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Category: 2016-2017 Mayor Paul Denham

Mayor’s Week: 29 April – 4 May 2018

Mayor’s Week: 29 April – 4 May 2018

By the time you read this I will know whether or not I am remaining a city councillor. No matter what the outcome of this week’s election, I know I will continue to enjoy living in this wonderful city. I detailed once before in an earlier blog the reasons why ‘I’m Backing Worcester’ – I meant it then and I mean it now. Worcester is a great city.

In spite of the approach of the election this week, I have continued to attend some really nice events.

The first was at the Guildhall, where four people from Worcestershire received their British Empire Medal. Presented on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen by the Lord Lieutenant, Lt. Col. Patrick Holcroft, the decorations reflected their work within the community. This included the work of Worcester Acute Hospital and Organ Donation, the setting up of a Trust Fund in respect of Leukaemia, as well as supporting those who are visually impaired and taking part in sport and services for the community of Bromsgrove. It was a lovely ceremony with some very proud (deservedly) recipients.

Alongside other local Mayors I was able to attend a charity event supported by the Mayor of Droitwich, Councillor Shaun Best. While he provided an evening of entertainment, a raffle and auction raised a considerable amount for his charities, the Droitwich Challengers Gateway Club (supporting people with learning difficulties) and St Richard’s Hospice.

The following day, all councillors were reminded of a particular responsibility they hold as “corporate parents” to those children who are “looked after” within our county. The Chairman of the County Council, Councillor Ann Hingley, held her Civic Service at the Cathedral and the theme was our care for those children, be it by foster parents or in residential homes. The Cathedral choir provided some lovely singing, ably accompanied by the Franche Community Primary School from Kidderminster.

Mayor’s Week: 31 March – 6 April 2018

Mayor’s Week: 31 March – 6 April 2018

Last Thursday saw a number of students from Florence, who were being hosted by a local school, visit the Guildhall. They were really impressed with our City (particularly the Cathedral) but also admitted to enjoying the shopping experience here. Even though Worcester has had its own flourishing porcelain industry since around 1750, when asked the question, “What is Worcester famous for?” students visiting us from all over the world say the same thing – “Worcestershire Sauce”. It’s good to be famous!

That evening Alison and I went to the Shire Hall to attend a rather ancient ceremony, the appointment of the new High Sheriff Cassian Roberts. With a trumpeter to set the proceedings going Mr Roberts took on the position with the incumbent, Mr Stephen Betts standing down after his year in office. The proceedings were presided over by Mr Justice Jeremy Baker who spoke at length of the commitment Mr Betts had given to his role.

On Friday evening I hosted the Mayor’s Charity Dinner at the Guildhall. It was a lovely evening but having just about lost my voice, speechmaking did prove difficult. Fortunately, Starbuck Theatre Group, our singers, were in fine voice and gave fantastic renditions from the West End and Broadway Musicals. So, with the ticket sales, generous sponsorship, raffle prizes and an auction the evening made around £5,000 for my charities.

Now if you had asked me some years ago how I associated the Kays Company with Worcester, I would have straight away suggested their catalogue. However, for the past 62 years Kays Theatre Group have also been putting on pantomimes in the City; so it was a pleasure to be able to say thank you to the members by inviting them to the Parlour. Actors, stage hands and supporters all came along and I think had a great afternoon touring the building and looking into the cells.

Unfortunately a virus I’ve picked up together with a resounding cough has made me cancel some engagements this week – but better that than passing it on to others! I’ll be taking a short break over Easter, before returning to the fray!

Mayor’s Diary: 17 – 23 February 2018

Mayor’s Diary: 17 – 23 February 2018

Up until very recently the Mayor’s Parlour in the Guildhall contained two excellent oil paintings by Benjamin Williams Leader, a son of Worcester. However, I’ve had to give them over to our Art Gallery and Museum in Foregate Street, because they are exhibiting a number of his works. So it was a cultural start to the Mayoral week with a visit there to open the exhibition. Leader was a brilliant painter who at a young age met John Constable. In later life, Leader used his talent to send out political messages promoting peace during World War I.

