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Category: 2018-2019 Mayor Jabba Riaz

Mayor’s Week: December 25 – December 31

Mayor’s Week: December 25 – December 31

Our weapon of choice this year was duck. Thankyou Mr. N. It was preceded by a festive mayoral pint in our local, The Plough, Christmas jumper and chain. We exchanged presents, texted family, watched the King’s speech, ate and drank. And that was it.

The crowd in the pub inspired my “Seasonal Notable Message”, striking a happy medium. Some went home alone, happy, some less so. Some were tipsy, some were not drinking. Some had fish, or turkey, or vegetarian spaghetti bolognaise. Some went to friends or family. Some gave presents, some got them. A few may even have been to church, given the main message of the day. Some took a cab, with a driver of a different faith, but a faith, nonetheless.

Talking of fowl, my other mayoral duty this week was feeding swans in the river’s Swan Sanctuary. Inches from a wartime bomb site, we threw food pellets to one of those beautiful and iconic images of Worcester, serene atop, beating their legs furiously beneath.

A great metaphor for our challenging times. Costs dictate how many presents you buy, what you eat, and can you heat your home for three extra days off work. If you are in work. Travel disruption can keep you from loved ones. Some worry about facing a health emergency. Maybe some are hosting refugees from a war in Europe, or other persecution. For many, the climate emergency adds impetus to our recycling wrapping paper and Christmas trees.

But we can still have fun because it is a holiday and you can leave troubles behind for a few days, but God help you if you just wanted to watch the telly. There was only one programme worth it, The Boy, the Mole etc.

Simple message for the New Year: build confidence in others and be kind.

 

 

Mayor’s Week: 16 – 22 October 2022

Mayor’s Week: 16 – 22 October 2022

I chaired the first full Council since the summer this week, lasting three-and-a-half hours. We saw the end of one Leader but fully expect the new one to be safely in place at the next meeting in November. Meanwhile, the Council staff and members continue to operate consistently.

The Big Worcester Sleep Out event reminded us why a lot of us came into politics. The issue of homelessness still needs money and awareness and other resources, not least empathy. Several participants had been through or close to homeless periods in their lives, bringing a reality check to the situation.

Worcester’s annual Film Festival ran last weekend and was a very successful multi-dimensional step-up from last year, with the prospect of a great future. I was able to get to one showing, a fascinating remastered 1950s documentary about making porcelain. This festival has great potential.

This week Worcester hosted the visit of HRH Princess Anne, attending the Clothiers’ Company 500th Anniversary Dinner, to which I was pleased to be invited. The Princess Royal spoke highly of the Guildhall and the city.

The next day we greeted HRH Princess Alexandra, a sprightly 86, visiting Henry Sandon Hall to meet representatives of community and voluntary groups including the Film Festival, Engage with China, Monday Night Club, Soft Lads, and my own Elgar Festival. Tea and cake was enjoyed by all.

 

The Civic Society’s Annual Lecture in aid of mayoral charities was from Marcus Binney, an expert in campaigns to save and, crucially, re-purpose historic buildings and heritage. Helpfully, he has just moved to Worcester.

The weekend had me in church again, firstly supporting the Mayor of Redditch’s Civic Service, and later, the High Sheriff in the Cathedral. Tea and cake twice there too.

Now, who was it that said something about princesses being like buses….

Mayor’s Week : 14 – 20 August 2022

Mayor’s Week : 14 – 20 August 2022

August is always an active month in the Worcester Calendar but last weekend was, as I am sure you noticed, a trifle warm. Maybe some people preferred the early morning or simply staying at home, but Percy the Peacock and the Mayor got fully dressed up to open the 20th Worcester Festival. Despite the paraphernalia I am sure it was the Gugge band everyone came to see!

Sunday morning I spent a little time with a community litter pick in St Johns, but it can have been nothing compared to the clean-up of Pitchcroft earlier that morning by volunteers and council staff – nor after the Worcester Show itself. Well done to everyone for making it such a safe and tidy and happy place for the Show, held again this year on Pitchcroft.

As usual, trophies galore to be won in fruit, flowers and crafts – but where have all the artichokes gone? And the funny shaped veg? There’s a catch-up trophy-giving due for all those who couldn’t stand the heat.
Well done too to the bands showing off Woo Town’s talent on the main stage and with the community karaoke. But for me, it was the Mela what made it. Colour, spice, sparkle, noise, excitement. What a vibrant addition that must now become a feature every year.

Community and volunteers are also at the heart of the Tudor House Museum, a gem of a building and resource in the city centre. Thanks for the invitation to the consultation event. Back in the day, I chaired the committee that made it free entry, part of our city museums, but also later had to close it due to running costs. The renaissance, with the considerable help of Worcester Consolidated Charities, has been amazing and if you haven’t seen the only surviving Tudor ceiling in the city yet, get along there!

It looks like we have a fund addition to the leisure scene on the High Street in Mulligans, though we managed to lose a golf ball pretty crazily.

Finally, not a Mayoral thing, but what can I say – Tom. Fair play. Great gig.

MAYOR’S WEEK: 6 MARCH – 12 MARCH 2022

MAYOR’S WEEK: 6 MARCH – 12 MARCH 2022

I was delighted to join last Saturday’s emergency street collection led by Worcester Vigornia Rotary Club on behalf of the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. This raised an impressive £3,026. This and other efforts around the city show our support for the plight of the Ukrainian people.

Rotary Club members outside the Guildhall

Last Sunday I attended the County Civic Service in the Cathedral. This is an important part of the ceremonial year for former Worcester Mayor and current Chair of the County Council Steve Mackay. The Dean, The Very Reverend Dr Peter Atkinson, gave a moving and thought-provoking sermon pointing out that age doesn’t always result in wisdom contrasting the optimistic and positive values held by young people in contrast with those of Russia’s brutal elderly dictatorship.

On Thursday evening I joined the City Council’s political leaders and members of the Ukrainian and Polish communities at the Guildhall to light candles prior to walking together to Cathedral Square for a vigil that was held at 7pm. The Worcester community came out in their numbers to this poignant occasion, which featured a piper playing the Ukraine National Anthem.

The youth are the future and yesterday, I attended the opening of the early years outdoor area at Perry Wood Primary School, then in the evening saw the production by the Young Rep of HUNT. This morning I was at the Royal Grammar School to attend the Worcester Competitive Arts Festival featuring young local talent in Music and Drama.

Later today (Saturday) I will be joining Worcester Ukulele Club who will be doing a five-hour gig in aid of the Disasters Emergency Committee at Bell Square in Crowngate.

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