I hope our volunteers have made it abundantly obvious that it is unacceptable to just toss unwanted items on the ground or in bushes.

Clean for Queen

All sorts of things were found including the odd worn out tyre, loads of plastic, cans and bottles by the hundred and a myriad of other spent materials just dropped or cast into the undergrowth. I wonder why, in this enlightened country of ours, that some people think it’s ok to just discard rubbish on our streets, in our parks and on our green spaces.  Some say there are no bins!!  In reality, the City Council empties approximately 220 bins daily in the city centre.  We also empty 420 other litter bins around Worcester, which equals 920 collections per week.  That’s not including the servicing of 237 dog bins, adding up to another 500 collections a week!  However, if there is no convenient bin close by then why, I ask, don’t they pocket their rubbish until they pass one or take it home with them?

I went to a city in Germany recently and surprisingly there were few litter bins, but there was no litter on the streets and no graffiti. I asked how this was achieved and was told that the people took pride in the place where they lived and in their environment and thought it unacceptable to discard litter in public places and spaces.  Unfortunately we have a lot to learn!

On a lighter and much more enjoyable note, The Royal Grammar School hosted the Worcester Competitive Arts Festival and the talent demonstrated by our young people was astounding. It’s difficult to even try to pick out the best; I did say to one judge that I wouldn’t have her job for all the tea in China!  However I must comment on the Vocal Solo (12 years and under) as these young singers changed from nervous children to competent performers immediately when their music began.  They just “adopted and lived” the role and they were great!

arts festival

Mayor’s Week: 24 February – 1 March 2016

Mayor’s Week: 24 February – 1 March 2016

Chinese New Year Celebrations went off with a bang – a very loud bang, in fact quite a lot of loud bangs; I wasn’t ready for them at all! When I had calmed down I joined those watching the rousing of the dragon, Kung Fu dancing and a variety of dances and songs both outside the Guildhall and in the lower hall.  Performances were by Chinese students studying at the University of Worcester, supported by the Worcestershire Ambassadors and hosted by Frankie Tsang.  It was a both lively and graceful; quite an experience for us all.

chinese dancer

Three retail stores opened: the new Sainsbury at Foregate Street; a joint venture comprising Curry’s, P.C. World and Car Phone at Blackpole Retail Park; and an impressive Lidl located just off Windermere Drive. The Lidl is a completely new page in their offer – a bright, well laid out store with a comprehensive product range, well signed and easy to shop. I was impressed! It is great to see such investment in our City and I wish them all every success in the future.

During a visit to Titania, an IT security company based in Barbourne Road, I met an American Police Officer called Bryn Platz from Minnesota. Brian was here in the UK, as a guest of Titania, to introduce the concept of Worcester becoming a “Heart Safe Community.”  The idea is based around CPR training and automated external defibrillators populated throughout the City.

Bryn is a very dedicated man who describes compelling reasons why this project should be promoted. I was convinced and having listened to him, seen the videos and had brief training, I believe we should promote this idea here in Worcester and aim to be registered as a “Heart Safe Community”. The cost is relatively low and the potential benefits are huge.  For more information and access to the videos please go to:-  It’s very well worth taking a few minutes to view their website; please take a look!

Blessed Edward Oldcorne College achieved another stage success with their superb production of The Sound of Music; beautifully staged and brilliantly performed. During my Mayoral year I have been to a number of school productions and I always been impressed by the talent we have in our young people and the way it is developed and nurtured by our teachers.  Well done Blessed, it was a great evening!

sound of music