Benjamin Williams Leader, The River Llugwy near Bettws-y Coed, 1914 © Royal Collection Trust / Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

On Sunday I attended The Commandery to view the 2,000 years of Living History event. Here re-enactors were playing the parts of traders and soldiers from across those centuries. From ancient Greeks to World War II service personnel, they dressed the part and took obvious pleasure in explaining to all visitors, young and old, what it meant to live, work and fight in those last 2000 years. The collections amassed by these enthusiasts were astonishing, as was their attention to detail.

On Monday I was up a bit earlier to be interviewed by Liam Cash at Youth.Com radio station. He was keen to promote my Skydive event and help me to get some more sponsorship. He was letting people know that if they did wish to support my chosen charities by donations, they can do so at the Virginmoneygiving/stevemackay web page.

The following day I met the President of the Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire British Red Cross, Debra Tritton. Ms Tritton was keen to promote the work of the Red Cross in helping hospitals, particularly at times of the winter crisis, in ensuring assessments are completed that allow patients to return to their own homes. Additionally, she reminded me that mobility aids can be borrowed from the society on a short term basis.

On Wednesday came the Annual General Meeting of the City’s Twinning Association at St Dunstan’s Bowling Club. As President of the Society for this year I took the chair while Liz Smith was re-elected to that position. The Association does much good work in promoting the friendship with our twin towns of Le Vesinet in France, Kleve in Germany, Worcester, Massachusetts USA and Ukmerge in Lithuania. Arrangements were made regarding visits by their representatives to Worcester.

Mayor’s Diary: 20 – 26 January 2018

Mayor’s Diary: 20 – 26 January 2018

While over the past year I have spent a considerable amount of time at our wonderful Cathedral, last Saturday I was invited to a smaller but just as inviting place of worship at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Severn Street. The occasion was for an investiture and to give their young Adventurers and Pathfinders (the equivalent of Scouts) awards for their achievements. The congregation thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and the children were delighted to receive their certificates and badges.

On Monday I was privileged to host the annual lunch for the trustees, volunteers and staff of the Royal Worcester Porcelain Museum. Normally held at the museum itself, while refurbishments were taking place it was considered that the Guildhall would be the perfect alternative. If you didn’t already know, while it is being renovated, the museum shop is also situated in the Guildhall, so if you are in the High Street take a moment and pop in.

That afternoon the Mayoress and I entertained a young couple in the parlour whose baby was born some 20 seconds into Christmas Day. Alison and myself met them in the hospital that day and were very pleased to see that their baby, Klara was doing so well. Dad had done some research and believed Klara was probably the first born in the country on that day, but he’s yet to confirm it.

Tuesday evening was different again, as we were invited to the Swan Theatre by Kays Theatre Group to see their production of Aladdin. Widow Twanky with ‘her’ brilliant Midlands accent who thought everything was ‘Bostin’ was brilliant to watch. It was a great performance by all the cast and the theatre group, now into their 64th panto season, are already looking forward to staging Jack and the Beanstalk next year.

The next day it was cutting a ribbon once again. This time it was to open the new Oasis Hub in the grounds of the Academy School in Warndon. Once an old bungalow for a caretaker, it has been transformed by the work of Fortis Living and many Worcester companies. Once again people have given up so much of their time to bring a project together that will benefit children, teachers and the community as a whole.

And finally Thursday evening was spent at the Guildhall at the Take Pride in Worcester event, celebrating the work of volunteers throughout the City. In the past year they have given some 5,000 hours of their time on parks and green spaces alone. That’s 1,000 more than the previous year, showing that even more people are getting involved. That’s not counting all the associations, charities, schools etc – when they’re included, the figure is increased incredibly. If you would like to consider being involved please use the Worcester City Council’s website.

Thanks for helping the city and being community conscious.

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