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Category: 2017-2018 Mayor Steve Mackay

Mayor’s Week: 22 – 29 March 2018

Mayor’s Week: 22 – 29 March 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 Week: 16 – 23 March 2018

Mayor’s Week: 16 – 23 March 2018

On Friday afternoon, Alison and I entertained many of the volunteers who look after and feed swans at their sanctuary on the River Severn in Worcester.  As the birds have little natural food they are fed with nutritional pellets on a daily basis.  If you would like to feed the swans too, these pellets can be bought at the Cathedral.

And then it was off to a wedding at the Swan Theatre, where Opera Worcester (formerly The Great Witley Operatic Society) was staging their production of The Marriage of Figaro.  A tale of lustful desire, deception and intrigue, all brought about by the wonderful singing from this talented amateur group.

The following day we continued from where we left off last Saturday, by hearing more performances at the Worcester Competitive Arts Festival.  On this occasion we were treated to choral singing from adult groups and some prose by younger competitors.  The children’s readings were both light-hearted and funny.

On Saturday evening we were off to the Cathedral to attend a performance by the Worcester Festival Choral Society of Haydn’s Creation.  This was a stunning, well attended event with magnificent singing and music.  While I will be the first to confess to knowing little about classical music, this was really inspirational.

On Tuesday we were back at the Guildhall, welcoming a number of Italian students from Florence, who were visiting our City and staying as guests with families from a local school.  After seeing them off to go shopping in the High Street, we hosted an event organised by the Worcester Lions.  They had raised a significant amount of money from their Christmas Sleigh event and were able to distribute cheques to a number of representatives from local charities.

Then came the big day:  On Wednesday I set out for a second time to complete that tandem Skydive I have been promising to do.  This time the weather looked good – I travelled to Salisbury Plain where I was met by Sgt. Tom Bellis of the Army’s REME Corp. who together with Chris, my instructor for the day, took me through all the procedures.  Then onto the plane and up to 13,000 feet where, with my heart in my stomach I dangled out of the door and over the edge of the plane, waiting to be pushed out.  And then we went – freefalling at 120mph.  I have to say it was brilliant – and even better when the parachute opened! – and in no time I was back on terra firma.

It was an amazing experience, which has raised a few hundred pounds for local charities thanks to some generous sponsorship.

Mayor’s Diary: 10 – 16 March 2018

Mayor’s Diary: 10 – 16 March 2018

It was an honour for Alison and I to support one of our charities, Headway, by attending a pop-up restaurant they had organised. Their chef, Hazel, produced some amazing Mexican food. Her daytime job is preparing meals for their clients and if this was anything to go by they are treated to some great food. The whole event raised about £600 and was a real success. I recommend a visit if you see similar events advertised there in the future.

The next day we were entertained by both young and older contestants from across Worcester as they took part in the Competitive Arts Festival at the Royal Grammar School. We were able to listen to recitals by the Worcester City Brass, a cello group and individual piano pieces as well as young vocalists. It’s a pleasure to see such talent on display.

That same evening I visited the Church of the Latter Day Saints in Worcester where the congregation were celebrating 50 years since their church was built. We were told of how many of them there this evening took part in that construction, making it the place that it is today. There were photographs and stories of those ‘younger’ members volunteering to bring about a fast end to the building work. It was an interesting evening made all the better by the welcoming approach of all those present.

This week I’ve been at the Guildhall a couple of times to give tours and talks to groups of students. The first was from Stuttgart, Germany and the second from Florence, Italy. Both are staying in Worcester for the week and by their comments are really taken with our city. It would be nice to think they promote it when they get home and encourage more visitors to come here.

Finally, on Thursday evening we visited the Diglis House Hotel where we had been invited to the launch of The Ring, an arts trail around the River Severn and Worcester and Birmingham Canal. This was also attended by Heather Wastie, a former Worcestershire Poet Laureate, who has written a book of poems capturing the history of the canal. The Ring is actually a 21-mile loop of waterways within Mid-Worcestershire. Hopefully it will become another tourist attraction for our great city.

Mayor’s Diary: 2 – 9 March 2018

Mayor’s Diary: 2 – 9 March 2018

Well the snow certainly curtailed my activities this past week, with a number of engagements cancelled or postponed.  But just before it did fall, we had a fantastic day in the High Street to celebrate the Chinese New Year (Year of the Dog).  With firecrackers, dancing dragon and gymnasts, the people that stopped to watch were entertained to a magnificent display.  Once inside the Guildhall, a musician, martial arts team and a magician continued to treat their audience to some excellent performances.  All this was arranged by Mr Frankie Tsang and Mr Eric Brown of the Worcestershire Chinese Association, with a view to promoting Chinese culture in the community.

Last Sunday evening Alison and I were invited to St Clement’s Church where we witnessed the Licensing and Installation of Rev. Sarah Cottrill to the Parish Church.  This was a lovely ceremony presided over by the Bishop of Dudley, who carried out the formalities of the occasion.

On Tuesday we were again at the Guildhall to present awards to three children from local schools.  They had designed posters encouraging people to buy Fairtrade items to ensure suppliers receive fair prices for their products.   The winner received a framed copy of her poster and all three were given Fairtrade chocolate and bananas for their efforts by Mr Anthony Wood, Chair of the Worcester Fairtrade Justice Network.

Gheluvelt Park was our next destination on Thursday morning.  I was invited to lay the very first brick of the new Sons of Rest building which will cater for all those using the park and Splashpad in the warmer months ahead.  After the brick was laid between somewhat violent showers, we went to the Parlour where we entertained three representatives of the Worcester Muslim Welfare Association.  Each had played a great part in the development of Unity House Community Centre, which was providing after school activities for young children but intends to promote interfaith pursuits for everyone.

Finally on Thursday I went to Perry Wood Primary School where I met with the Environmental Wardens from the Duckworth Worcestershire Trust.  From there we went with teachers and a number of children towards Perry Wood Nature Reserve where we supervised and assisted them in collecting bags of litter.  This included the front grille from a car complete with number plate and hub cap, cans, bottles wrappers and plastic cups.  Untidy lot!!

I had ‘psyched’ myself up for a Skydive to raise funds for the mayoral charities on Wednesday.  Unfortunately it was not to be, as the instructors had to cancel the jump due to bad weather in Wiltshire, where it was taking place.  The good news is that a new date is to be arranged as soon as possible – so I am still on tenterhooks!  I’d like to thank everyone who has sponsored me so far in this endeavour.